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Hypocritical bill threatens worker organizing

[By guest blogger karenatcmg]

A bill before the House of Commons right now is a threat to worker organizing. Under Bill C-377, sponsored by Conservative MP Russ Hiebert, unions would have to report financial information that the Prime Minister’s Office doesn’t even report. The Canadian Labour Congress calls it interference in labour relations and an attempt to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. The director of CWA Canada, the Guild’s parent union, goes further. Martin O’Hanlon calls the bill hypocritical and an ideological attack on unions.

Please write to your MP to oppose the passage of this bill. Here’s what it would mean if it became law:

– the government would have to pay people to collect, process and audit the reports from the 25,000 labour organizations in Canada, diverting resources from  important public programs at a time when the government is talking about massive cuts
– unions would have to hire people to prepare the reports, diverting precious resources from defending our members’ rights
– employers would get extremely detailed info about unions, including what resources we are devoting to defending collective agreements and organizing new members … and could use this info to undermine our efforts

Here’s why the bill is hypocritical:

– although the bill would require information on everyone who receives a payment from a union (employees, officers, suppliers, etc) the government recently declined to reveal how much staffers in the Prime Minister’s Office are paid with public money because it would violate their privacy.
– although Law Societies and medical and other associations are also member-funded and member-run organizations whose members get a tax deduction for dues, just like unions, these organizations would not be subject to the law.
– those pushing for this law are not union members, who already have access to detailed information on how their dues are being spent. No. The groups who want this legislation represent employers, including the Merit Shop Contractors, who resist union efforts to use properly trained and qualified tradespeople, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and the Fraser Institute.

Please write to your MP today and ask him or her to vote against Bill C-377.

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