March 1, 2013
Because in less than two years, the Harper majority has attacked the free collective bargaining rights of a number of affiliates of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC); and
Because Bill C-377 represents an unprecedented intrusion into the independent affairs of all unions, and whose false premise of accountability to tax payers under the Income Tax Act will serve to allow the state to interfere in the private affairs of unions and their members; and
Because cuts to Employment Insurance, Old Age Security and other services within the context of fiscal austerity, the elimination of the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act, along with regressive changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program all represent an ongoing attack on ordinary working Canadians by the Harper Conservative government aimed primarily at driving down wages and weakening organized labour; and
Because the next legislative attack on Canada’s union movement will be by way of federal legislation to attack union security, which will amount to the introduction of regressive U.S.-style anti-labour legislation in Canada for the first time.
The Canadian Labour Congress and its affiliate unions representing over 3.3 million workers will:
Launch a comprehensive campaign to reinforce the value of union membership and unions, to build union pride and to create the necessary conditions for members to head off and resist any and all legislative attacks on union security and the independence and autonomy of Canadian trade unions; and
The campaign will include but not be limited to:
- Pooled resources to conduct research and polling to inform the development of education materials on all aspects of legislation affecting union security and the impact upon workers, wages, the economy and unions, and to provide communications training for all affiliates, federations of labour and labour councils to ensure consistent and coordinated communications; 2. Organized on-the-job conversations by all affiliates to engage their members about the attacks on their ability to earn a fair wage and work in a safe environment, and to make it clear that the real agenda at play is to weaken workers’ ability to have a voice in the workplace, to bargain collectively and to silence the legitimate voice of workers through their unions in public policy debates; 3. A rapid response communications network that monitors and ensures no politician’s negative media statements about unions goes unchallenged; 4. Advocacy work that extends beyond the federal parliament, including advocacy with employers and business organizations, local community leaders, provincial and municipal governments with the expectation that such entities wholly and publicly reject the introduction of regressive anti-union U.S.-style legislation affecting union security; 5. A national public campaign to present labour’s positive image including labour’s recent key accomplishments and social benefits, and to further inoculate against conservative anti-union messaging; 6. Every affiliate agreeing to fund this campaign until May 2014 (CLC Convention) and to be organized and led by the CLC; 7. An invitation to unions not affiliated with the CLC to participate fully in this campaign because they will be similarly affected by these attacks; 8. CLC affiliates speaking directly with their employers to solicit support for harmonious labour relations including an industrial strategy for Canada that would increase training, value-added employment and a stronger economic performance for the Canadian economy; 9. A commitment by the entire labour movement that the introduction of any legislative or regulatory change in any jurisdiction to long-standing union security principles will be met with resistance and action; 10. The defence and support of any affiliated union forced to engage in a strike or workplace action to establish or renew union security collective agreement clauses due to any legislative changes affecting contractual union security clauses, by the CLC and all affiliates, because an injury to one is an injury to all; 11. The CLC Executive Committee leading this campaign consider further actions as required to defend the labour movement against any and all legislative attacks on our independence; 12. Working to celebrate the proud history of Canada’s workers and their labour movement through public events and increased efforts to display labour solidarity in every community in Canada on Labour Day 2013; and 13. Every affiliate affirming their full support of this campaign by bringing forward this resolution for endorsement by their locals, branches, lodges, governing councils and chartered bodies.