TORONTO, June 7, 2013 /CNW/ - "Joining a union in Canada is a democratic
process, an exercise in the pursuit of fairness, to gain a voice at
work," said Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers (USW) National Director.
"Rigging the system to deliberately subvert this process is an affront
to democracy," Neumann said of Bill C-525, the Harper Conservatives'
latest attack on unions. "If the Harper government weakens unions,
everyone will be worse off."
The Private Member's Bill introduced by Conservative MP Blaine Calkins
would change the union certification and decertification process in
federal jurisdictions through changes to the Canada Labour Code, the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Public Service Labour Relations Act.
"We've seen this government operate this way before - introducing major
changes to the hallmarks of our democratic society through back-door
private member's bills," said Neumann.
"This perverse bill proposes certification and decertification
thresholds based on eligible votes, not actual ballots cast," Neumann
"Virtually no MPs in the House of Commons today would be elected if the
thresholds in this bill applied to them. Reaching 50 per cent majority
support from eligible voters could actually require 80 per cent or more
support from ballots cast. That's not democracy and Canadians can see
The Canadian Labour Congress rightly asks why tamper with a system
that's working? The federal system is respected and supported, as a
result of a consultative process that's been followed for decades for
amending the Labour Code.
"The Harper Conservatives are so mired in scandal and controversy that
even their strongest supporters are becoming alienated," Neumann said.
"So the Conservatives dredge up another attack on unions to try to
distract from their scandals and shore up their base."
"Polling shows only 13 per cent of Canadians believe Stephen Harper when
he says he didn't know about his chief of staff's bailout for disgraced
Senator Mike Duffy," Neumann noted.
"More and more, Canadians do not believe the Harper Conservatives are
looking out for the interests of everyday families.
"The Conservatives' attacks on unions and ordinary workers are part and
parcel of Stephen Harper's pursuit of a low-wage economy, in which
multinational corporations and the wealthiest of the wealthy profit
enormously, while most Canadians are left to deal with growing
SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information:
Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada, 416-544-5951
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, firstname.lastname@example.org