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Survey on unions elicits a broad range of opinions

January 7, 2013

Editorial

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Saugeen Times' recent survey question, "Do you think unions still play an important role today?" elicited a broad range of opinions, and some of them very strong.

Some who took part in the survey feel that unions are pricing us (Canada) off the world market due to the high cost of labour and  "... have become too much of a good thing".  According to some of the responders, the public sector/public servants in particular are overpaid and underworked.  "They (unions) have had their time and important victories but now have become the source of many of our economic woes."

While many criticized the role of unions in today's marketplace, others consider them a necessity for the protection of employees' rights and to assure fair wages and working conditions.

While there are employers who foster a good relationship with their employees and offer competitive compensation, there are also those who don't.  These are the employers who take advantage of employees through unfair treatment, unfair wages and disrespect in the workplace.  These are the employers who would pay as little as possible for the most amount of work that they can get from their employees ... much the same as they do in third world or underdeveloped countries.

As one reader pointed out, " ...we would never need unions if the employer would only treat the employee fairly!"

The unions are in trouble, of that there is no doubt.  Their membership is down and the governments are continually trying to undermine them.  There is also no doubt however, that without them we will move backwards ... back to child labour, back to no rights in the workplace, back to no minimum wage, back to no benefits, back to ... wait a minute, for many of us, we are back!

Aren't some called in to work for two hours and then sent home; many have no benefits; anyone can be fired and, if they are, cannot collect government Employment Insurance (EI); some provinces are now changing child labour laws to move backwards to age 12 ... hmmmmm.  No unions?

Undoubtedly, unions take very unpopular stands, but they also take stands that can mean the difference between having a job and not having one; between calling an employer to task or letting him/her ride roughshod over workers; between workers' safety on the job and none. 

Many may not agree with the value of unions in today's market but it will be a very different environment, and economy, if they cease to exist at all.  Whether you are part of a union, or not, the workplace would be a very different place today if they had not organized.

Have I ever belonged to a union?  Nope.  Do I think they have value today?  Absolutely! 

The result of the survey?  39.7 per cent don't see a value; 60.3 per cent said Yes ... to read more comments Click Here


Survey Participate in our latest Kincardine Times survey Read More Survey Participate in our latest Saugeen Times survey Read More Survey Participate in our latest Walkerton News survey Read More

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Monday, January 07, 2013