Wednesday, 2 September 2009

The fight for rights

From the September 2009 issue of the SFL Labour Reporter

Times are tough. The economic meltdown means companies are tabling rollbacks and trying to outsource union jobs. Government policies of privatization threaten our public services.

Unions continue to fight this corporate agenda on many fronts – the fall edition of the Labour Reporter will highlight labour’s fightback.

Unions are fighting for decent jobs and for workers’ basic right to unionize. Two current disputes are good examples.

RWDSU local 558 at the Coca-Cola plant in Saskatoon went on strike to protect the contracting out of union jobs. As we go to press, a tentative agreement has been reached.

The CLC has called for a national boycott against Old Dutch. The Alberta plant locked out UFCW 401 and is challenging the corporation’s obligation to deduct union dues.

Many trade unions and workers continue to advocate for their rights using the courts, with some notable successes.

For example, in a landmark Supreme Court decision on freedom of association, RCMP officers recently won the right to unionize.

The New Brunswick Union of Public and Private Employees (NBUPPE/NUPGE) recently had a section of its Public Services Labour Relations Act struck down because it excluded casuals, thereby violating their freedom of association.

Unions are also engaged in strategic campaigns to protect public services and our Crown sector.

Take a look at CUPE’s anti-P3 campaign. It exposes the P3 agenda for what it really is: putting public services like education and health care at risk so right-wing governments can reward their corporate friends.

CEP recently launched the Save Our Saskatchewan Crowns campaign. Find out how the government is making Crown corporations less profitable and potentially easier to dismantle.

Together, Saskatchewan unions are proudly protecting labour rights and the social fabric of our province.

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