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cannuck

Time for Right to Work legislation?

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I doubt this strike has made national news, but obviously, as the Co-op refinery in Regina provides most of the fuel for SK and the MT/ND areas to the South, the severe interference with access to the site for fuel haulers has become a serious disruption to the economy.

First, that has been a LOT of intimidation, harassment and even assault on people trying to enter either to operate the plant or to ship product:  https://globalnews.ca/news/6441876/14-co-op-picketers-charged-with-mischief-unifor-escalates-boycott/

The courts felt that the insolence of Unifor was intolerable, so a hundred grand fine yesterday:  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-union-fined-for-violating-court-order-in-regina-refinery-labour-2/

I won't debate the merits of the union's demand, but I will offer both sides to those who might be interested:

https://www.fcl.crs/our-business/refinery-facts/?utm_source=loknow&utm_medium=search&utm_campaign=crc&gclid=Cj0KCQiApaXxBRDNARIsAGFdaB-8SqVIw5SFQtH2GGTpgjERu7ugmPsdQ47RNQCwMDsy4gw8yGNOonwaAvliEALw_wcB

http://www.unifor594.com/bargaining-2019/

It is ironic that here in the wellspring of socialism it is of all companies the Co-op (Federated Co-operatives Limited) that has been forced to stand up against unreasonable demands of trade unions.  They had to endure a totally ridiculous job action over the last couple years where the union insisted that new hires be given full wage of established employees (in their retail gas station/C stores).  The Co-op stood their ground, but it was clear that the unions were looking to draw a line in the sand and had mistakenly targeted the Co-op thinking very wrongly that they would find some sympathy from either the organization or its members.  Hitting the refinery (that is famous for paying far too much money for not very much work of its employees) was a bold move that once again, it seems they thought would be so critical to the economy that someone along the line would give in once more putting the CLC back into the driver's seat.  Awkward for the NDP (which, if you don't remember was formed as a formal amalgamation of the CCF - the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation and the CLC - Canadian Labour Congress) that has removed the Regina Manifesto from its website to try to appear distant from their Marxist roots.  

The solution is simple, and it needs to be implemented in MB, SK and AB before the opportunity is lost:  we need right to work legislation.   The idea that Pallister, Moe and Kenny are somehow "conservatives" is now on the line.   If you guys want to keep claiming that ground, time to grow a pair and step up to the plate.  Recognize individual rights and freedoms for what they should be and place collectivism back on the shelf where it belongs.

Edited by cannuck
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I see people make the case for removing capitalism, based on the emergence and response to climate change.

 

I find that argument to also be ridiculous, but at least the scale of the problem makes it more compelling than one strike.

 

And calling SK the wellspring of democracy may be accurate but it's like calling Iraq the wellspring of democracy.  These are dead traditions here...

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You must be in a hurry this morning, as you are clearly not thinking clearly.

Because something is stupid for 70 or 80 years, that is your justification for doing more stupid things for 100???

I did not and could not call SK the wellspring of "democracy" for patently obvious reasons.  Obviously the problem is a lot bigger than one strike, but when even the institutions of the socialist movement find it unacceptable it is clearly time for individual rights and freedoms to achieve what that implies.  MB has parallel issues in downsizing its crowns, but none have yet gone to the job action level.

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Just to clarify the issue, the workers (the people who actually do the work) made concessions on wages in the last contract in exchange for a promise to maintain the current pension permanently. The Co-op is breaking that promise inspite of very healthy profits. Also, this is not a strike. The company locked out its workers.

We need legislation to force a company to shut down if they lock out their employees. Nobody should be on those premises. If the workers are not allowed to work, the company should not be allowed to carry on business. 

Right to work legislation pits an individual worker against a multi-billion dollar corporation. This is a fight to preserve defined benifit pensions. Non-union shops have been forced to change to defined contribution pensions which leades to poverty in old age. It is good for the cat food producers.

 

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The lockout happened because they were served with a strike notice.

The point is the workers ARE allowed to work, they just choose to join a union that limits their freedom to do so.  Refinery has been running just fine, just that the workers are being intimidated and interfered with illegally, as are those who must transport product.  The idea that government or anyone else can hold a company hostage is pure socialist bullshit.   Right to work pits UNIONS against companies and frees individuals to associate and work as they choose - as it should be.

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5 hours ago, cannuck said:

it is clearly time for individual rights and freedoms to achieve what that implies.

I have been in both a Union Shop and a non- union shop. In the latter. I like the idea of my wages and benifits being negotiated by professionals. It puts me on a level playing field as management.

Edited by Queenmandy85
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1 minute ago, Queenmandy85 said:

I have been in both a Union Shop and a non- union shop. In the latter. I like the idea of my wages and benifits being negociated by professionals. It puts me on a level playing field as management.

As should be your choice to do.  However, making it illegal for those who wish to take personal responsibility and initiative is clearly highly biased towards collectivism at the expense of personal rights and freedoms.   If we had a real constitution, that might not be the case.   We CAN easily fix that with right-to-work legislation.  Doesn't end right to organize, just ends the collective right for you to remove my freedom.

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18 minutes ago, cannuck said:

clearly time for individual rights and freedoms to achieve what that implies

Imdeed, 'individual rights and freedoms' resulted in the formation of unions because too often corporations treated their "human capital" as poorly as possible. Where there are no unions, they still do.  The track record of corporations demonstrates that they'll generally sacrifice people's welfare in pursuit of profit, and an individual has little power in comparison.  

Anti-union sentiment is kinda the same as anti-vaxxer sentiment; the reasons these things exist and how they've been a benefit to all of us has been forgotten. 

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What total, utter tripe.  I can show you literally tens of thousands of companies that are non union and treat their employees very well indeed.   One of my clients and for decades a JV partner is a fairly large non-union company (well over 1,000 employees in 14 branches around NA).  Ask ANYONE there if they would want to unionize, and I can guarantee you the reply will be very short, very direct and probably quite profane.  When some of the young guys have a good year and can put down the cash for a hundred grand worth of new truck, do you think they would be restricted in their hours, terms, conditions, etc. that the many union companies (who have to hire them to get done what can NOT be accomplished from within unionized ranks).  When people can just negotiate their work schedule to burn the midnight oil all summer then just take 3 or 4 months off in the winter to ski or lay around a tropical beach, you REALLY think they want to give that up??????  One of my best friends is a small company (30 or so employees in two branches).  Not union but a profit sharing deal established over 40 years ago by owner and carried on by his son.   Many of the staff have been there for the whole 40 years I have lived here.  You think they stay because working conditions are so terrible??

There is a HUGE difference between communicating with your employer and mutually agreeing on what goals are and how they are to be reached vs. the confrontational style of most trade unions that need to use intimidation, deceit, etc. to force employers to do what the union movement thinks is the appropriate view of the world.  Taking away either the employee OR the employer's right to walk away from that is a horrible breach of human rights. 

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3 minutes ago, cannuck said:

I can show you literally tens of thousands of companies that are non union and treat their employees very well indeed

Ok.  That doesn't negate the fact that there are tens of thousands of companies that treat their employees like crap, or that many "good" non-union employers are good because they don't want to be unionized.

8 minutes ago, cannuck said:

You think they stay because working conditions are so terrible??

In many places people stay in terrible working conditions because they have neither power nor options.  In my opinion that's a much worse breach of human rights than "forcing" an employer to treat workers decently.

11 minutes ago, cannuck said:

What total, utter tripe

Why do you start with such an aggressive, belittling comment about someone else's opinion?  Do you want civil discussion or an exchange of insults?  

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Because you taking away my rights and freedoms is extremely objectionable to me.   It's the kind of thing that in a country where people had and brains and balls should result in armed insurrection.   We maintained an armed force to protect us from rights and freedoms being restricted, only to watch the socialist movement from the days of the Regina Manifesto on accomplish exactly what Mother Russia would have wished for in their heyday.

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13 minutes ago, cannuck said:

Because you taking away my rights and freedoms is extremely objectionable to me. 

How is *my* difference of opinion taking away *your* rights and freedoms, exactly, such that you need to use insulting language?   

14 minutes ago, cannuck said:

 It's the kind of thing that in a country where people had and brains and balls should result in armed insurrection. 

So, you think armed conflict is the way to resolve different viewpoints?  That seems a little over-the-top to me.

People actually did use armed conflict in order to gain collective bargaining rights - something that was hailed as a boon to the common working man at the time.  It seems to me that the desire to eliminate unions is not to benefit the common working man, but to benefit the elites who gain money, not through their hard work, but simply by sitting back and earning money off the people who actually do the hard work.  

Now, if your argument is that unions can go overboard and that there needs to be more collaboration between unions and companies, instead of confrontation, I'd probably agree with you.  Still unions provide enough benefits for workers that I do not wish to see them eliminated - even if a strike action sometimes inconveniences me.

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Whether unions and companies collaborate or not, I simply do not care.  I absolutely REFUSE to be controlled in any way by some collective agreement, association, regulation, etc.   As I said, I will fight for your right to freely associate with your trade union or whatever else, but NOT at the expense of my right or freedom to associate with or not associate with whoever or whatever I choose.  How difficult is that for you to understand?   I will come back to what I always fall back to: the very definition of good legislation is that it REMOVES privilege, and granting unions the privilege of closed shop and forced adaptation by companies of collective agreements is granting a privilege to one collective that is not available to another.

The constant "union good, company bad" juxtaposition that the union movement here uses to exploit the "us against them" mentality, and worse of all the envy nonsense that anyone who happens to have been successful must be sitting on the ass and exploiting the hard done by "workers" (and that in the case of unions today is very much a joke to use that word) is completely out of date.   Are there companies that treat workers poorly today?   Yes, there no doubt are, but you are free to simply walk out of the door and work somewhere else.  The implication that you are "trapped" in a job in this modern world is ludicrous.

This idea of oppressed workers once had some genuine validity, but those days are long, long gone.   What unions are today in North America is one of the several things that makes us not competitive in business internationally, and wildly expensive for essential services (best example: crown corps and of course the entire wasteful and totally ineffective government bureaucracies).  Unions screw consumers, plain and simple.  Unions screw employers, plain and simple.  Unions screw workers, plain and simple (ones that actually want to work, that is).

Edited by cannuck

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 Though at their origins unions were a necessity due to the lack of codified laws protecting workers(child labour, safety conditions etc.) today is a different story.

Certain professions that are necessary to society, that most citzens can't, or won't do ( nurses, firefighters, social workers, peace officers etc....) will always need some sort of unifying body, to assure they are compensated justly for their efforts, and a guarantee that services will be maintained at high standards for every citizen from coast to coast to coast.

Now for the rest, many union leaders live lavish lifestyles well beyond the means of the workers they represent and supposedly "work to protect", not much different than the patronage they claim to fight against.

Today all the energy wasted on "I want more" disguised as an organized labour movement, would be better spent on strengthening and solidify labour laws for all

An argument could easily be made that in today's economy "Unions" often impede progress and not advance it. The textile industry in Montreal being a great example.

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The fact that this is the second labour disruption with Co-op in Saskatchewan in a year is a good indication there is a management problem.

If you want your "freedom" to work in a non-union shop, there are plenty of them out there. Why would you not want to have the support of your fellow workers and the help of professional negotiators to work to get you better wages and benifits? Is a defined contibution pension better than a defined benifit one?

Edited by Queenmandy85

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A union is a business that sells labour. As a member, I am a shareholder. I pay dues and the union negotiates on my behalf. It fights on my behalf if I have a legitimate grievence. 

Edited by Queenmandy85

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3 hours ago, cannuck said:

The constant "union good, company bad" juxtaposition that the union movement here uses to exploit the "us against them" mentality,

Seems to me both union and companies are guilty of that 'good vs. bad' propaganda.  Do you really think it's all one way?

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of course, when you set up a system of opponents you will always get conflicting results.  Besides, it is not the "propoganda" that had Unifor members and president arrested and the union fined $100,000.00, it was their illegal and possibly criminal activity.

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3 hours ago, Queenmandy85 said:

A union is a business that sells labour. As a member, I am a shareholder. I pay dues and the union negotiates on my behalf. It fights on my behalf if I have a legitimate grievence. 

Legitimate grievances can be adjudicated by means of provincial labour boards, why not strengthen those instead of paying dues to union management, who live high off the hog of your labour and rarely if ever provide suposed "shareholders" with dividends?

I worked in event production and can tell you the excess in union gatherings was unparalleled by most

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6 hours ago, Queenmandy85 said:

A union is a business that sells labour. As a member, I am a shareholder. I pay dues and the union negotiates on my behalf. It fights on my behalf if I have a legitimate grievence. 

A union is NOT a business in any sense of the word.  They have no investment, they have no accountability.   A CONTRACTOR is a business.   As such, they must meet the required amount of work contracted to do, and must stand behind that work and do so to a pre-determined price.   A union is pretty much the exact opposite of that.  If one wishes to become business like (and it is to be noted SOME unions are actually doing this) they need to bid against other sources to provide the same work that a contractor would do, and be prepared to guarantee that work for both quality and cost.   When there is a closed shop, that can not happen.   Under RTW legislation, that would be easily accommodated.

What you really are missing is that in a province and country without actual personal freedoms and rights in place it is possible to force an employer to become unionized.  As an employer, I am NOT free to simply walk away, nor is anyone subsequently as even the building in which I may do business after being forced to accept a monopoly on labour from becoming unionized, nobody else can come into that building and do that business without assuming the same collective bargaining agreement.

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22 hours ago, cannuck said:

I doubt this strike has made national news, but obviously, as the Co-op refinery in Regina provides most of the fuel for SK and the MT/ND areas to the South, the severe interference with access to the site for fuel haulers has become a serious disruption to the economy.

First, that has been a LOT of intimidation, harassment and even assault on people trying to enter either to operate the plant or to ship product:  https://globalnews.ca/news/6441876/14-co-op-picketers-charged-with-mischief-unifor-escalates-boycott/

The courts felt that the insolence of Unifor was intolerable, so a hundred grand fine yesterday:  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-union-fined-for-violating-court-order-in-regina-refinery-labour-2/

I won't debate the merits of the union's demand, but I will offer both sides to those who might be interested:

https://www.fcl.crs/our-business/refinery-facts/?utm_source=loknow&utm_medium=search&utm_campaign=crc&gclid=Cj0KCQiApaXxBRDNARIsAGFdaB-8SqVIw5SFQtH2GGTpgjERu7ugmPsdQ47RNQCwMDsy4gw8yGNOonwaAvliEALw_wcB

http://www.unifor594.com/bargaining-2019/

It is ironic that here in the wellspring of socialism it is of all companies the Co-op (Federated Co-operatives Limited) that has been forced to stand up against unreasonable demands of trade unions.  They had to endure a totally ridiculous job action over the last couple years where the union insisted that new hires be given full wage of established employees (in their retail gas station/C stores).  The Co-op stood their ground, but it was clear that the unions were looking to draw a line in the sand and had mistakenly targeted the Co-op thinking very wrongly that they would find some sympathy from either the organization or its members.  Hitting the refinery (that is famous for paying far too much money for not very much work of its employees) was a bold move that once again, it seems they thought would be so critical to the economy that someone along the line would give in once more putting the CLC back into the driver's seat.  Awkward for the NDP (which, if you don't remember was formed as a formal amalgamation of the CCF - the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation and the CLC - Canadian Labour Congress) that has removed the Regina Manifesto from its website to try to appear distant from their Marxist roots.  

The solution is simple, and it needs to be implemented in MB, SK and AB before the opportunity is lost:  we need right to work legislation.   The idea that Pallister, Moe and Kenny are somehow "conservatives" is now on the line.   If you guys want to keep claiming that ground, time to grow a pair and step up to the plate.  Recognize individual rights and freedoms for what they should be and place collectivism back on the shelf where it belongs.

 

Right to work.  

Since when did we not have this right?

 

They must mean...…...….the "right" to force employers to pay me the salary I want.  Now, that's a different story.

 

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30 minutes ago, betsy said:

 

Right to work.  

Since when did we not have this right?

 

They must mean...…...….the "right" to force employers to pay me the salary I want.  Now, that's a different story.

 

Since we allowed closed shops.  Under most collective agreements, the unions have absolute monopoly on labour inside of that agreement.   When there is a need (such as turnarounds, when permanent staff has nowhere near the manpower needed) trades must be taken from the union hall - thus independent tradesmen have no right to work to satisfy that demand.  Similarly, the business has no right to have work performed by anyone BUT unionized members.  Many companies (such as the FCL refinery in question) have to negotiate a deal with the union (i.e. pay an official bribe) to be able to affect major projects, and even then private contractors are also required to hire trades from the hall (obviously, tech and eng jobs outside of that scope).

Give you and example of why these things matter:  Many years ago, I had a client that manufactured some large equipment critical to every heavy industrial site.  I was asked to take a young EET with me and give him some training in the applied side of his profession.  We had discovered some MAJOR wiring problems in the equipment (co-incidentally due to a labour problem within their unionized plant) that would have prevented successful commissioning.  Since we were the manufacturer and had an engineering technologist on site (the young guy) the factory asked us to do the warranty repair in the field.  The equipment was a few hundred TONS, and now fully assembled, so moving it back to the factory was not practical.  We started doing what was needed - i.e. correcting the control wiring errors.  When the site union (construction) found that, they immediately filed a grievance with the general contractor.  Since the equipment was now on land covered by the site collective agreement, we had no "right" to work on our own equipment (not officially turned over until commissioned).  The union imposed random tradesmen who were supposed to do the actual work under our supervision.   Reality was they not only could not actually DO this kind of thing to our standard, but they now were trying to do work that my client (the manufacturer) would have to warranty.  We had to go back to the general contractor and stop work until they resolved the issue - or they would not have this ultra-critical piece of equipment commissioned.   The quick thinking site superintendent called the union steward into his office and slid a large stack of documents across the table at him, saying that this was a contract for the union to assume the liability for warranty on a multi-million dollar piece of equipment that could take a year to replace if it failed (with a business loss claim of about a half mil a day).  Of course the steward did not want to sign such an agreement (which was, as I recall actually some kind of scheduling documents) and the compromise was that we would simply come in at night and do the work that was technically required by the collective agreement to be handed to an unaccountable and unqualified union to perform.

BTW: the young trainee learned a valuable lesson from that encounter.  He rose very quickly through the ranks of that company and soon left to develop a three man shop from obscurity to become over the next three decades the largest company of its kind in North America.  He often reminds me that it was that lesson in why unions simply don't work that helped him structure a major consulting engineering, testing and field service enterprise that avoided internal unions and understood the limits of client unions.   I can tell you for a fact that virtually none of his nearly 2,000 employees have any desire whatsoever to be involved with trade unions in their workplace.

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How long do you think workers will be able to maintain the wages, benifits and job protection they've achieved if RTW legislation is passed. You only have to look at states in the US to see the result. 

Too often the 'boss' gets the attitude that (s)he is somehow better than the people who actually do the work while the boss's secretary makes his / her decisions for them because the boss got the job through favouritism. ("The working class can kiss my ass, I've got the forman's job at last.)

There is an advantage for the employer to having a union. When I converted my home in the Kootenays to electric heat, I had a choice between a non-union contractor and a union contractor. I chose the the union shop. The work was completed in-budget, on time and with quality work. A union ticket is assurance that the trades person you contract has the qualifications to do the work properly.

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6 hours ago, Queenmandy85 said:

How long do you think workers will be able to maintain the wages, benifits and job protection they've achieved if RTW legislation is passed. You only have to look at states in the US to see the result. 

Too often the 'boss' gets the attitude that (s)he is somehow better than the people who actually do the work while the boss's secretary makes his / her decisions for them because the boss got the job through favouritism. ("The working class can kiss my ass, I've got the forman's job at last.)

There is an advantage for the employer to having a union. When I converted my home in the Kootenays to electric heat, I had a choice between a non-union contractor and a union contractor. I chose the the union shop. The work was completed in-budget, on time and with quality work. A union ticket is assurance that the trades person you contract has the qualifications to do the work properly.

The friend I mentioned in the previous post is a non-union employer.  EVERY person who is out in the field is making well over 6 figure income.   They are in an industry with few union shops, so same rules apply as if RTW.   I have been waiting 30 years to see any of this degredation in income, benefits, safety, working conditions.   All I see is an endless lineup of people trying to get employed at branches all over Canada and the USA.

A union ticket WAS once an assurance that the trades PROVIDED by your contractor (you do not contract the union, as I said, they are not a business), but in today's real world, it merely means you are getting someone who has paid their dues.  They MAY be highly competent, but when we put in a call to a union hall, there is no such guarantee and we often send several of them back simply because they are not competent.  The ONLY advantage to an employer is that allows one to bid work in closed shop sites (by using bodies from the hall).   In several cases, we have been on such sites and the agreement requires us to take people who have absolutely no knowledge of our equipment or what we or the equipment must do, but since there is pipework in the equipment, we get a plumber';  since there is high voltage involved, we get a lineman; etc.   NONE of these people can or have any intention to actually DO anything - it just pads up the bill with several completely useless bodies.  NONE of whom would be a cost to the job (thus ultimately to the consumer) in an RTW situation.

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