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UPDATE: Conservative government attacks working people

The Harper government has two major pieces of legislation aimed against working people.

Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) president Dave Coles writes:

“(On June 6), Conservative back-bencher Blaine Calkins unveiled a private members’ bill (C-525) that will make it far harder to form a new union and much easier to de-certify an existing one. …For decades, union certification under the Canada Labour Code has operated this way: a majority (51 per cent) of the members of a workforce are required to sign membership cards and pay five dollars to certify the union. Bill C-525 proposes to eliminate this model for federally-regulated sectors. In its place, the union certification process would require 45 per cent of the members of a bargaining unit to sign cards and once this is reached the Labour Board would call a secret-ballot vote. …(Moreover), 50 percent of the bargaining unit would have to cast a ballot — regardless of turnout — in favor of the union to prevent decertification. This will allow a decertification without majority support.”

“Currently before the upper chamber, Bill C-377 (An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (labour organizations)) would require every trade union and labour trust to file a public information return with the Canada Revenue Agency on all expenditures over $5,000. It also mandates that labour organizations detail the percentage of time they dedicate to political and lobbying activities. While they’ve justified this burdensome bill on the grounds that union dues are tax-deductible, the Conservatives are not requiring other professional associations with the same tax status, such as the Canadian Medical Association or Law Societies, to follow the terms of Bill C-377.”

Coles also notes:

Back-to-work legislation
“In another front in their open war on organized workers, since gaining a majority the Conservatives have repeatedly intervened in labour negotiations on behalf of employers. Harper’s Conservatives have used back-to-work legislation to end labour disputes five times in two years (Air Canada in June 2011, September 2011 and March 2012, Canada Post in June 2011 and Canadian Pacific in May 2012). Last month the government’s move to restrict Canada Post workers’ right to strike was condemned by the International Labour Organization.”

Seeking to end the Rand formula
“In what would be an even more radical attack on collective bargaining, the forthcoming Conservative party convention will debate a series of resolutions that would effectively eliminate unions’ financial security and the so-called Rand formula. One proposal explicitly calls for a U.S.-style ‘right to work legislation to allow optional union membership’.”

Temporary Foreign Workers & Cuts to EI
“The Conservatives have (also) tried to suppress Canadian workers’ wages and conditions by expanding the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, driving down public-sector work conditions and curtailing Employment Insurance benefits.”

For more, please read:
The Conservatives’ Latest Salvo Against Union Workers
CAW Cements Support for Rand Formula, Union Awareness Campaign
UPDATE: Take action against EI cuts, April 26-May 1
Low-wage temporary foreign workers take us back to the future
Windsor chapter activist took part in the 1945 strike that won the Rand formula