Trade unions : good ? evil ? necessary ?

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Written on 1:20 p.m. by Cynthia Quenneville

As a Labour Relations consultant, I hear different opinions about trade unions on a daily basis.

The views I hear the most are:

- Unions are necessary to give some power and resources to the employees when they have conflict with management

- Unions are out of date. With the labour codes and human rights being reinforced over the years, there is no longer a need for unions.

- Unions reduce productivity by raising wages and imposing restrictions in management's methods.

What is your idea about trade unions and their role in improving the workers' condition?

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2 Comments

  1. bp |

    I think unions had a purpose back when employers could take advantage of their employees and work them too hard. It appears in many cases now though that the unions are just taking advantage of the employers trying to get more money sometimes at the expense of the company itself.

     
  2. Dancin' Al |

    Hello Everyone,

    Well, unions are a great power for the worker. Unions are an embodiment of the unification for one's co-workers and as an extension their immediate families.

    The entire union noise we are currently hearing about is due to Charest's attempt to deconstruct certain unions which represent less than core jobs (eg: dish washers and cafetria staff). He is targetting some unions which do not represent the core business of certain sectors. Therefore, the core employees have nothing to fear. Thus, this is challenging the union integrations that are common in Québec.

    If anything, I think we can agree that unions do protect workers from plant shutdowns/relocations that have become the fad ever since NAFTA. And we can also agree that unions in other countries are vital in protecting workers that are almost by definition powerless (eg: Gap suppliers' workers). Though from a personal point of view, unions also are a chance to help me gain job security in a volatile market sector (I'm in IT). However, I also think MacDonald workers should have a union because those are one of the most visibly abused workers today.

    So one might challenge the notion of a union, but I think the real challenge is the definition of a modern union. This is a golden opportunity to redefine unions in Québec by representing those that need representing rather than any workers who can get organised.



    Dancin' Al

     

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