Friday, 10 April 2009

Community unionism: Saskatchewan's tradition

The May 2009 issue of the SFL Labour Reporter was released this week. You can download a PDF Version here. The lead article is entitled "Community unionism: Saskatchewan's tradition" and is reproduced below:

Community unionism: Saskatchewan’s tradition

Unions have an uphill battle getting our message out through the mainstream media. Workers don’t own the media. And in Canada, the mainstream media is increasingly owned and controlled by just a few big corporations.

So how do we tell our stories to our communities? One way is through alternative sources of media, like the Making the Links Radio program, featured on page 3.

Another way unions reach communities is through our partnerships with groups like the United Way. Unions have always supported anti-poverty groups and community organizing groups like the Station 20 West project, featured on page 2.

Unions also create strong communities by being politically active. We have a long, strong history of fighting for social programs that benefit everyone, like medicare, employment insurance, pensions, vacations, and the minimum wage.

Unions have always been on the forefront of the struggle for human rights, including women’s rights and gender equality. That’s why when the Harper government wants to roll back women’s rights, they don’t just take away funding for women’s organizations. They impose fines on unions for helping their own members to achieve pay equity (see page 6 and 7).

And remember, union members also literally build communities – our building trades unions create and maintain the infrastructure we all rely upon. The Sask. Party government’s recent attack on the building trades, featured on pages 4 and 5, is an attack on the longest-serving trade unions in the province.

Both the Harper and Wall governments try to break the union movement because we get in the way of their vision of society, one that is marked by corporate greed, the growing gap in income inequality, and the rolling back of our rights.

Saskatchewan unions, on the other hand, stand for a society where we share the resources more equally, both at work and in the community.

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