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Why do the Harper Conservatives hate workers and unions?

Written by Think Forward Staff
Tuesday, 30 June 2015

For the last nine years, Stephen Harper's Conservative Government has shown an absolute disdain for workers and unions by enacting a series of anti-worker policies and consistently preventing unionized workers from striking.

Under the Harper government, back-to-work legislation and the threat of such legislation has become the norm for workers who fall under the Canada Labour Code, and the Conservatives have launched a full-blown assault on unions with Bills C-377 and Bill C-525.

For reasons that still aren't clear, Bill C-377 requires all union spending to be reported to the public online, even though this information is already available to union members. The bill also violates the privacy of union members and pensioners by requiring pension and benefit expenses to be publicized as well.

When the bill was first introduced, it failed to win approval in the Senate. But last week Conservative Senators passed a motion to shut down debate and force closure on Bill C-377, and today the bill cleared the Senate. 

Bill C-525, meanwhile, removes card check certification from the Canada Labour Code, which means that federally-regulated workers are no longer able to automatically join a union if a majority of them sign union membership cards. Instead, a workplace vote will now be held when a majority of workers sign up to join the union, and employers can use the time leading up to the vote to intimidate employees into voting against unionizing.

Bill C-525 also makes it easier for workers who fall under the Canada Labour Code to decertify their union, and it was developed without any input from labour unions or employer groups. Beyond the fact that the bill strips federally-regulated workers of important labour rights, it sets a dangerous precedent for provincial governments that may be interested in proposing similar legislation down the road.

The writing is on the wall: with the passage of Bills C-377 and C-525, it is entirely possible that the Conservatives will bring in Work For Less legislation at the federal level if they win another majority government this fall.

The Harper Government has already succeeded in weakening unions and eroding the Canadian middle class, which has led to greater income inequality over the last nine years. So there is nothing to suggest that the Conservatives won't take "the next step" by enacting Work For Less.

All of which raises the question: why does the Harper Government hate Canadian workers and unions?



If you could choose one thing that would make your job and/or work environment better, what would it be?