open letter to the unions
Published: September 12, 2008
Source: Ken Kuzminski
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Brothers and Sisters,
Over the course of the past 150 years the Canadian labour movement has
won many significant battles, earning rights and privileges that many
take for granted and others would have us believe are at odds with
The hard work of union leaders and support of their members have won
landmark concessions, such as 40-hour work weeks, pensions, pay equity,
job security and safety. No longer are we relying on a canary to tell us
things have gone askew.
More and more, these gains are being threatened, not through major
legislation, but through slow and methodical erosion of legislations and
industry deregulations. Corporate profits are increasingly focused on
shareholder interests that are now at odds – literally out of balance –
with the workers, craftsmen and women who provide the skills and labour
that assure that very prosperity.
We all are working harder and longer to afford the basics. Housing costs
have increased dramatically and inflation has outpaced wage parity.
Institutions such as health and education are under constant attack by
private interests and are less affordable then ever, less accessible to
Canadian families. Job security is threatened by recent trade agreements
such as the softwood lumber deal and the security prosperity
partnership. Worker rights are threatened by lack of vision and
planning. We have reached a time when agreements can be changed by the
stroke of a pen, rather than through negotiations.
We must look at how the labour movement has won those battles and look
at the battles we are fighting today. From the Winnipeg strike in 1919
to the issues of today, where multi-nationals, corporate takeovers and
government collusion have created a battleground that dwarfs the rights
of everyday Canadians. The lesson we have
learned from the workers of
the early 20th century is that there is strength in numbers.
The canary is singing. It’s time to stand together, to stand for each
other, stand for our families, our livelihoods and our future. The
beauty of democracy is in the power of the vote, not the pen. It’s
critical that the power of the brotherhood and sisterhood be heard.
It’s time to stand strong – to insist your voice be heard in Parliament.
Yellowhead Federal Riding