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Don’t heed the crocodile tears about unions

To the editor:

A snake oil salesman has come to town. Mr. Horner crocodile tears aren’t fooling anyone. Mr. Horner is trying to sell the right to work law, an American law that pits worker against worker. This law is really about right to work for less. The right to work law allows workers to opt in or out of paying union dues. It’s come to be known as ‘free riders’ who receive the same wages and benefits as dues paying members. Imagine if citizens could opt in and out of paying taxes, our system of government that provides essential services would collapse.

So who is really behind the right to work? Corporate Americans who have a vested interest in crippling the labour movement to reduce wages and benefits at the bargaining table.

As Mr. George Orwell wrote “exposing the nature of totalitarianism”, political language is designed to make lies sound truthful. His point is relevant today. The right to work law is misleading. The ‘right to work’ as applied to law guarantees no one a job. Indeed the right to work law confers rights only to employers to fire workers without cause and destroy unions.

Mr. Horner might want to check how mostly the southern U.S. states were able to bring about right to work laws in the ‘50s, because black Americans had no political leverage to stop the oligarchical political system becoming law (source, The Double-speak of Right-to-Work, by Norman Hill, Philip Randolph Institute).

Mr. Horner’s claim  he was forced to belong to a union is simply not true and is an attempt to mislead the reader. Why did Mr. Horner pay union dues? In 1946 the Supreme Court under Justice Ivan Rand released his historic decision that ended the Ford strike in 1945 in Windsor, which led to the Rand Formula. Today the Rand Formula is the heart of union security in Canada, that all workers who benefit from collective bargaining pay their fair share. Mr. Horner seems to think otherwise. One law for him and one law for everyone else.

The ‘right to work for less’ is an American law and has no business in Canada and is un-Canadian. For Mr. Horner to claim not to have known of the Rand Formula says to me he must be living under a cabbage patch.

As a retired union member I am better off having paid union dues and richer for it. I was able to retire with a good pension and paid benefits thanks to my union.

Gord Vickers