Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Angus Reid Poll: Canadians Support Unions, But Many Think They Are Too Political

Angus Reid recently released the results of a Canada wide poll about Unions in Canada. The results are very interesting - both nationally and regionally.
"Angus Reid Poll: Canadians Support Unions, But Many Think They Are Too Political

More than a third of respondents would amend the Labour Code to prohibit employers from hiring replacement workers.

[TORONTO – May 1, 2008] – Canadians perceive labour unions as an essential part of our society but think they have become too entangled in political activities, a new Angus Reid Strategies poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, more than half of all respondents (59%) say labour unions are a necessary and important part of Canadian society, and 69 per cent think they effectively improve the salaries and working conditions of employees."
(Read more....)

Download the News Release and Poll Results in Adobe PDF Format.


Saskboy said...

Unions are too political. They've been cutting their own throat metaphorically by siding only with the NDP all these years, and refusing to negotiate and influence the other parties (one of whom now governs us).

Larry Hubich said...


Thank you for participating in this blog. And as for corporations - are they also "too" political?

They spend way more money in partisan issues and have way more influence on governments at all levels - than any union ever has.

Anonymous said...

Unions are political in their very core. Stating a union shouldn't be political is as stating water mustn't be clear.

In all honesty, trying to influence either the Liberals or Conservatives is both futile and stupid. We would have to compromise our own principles to approach either party, and neither would compromise their selves.

That the NDP has traditionally been the only party to approach unions isn't a failing, but rather an indictment of how both the Liberals and Conservatives have treated the common but organised working people. One is dismissive. The other resentful.

Mike30 said...

Please show me any and all campaign adds that Cameo, PCS, Mitchell’s Gourmet foods, New Holland, Dover or any other major corporation handed out to their employees during that last Provencal election and then I might agree that you actually have a point. I don’t want to hear about campaign contributions either just examples of corporations actively campaigning to their employees like that Unions did.

Anonymous said...

Corporations give money to their employees? Heh. That's the funniest damn thing I heard all day. It's usually the other way around, corporations stealing the money earned by employees.

Saskboy said...

"And as for corporations - are they also "too" political? "

Of course, we both know that.


"In all honesty, trying to influence either the Liberals or Conservatives is both futile and stupid. We would have to compromise our own principles to approach either party, and neither would compromise their selves."

I completely disagree, and its your attitude that has backed organized labour into the isolated corner they are in. "One is dismissive. The other resentful." Seems to describe organized labour's attitude toward building allies in other parties.

Anonymous said...

Okay, Saskboy.
Here's the deal then. I'll work with you, but these are our goals.
10 dollar minimum wage by the end of the year. And it'll be adjusted according to the living wage year by year.
6 hour work day by the year's end.
We'll also reopen NAFTA to secure its demise by the year's end.

On the nitty gritty details, I'm willing to negotiate.

Mike30 said...

Why stop there Troy? May as well call for a win fall profits tax, increase of all royalties, industry targeted carbon tax, increased corporate taxes and employers paying 100% of CPP and UI.

Anonymous said...

Well, I had to go to work, and was in a rush.

brian said...

These results are rather interesting...

I am curious as to what they meant by "too political". It doesn't seem to be a very well defined term.

If they mean trying to make government policy more favourable to workers, of course unions are doing that. They wouldn't be representing their membership very well if they weren't. And a lot of the good things that we take for granted these days were won in long, hard stuggles by organized labour (eight hour day, minimum wage, weekends, too many to mention).

If they mean engaging in electoral strategies, I guess there is some debate over how effective that really is and whether the labour movement can be more effective using different tactics, but that is a pretty big issue to address in little blog comments.

If they mean being too partisan, that is another big issue. If a union or other progressive movement is going to be engaging in electoral strategies, then of course they're going to want to generally support the party that would be the best to get more favourable policies. I guess these movements might run into problems when the favourable party gets elected and either ignores or goes against their wishes as some NDP provincial governments have done (As a student in Manitoba, I have a bit of experience with this), and the movements have difficulty criticizing them, either for partisan reasons or because they are afraid that the other guy might get in.

Of course, these results are interesting, but I have a feeling that on issues like this a lot of people either have their opinions formed by news stories and media portrayals of unions in a negative manner (thank you, corporate media) or by the way the question is asked. You can sort of see it when 59% think labour unions are necessary and important, but 49% think they have too much influence. Those numbers don't seem to add up.