CUPE Quarterly (Local 3906), Volume I, Issue 2
By Ajamu Nangwaya
Chair – External, CUPE 3907
As a trade union member who works in the broader public
sector and would be affected by the proposed wage-freeze,
I have been strongly opposed to labour unions meeting
with the McGuinty Liberals. The only logical purpose behind
these government-initiated meetings is to strike deals with labour bureaucrats at the table in exchange for agreeing to wage-cuts for unionized members.
There is a collective bargaining process through which the working class attempts to extract wages and benefits for the contribution that it makes to the creation of wealth in this society. Why would labour leaders even agree to negotiate with the McGuinty Liberals when the strategic objective of the state is the delivery to the bosses
of the worker’s material interests on the proverbial silver platter?
Were these labour leaders spooked by the implication the Supreme Court’s BC Health Services decision which rejected British Columbia’s unilateral removal of clauses in the collective agreement of public sector workers, and stipulated that governments should negotiate in good faith with the elected representatives of the workers? Is it possible that some of these leaders are still rattled
by public reaction to the recent strikes in the cities of Windsor and Toronto and at York University?
The working-class and labour bureaucrats cannot face the employer with fear in their eyes and minds. As workers, we need to take a broad look at the general attack by the government and private sector actors on all of us who sell our labour, have no real control over the organizing of worklife and little say in the distribution of the fruit of, or profit from, collective labour.
Therefore, we should take the $4.6 billion tax-cut, the attack on the special diet allowance and the postponement of the $4 billion Metrolinx investment in transportation infrastructure as assaults on the working-class of this province. If the labour movement had mobilized its material resources and members when these attacks were advanced in the March 2010 budget, it would have greater credibility with the public that its refusal to take a wage-freeze is
about all workers earning a livable wage.
Organized labour must educate, mobilize and organize its members through a power and democracy from below strategy so as to effectively resist the McGuinty Liberals’ attempt to shaft the workers of this province.