Political Action E-mail #5

The fight of our lives

Dear members of local lodge 712
The International association of Machinists and aerospace workers national political campaign’s slogan is named: THE FIGHT OF OUR LIVES. Our vice president, Dave Ritchie mentioned during a speech at the launch of the campaign, “With a wave of a pen, governments can change the lives of thousands of workers by simply re-writing workers’ rights”.
It is happening at the present time in the House of Commons; Bill C-377, aims to make all financial reports of trade unions public for the sole purpose of rendering unions vulnerable when trying to establish pressure tactics during negotiations.
Bill C-4 aims to minimalize the right to refuse dangerous work and seeks to diminish the right to strike for federal workers.
It is crucial for members to mobilize by actively participating in political action. With the support of certain political parties, the union movement has put pressure on Harper and the conservative government.
February the 13th saw the Conservatives back off Bill C-525, which provided a systematic vote in every attempt to unionize despite having the majority of workers sign membership cards. Doing so, would enable the employer time to intimidate workers. In addition, workers that do not participate in the vote would be recorded as having voted against the union, the theory of absentee ballots would no longer apply.
For example; if 49 employees in a company of 100 are present and all vote in favor of becoming unionized, they would still loose in their battle because 51 were absent and would be considered as having voting “no”.
Although we are relieved to see the Conservatives partially back off by having only the votes in the ballot box considered in the outcome, there is still the mention of an “obligatory vote”, which still provides the employer time to intimidate workers during organizing campaigns.
The bills introduced aim to weaken unions, the right to be represented by a union and the fundamental rights of workers across Canada.
I will keep you informed of any changes.
In solidarity,
Eric Rancourt , Vice-president and political action representative , Local 712 IAMAW