By John Hanrahan
The federal Conservatives under Prime Minister Stephen Harper are determined to support corporations in creating a low wage economy and reducing the standard of living of the middle class.
Take Bill-525, for example. The Conservatives’ contempt for middle class Canadians has never been more evident than it is with piece of legislation. This unfair and undemocratic bill has one objective and one objective only: to turn Canada into a low wage economy by attacking the rights of workers to join a union and to make it easier for employers to intimidate workers and engage in illegal union busting.
Why Bill C-525 is Unfair and Undemocratic
As it stands now, under the labour code of Canada, a majority of workers can sign cards and certify a union in their workplace. Under the new rules proposed by the Conservatives, there would be a vote and all workers who did not bother to vote would be counted as voting against the union. If federal elections worked this way, the Conservatives wouldn’t even be in government since in the last federal election, they received less than a quarter of the vote from those who were eligible to vote.
Why Bill C-525 is Tailored to Encourage Union Busting and Intimidation of Workers by Employers
Under C-525, the only workers required to show up for a certification vote are those who want to have their vote counted in favour of the union. This means the employer will be able to know who voted. This destroys the confidentiality of the process and renders the secret ballot meaningless, while allowing the employer to mark union supporters for reprisal.
“This unfair undemocratic bill has one objective: to turn Canada into a low wage economy by attacking the rights of workers to join a union and to make it easier for employers to intimidate workers and engage in illegal union busting.”
The Bill also allows for a minority of workers to decertify the union without the support of the majority of the membership, plainly meant to encourage and facilitate employer sponsored decertification campaigns.
Why Bill C-525 will Hurt All Canadian Workers
The fewer union members there are in Canada, the worse off everyone will be. The facts show that countries with the highest percentages of union membership have the most income equality, while countries with a low percentage of workers in unions have the lowest income equality.
In the United States, these kinds of anti-union laws have caused the percentage of people in unions to be cut in half in the last four decades and as a result, the middle class share of the national income in the U.S. has fallen by 10%, and is still falling. The Conservatives are following a flawed legislative model that has all but destroyed the American middle class.
Without unions there is no middle class. There is only a low wage economy where the rich get richer and good jobs, pensions, benefits, and income equality are a thing of the past.