July 13, 2012 | 3 Comments
Recently, Ontario Tories put out a white paper on labour reform. In it, they argue for some form of right-to-work legislation. To me, this is an eminently sensible proposal, and I argue so in The Ottawa Citizen:
The Tories propose that workers be allowed to switch from one union to another. This is a sound first step, but it does not go far enough. Workers should have the choice to join any union they choose or none. They should be allowed to be a party to the collective bargaining process, or to negotiate their own terms of employment. Regardless of this shortcoming, the Tories deserve praise for proposing a small step toward labour sanity.
Elliott defended the Tories’ proposal on the grounds that workers should not be forced to fund the political activities of unions. She is right, of course. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms defends a person’s right to work and support themselves without being forced to associate with others or others’ political views. Elliott’s defence is a tad misguided, however. The case against closed union shops is far broader than a question of partisan politics; it is an elemental question of upholding the freedoms enumerated in our Charter. Regardless of legal precedent, the power unions wield violates the essence of both freedom of association and freedom of expression.
For some reason, comments are not enabled on that column (I’m not sure what the protocol is for The Citizen), so feel free to use this thread to leave any comments. One reader, Art Campbell, has already started the ball rolling:
Desperation. I have been trying to comment on “Let workers decide..” without luck anywhere, starting with the Citizen. I assume you will be able to get this to Jonathan.
I normally respond to article like your but unfortunately yours is not open for Comment. Here is what I wanted to say. I hope that it is useful to you
The theme of this article is right on. Workers should not have to join or finance a union. There are some other items
“The Charter of Rights and Freedoms defends a person’s right to work” However the Charter is flawed, namely there is no penalty for violating the Charter. Thus unions can behave as they wish and lose if someone takes then to court. No penalty. Of course this flaw is a much greater threat to Democracy, presumably a major concern for your organization since the police can violate the Charter with impunity. Has your organization considered this?
“Certainly, we are never compelled to fund an organization that we do not believe furthers our self-interest”. Actually due to tax treatment for political parties and “charities” we are compelled to pay more taxes every time someone makes a donation.
“Right-to-work policies not only provide workers with elemental freedoms, they foster economic growth and the expansion of wealth.” Is expansion of wealth desirable? For what purpose? We have lots of wealth, distribution seems to be the problem. This is especially true in the US. More jobs? We already have 4.7 million two income families and 1.4 million unemployed. I would argue that there are too many people in the work force thus driving down wages and increasing the number of unemployed.
Going back – the closed shop has to go.