Dr. Dawg

Attack of the living unions!

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Unions as seen by bosses.JPG

Two Conservative MPs and two allies, interim Liberal leader Bob Rae and NDP MP Peter Stoffer (whose ignorance of international law is unfortunate, to say the least), are upset. It appears that the Canadian Union of Postal Workers is—horrors—involved in international solidarity. One of its members went to Gaza and wrote about her trip. She’s opposed to patriarchy, too, and said as much in a union newsletter.

How dare they! The National Post has obligingly published an article detailing CUPW’s solidarity work abroad. To me, it looks like a list of worthy causes. To the MPs and, judging from his tone, the NatPo journalist, it’s nothing short of scandalous.

Where does the money for this come from? Some of it is from a fund negotiated with Canada Post to support international solidarity. (Other unions—PSAC, for example, CUPE, CAW, NUPGE and the Steelworkers—have set up similar funds with similar aims.) Some of it, as in the case of the Gaza trip and the newsletter, is donated by locals or individual members. There is nothing untoward about any of this. CUPW is a democratic union. Its policies and budget lines are decided at convention.

Former CUPW President J-C Parrot makes some strong points in rebuttal. But you won’t read this in the union-hating corporate media, gearing up for a full frontal assault on the Rand formula.

First, CUPW has no access to public funds. The trip was paid for by a regional fund made up of contributions from the CUPW locals of the Atlantic Region and voluntary contributions by individual postal workers. It would never enter my mind to restrain people from taking this kind of action for a cause they have at heart. Quite the contrary, it is nice to see people who care about others.

The CUPW negotiated a National Fund as part of the settlement in the last round of negotiations. The fund allows the CUPW to maintain relationships with workers in the rest of the world and show solidarity when they face violation of their human rights, including workers’ rights, or simply to discuss issues that affect workers around the world….

[O]n the issue of the newsletter, I thought we were in a country where we have freedom of speech. I have no doubt that CUPW will not accept censure by these MPs who, because of their political position on Israel, are willing to ignore the violation of human rights of women workers in Palestine.

I have no doubt that CUPW would show the same solidarity with workers in Israel if they were to be denied their right to negotiate or see a violation of their human rights. The contact with workers and their unions in other countries also ensures a better knowledge of the situation of workers around the world.

Last I heard, unions were all about solidarity. It’s what we live and breathe. But solidarity suddenly isn’t OK, because it’s with, you know, those guys. It’s not surprising to hear this guff from Conservative hacks, or from Bob Rae, a champion of the racist Jewish National Fund. But Tom Mulcair and Paul Dewar (NDP foreign affairs critic) might want to have a chat with the impetuous Peter Stoffer about the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Meanwhile, and to no one’s surprise, the Speech Warriors™ have once again gone mute.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on April 2, 2013 5:20 PM.

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