Unions are more democratic than big oil or banks

NationalPost.com –
Oct 5, 2011.   Michael Ivanco & John Grimshaw (Paul Russell)

Re: End Union Oppression, Gerry Nicholls, Oct. 3.
How is using so-called “forced” union dues for political purposes any different from, say, the Harper government using taxpayer dollars to promote its own political agenda, such as the advertisements touting infrastructure spending prior to the last federal election? Only a minority of Canadians voted Conservative in the last federal election, yet the majority of Canadians are forced to pay for their political messaging through taxes.
Union leaders are, likewise, democratically elected and can be removed during their next elections if members don’t like what they have done. Unions are not responsible for the economic mess that much of the world finds itself in. It is the CEOs of the large multinational investment banks that triggered the great recession.
If Gerry Nicholls wants to demonize someone, how about picking the right group?\

Michael Ivanco, vice-president, Society of Professional Engineers and Associates, Mississauga, Ont.

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Funny how employers and right-wingers know more about union democracy than workers. Speaking for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) in Ontario, all of our local unions must pass a motion to support any cause, be it political, charitable or philanthropic. Members know how much money is budgeted and have the option to vote for or against the motion. I can’t recall the last time any company that I have shares in asking for my vote on the money they spend supporting political parties. Instead of attacking unions that display more democratic principles than most other institutions in society, go after the real oppressors like oil companies and banks who constantly squeeze money out of workers’ pockets.

John Grimshaw, executive secretary-treasurer, Inter­national Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, CCO, Toronto.

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