Sunday, July 19, 2009

The following is a request from the Communications, Energy and paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP UNION) for online solidarity against recent proposals of the Saskatchewan government to make it harder for unions to organize in that province. Bill 80 is a plot of the conservative Saskatchewan Party to "crack down" as much as possible on ordinary people. I've been away from my old home province for over a quarter of a century now, but my memory of how it was a place where the class struggle was as stunningly visible as a prairie blizzard still seems to hold true. With a caveat, of course. Nowadays it seems that only the right wing is willing to pursue its interests with any vigour, just as they are doing with Bill 80. The "left", either within the NDP or stuck like berries on the outside of a fruit bread, is drifting. Like in most of the left in the world. one hopes that Saskatchewan's old radical tradition may yet surface with a vision that goes beyond electing an NDP government and then hoping against hope that it will deliver some fundamental shifts in power. If I were to give an estimate of the influence of the left in the NDP today I would put it at about 25% of what it was when I quit the party way back in the early 70s, and it could hardly muster 1/3rd of the party even then.. However unlikely I might have viewed such a prospect even 25 years ago the NDP left today is pretty much what it is across Canada ie a collection of granola munchers and academics. I cannot see a resurgence of socialism with such a base in any near time point of view. Tie actual reforms such as a reform of the taxation system or fundamental changes in labour relations to the determination of such a "left" to ram their own lifestyle choices down the throats of a population that can't afford them, and what do you get. Mockery at best. Fierce anger at worst. What a sad obituary to what was once referred to as "the cradle of socialism in North America".
Here's the appeal from the CEP.
Stop Bill 80's Amendments to the — Construction Industry Labour Relations Act:
Web site:
Background (Preamble):
On March 10, 2009 the Saskatchewan Party Government Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Labour Rob Norris tabled amendments to the Construction Industry Labour Relations Act.
“Assistant Deputy Minister Mike Carr confirmed in a stakeholder briefing that the construction and other unions in Saskatchewan did not ask for this and that none were consulted prior to its introduction. The government says it’s about so-called freedom of choice for employers and employees. We say it is about opening the door to certain employer-dominated unions to do wall-to-wall certifications of construction projects,”says SFL President Larry Hubich.
Trades unions have long argued that wall-to-wall certifications, rather than the current system of certifying on a craft basis, will lead to deskilling and lower wages. The amendments also remove ‘maintenance’ from the definition of construction industry, which means a significant portion of unionized construction work will no longer be covered by the Act.
“Once again, the government is gutting legislation that affects thousands of workers without consulting them in advance. We saw this with last year’s essential services legislation and the amendments to the Trade Union Act. Now they’re doing it with the construction trades. This government is obviously intent on breaking unions in every sector,” says Hubich.
“It makes no sense to change the way in which construction workers are certified: the government’s own numbers show that despite the giant boom in construction over the past five years, that the unionization rate has remained the same. The system works for the trades union members because they are assured of a collective agreement and it works for employers, who are provided with skilled labour out of the union hiring hall.
Saskatchewan Federation of Labour Press Release.
Saskatchewan Building Trades Council Written Submission to Human Services Committee
Saskatchewan Building Trades Council Press Release
Please go to the link below to sign the following petition.
The amendments purposed under Bill 80 to the Construction Industry Labour Relations Act are unjust and unnecessary. That the present system has worked fine with over 17 years without a work disruption.
That the Saskatchewan Party Minister of Government Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Labour Rob Norris stop the amendments to the Construction Industry Labour Relations Act as purposed under Bill 80.
Sign the petition

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Communication Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada supports amendments to Bill 80 in Saskatchewan. As I CEP member I am disgusted by this. The real push for this is by the CEP construction arm which is know at CMAW or otherwise know at the BC Carpenters.

“With 80% of construction workers in the province being non-union, and the remainder represented by American unions, this is giant step forward for construction workers in the province,” says Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.

“CEP’s construction arm will work to change that, and we will also work to ensure that workers who are laid off in other sectors of the economy, can transition to construction, when skills permit,” says Coles