Organized labour could be forgiven for feeling that its capacity to flex its muscle is being thwarted as it helplessly watches the federal government trying to systematically strip elements that once made it a force.
They decry Ottawa and the provinces’ willingness in recent years to vote back–to-work legislation to put an end to bargaining disputes. They denounce a controversial private member’s bill that will place onerous financial disclosure requirements on unions that passed third reading in the House of Commons and, as of this writing, is before the Senate. And now they dread the possibility that the Rand Formula, which for more than a half century has required employees represented by unions to pay dues, will come under increasing scrutiny.
“Clearly, it’s all part of a movement from traditional elements of the Conservative government, who borrowed from the U.S. Republican Party, to attack trade unions on all fronts,” remarks Stéphane Lacoste, general counsel of Teamsters Canada.