Unions need to get bigger to fight corporate agenda, says labour leader

News Sep 10, 2009 Ancaster News

If unions are to be effective in combating anti-labour legislation, they need to get bigger, says the business manager of the Ontario Building and Construction Trades Council.

“We’ve lost our way a little bit. We are not as effective as we could be,” said Pat Dillon, during Hamilton’s Labour Day Parade and picnic at Dundurn Castle.

Mr. Dillon said there are too many small labour unions that dilute the power of workers. Only a few unions, with larger memberships, should be retained to fight back against the right-wing corporate agendas businesses and governments are implementing, he said.

“We have a hell of a lot of work to do,” he said.

Don Fraser, chair of the Hamilton and District Labour Council, agreed, saying unions are “wasting money on their own bureaucracy rather than fighting on behalf of workers.

“We need less unions, (but) bigger and stronger unions to take on the businesses,” he said.

This year’s Labour Day finds workers still mired in economic turmoil. Hamilton’s unemployment rate sits at 8.7 per cent, which is the national average, after it increased in August from July from 8.6 per cent, according to Statistics Canada.

The jobless rate is the highest in Canada since January 1998. This year alone Ontario has lost about 222,000 jobs. And there are reports that there are about 500,000 more Canadians without a job this year than in 2008.

Nearly dominating the parade were white T-shirt clad steelworkers, especially those who have been locked out by U. S. Steel at its Nanticoke plant. Last month the American steel-giant laid off 800 workers at the Lake Erie facility, and locked out the remaining 150 workers. U. S. Steel did recall its workers for its Burlington Street facility, and last month re-started its blast furnaces.

Joining Mr. Dillon and Mr. Fraser during the traditional parade through downtown Hamilton, which attracted about 8,000 people of all ages, more than the previous couple of years, were NDP MPP Paul Miller, and NDP MPs David Christopherson, Chris Charlton and Wayne Marston.

Liberal MPPs Ted McMeekin and Sophia Aggelonitis walked with the Building and Trades Council workers, while Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger was near the front of the line with the labour council. Also marching in the parade were Councillors Scott Duvall, Tom Jackson and Bob Bratina.

Mr. Fraser lamented the lack of action by politicians at the labour council’s protectionist campaign, which began in January, that advocates all governments adopt buy local and buy Canadian policies. He said despite their pleas, politicians are not listening to them.

“It’s a struggle to get the attention of politicians,” he said.

For most workers, especially those who have been laid off, reforming the employment insurance program to loosen up benefit requirements, and increase benefits, has been the priority issue this year.

Mr. Fraser said workers need to become more active, and rely on their hard work rather than other people to get the protection that is needed.

Unions need to get bigger to fight corporate agenda, says labour leader

News Sep 10, 2009 Ancaster News

If unions are to be effective in combating anti-labour legislation, they need to get bigger, says the business manager of the Ontario Building and Construction Trades Council.

“We’ve lost our way a little bit. We are not as effective as we could be,” said Pat Dillon, during Hamilton’s Labour Day Parade and picnic at Dundurn Castle.

Mr. Dillon said there are too many small labour unions that dilute the power of workers. Only a few unions, with larger memberships, should be retained to fight back against the right-wing corporate agendas businesses and governments are implementing, he said.

“We have a hell of a lot of work to do,” he said.

Don Fraser, chair of the Hamilton and District Labour Council, agreed, saying unions are “wasting money on their own bureaucracy rather than fighting on behalf of workers.

“We need less unions, (but) bigger and stronger unions to take on the businesses,” he said.

This year’s Labour Day finds workers still mired in economic turmoil. Hamilton’s unemployment rate sits at 8.7 per cent, which is the national average, after it increased in August from July from 8.6 per cent, according to Statistics Canada.

The jobless rate is the highest in Canada since January 1998. This year alone Ontario has lost about 222,000 jobs. And there are reports that there are about 500,000 more Canadians without a job this year than in 2008.

Nearly dominating the parade were white T-shirt clad steelworkers, especially those who have been locked out by U. S. Steel at its Nanticoke plant. Last month the American steel-giant laid off 800 workers at the Lake Erie facility, and locked out the remaining 150 workers. U. S. Steel did recall its workers for its Burlington Street facility, and last month re-started its blast furnaces.

Joining Mr. Dillon and Mr. Fraser during the traditional parade through downtown Hamilton, which attracted about 8,000 people of all ages, more than the previous couple of years, were NDP MPP Paul Miller, and NDP MPs David Christopherson, Chris Charlton and Wayne Marston.

Liberal MPPs Ted McMeekin and Sophia Aggelonitis walked with the Building and Trades Council workers, while Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger was near the front of the line with the labour council. Also marching in the parade were Councillors Scott Duvall, Tom Jackson and Bob Bratina.

Mr. Fraser lamented the lack of action by politicians at the labour council’s protectionist campaign, which began in January, that advocates all governments adopt buy local and buy Canadian policies. He said despite their pleas, politicians are not listening to them.

“It’s a struggle to get the attention of politicians,” he said.

For most workers, especially those who have been laid off, reforming the employment insurance program to loosen up benefit requirements, and increase benefits, has been the priority issue this year.

Mr. Fraser said workers need to become more active, and rely on their hard work rather than other people to get the protection that is needed.

Unions need to get bigger to fight corporate agenda, says labour leader

News Sep 10, 2009 Ancaster News

If unions are to be effective in combating anti-labour legislation, they need to get bigger, says the business manager of the Ontario Building and Construction Trades Council.

“We’ve lost our way a little bit. We are not as effective as we could be,” said Pat Dillon, during Hamilton’s Labour Day Parade and picnic at Dundurn Castle.

Mr. Dillon said there are too many small labour unions that dilute the power of workers. Only a few unions, with larger memberships, should be retained to fight back against the right-wing corporate agendas businesses and governments are implementing, he said.

“We have a hell of a lot of work to do,” he said.

Don Fraser, chair of the Hamilton and District Labour Council, agreed, saying unions are “wasting money on their own bureaucracy rather than fighting on behalf of workers.

“We need less unions, (but) bigger and stronger unions to take on the businesses,” he said.

This year’s Labour Day finds workers still mired in economic turmoil. Hamilton’s unemployment rate sits at 8.7 per cent, which is the national average, after it increased in August from July from 8.6 per cent, according to Statistics Canada.

The jobless rate is the highest in Canada since January 1998. This year alone Ontario has lost about 222,000 jobs. And there are reports that there are about 500,000 more Canadians without a job this year than in 2008.

Nearly dominating the parade were white T-shirt clad steelworkers, especially those who have been locked out by U. S. Steel at its Nanticoke plant. Last month the American steel-giant laid off 800 workers at the Lake Erie facility, and locked out the remaining 150 workers. U. S. Steel did recall its workers for its Burlington Street facility, and last month re-started its blast furnaces.

Joining Mr. Dillon and Mr. Fraser during the traditional parade through downtown Hamilton, which attracted about 8,000 people of all ages, more than the previous couple of years, were NDP MPP Paul Miller, and NDP MPs David Christopherson, Chris Charlton and Wayne Marston.

Liberal MPPs Ted McMeekin and Sophia Aggelonitis walked with the Building and Trades Council workers, while Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger was near the front of the line with the labour council. Also marching in the parade were Councillors Scott Duvall, Tom Jackson and Bob Bratina.

Mr. Fraser lamented the lack of action by politicians at the labour council’s protectionist campaign, which began in January, that advocates all governments adopt buy local and buy Canadian policies. He said despite their pleas, politicians are not listening to them.

“It’s a struggle to get the attention of politicians,” he said.

For most workers, especially those who have been laid off, reforming the employment insurance program to loosen up benefit requirements, and increase benefits, has been the priority issue this year.

Mr. Fraser said workers need to become more active, and rely on their hard work rather than other people to get the protection that is needed.