Response: Make unions accountable

Jul 18, 2013 09:59 AM

The following letter, written by CUPE National President Paul Moist, is a response to an article by Russ Hiebert from the National Post published on July 17, entitled "Make unions accountable".

Dear Editor,

The Canadian Union of Public Employees, like all Canadian trade unions, is already transparent and accountable to its members.  Our policies and major decisions are subjected to vigorous but respectful debate at every level of the union.  Simply put, Canadian unions are among the most democratic institutions in our society.

Contrary to Mr. Hiebert, union leaders are not the only ones speaking out against Bill C‑377.  Five provinces voiced concerns about the bill, citing jurisdictional overlap.  The Canadian Bar Association urged Parliament to defeat the bill citing privacy concerns.  And of course the majority of Senators, including 16 Conservatives, who passed extensive amendments to this fundamentally flawed legislation.

In its original form, Bill C-377 would have imposed intrusive financial and information reporting and public disclosures on all labour organizations, far in excess of what is required of any other organization or individual in Canada.

The degree of “red tape” this bill aims to create would pull resources from the important work unions do for their members: bargaining fair wages, delivering decent pensions, ensuring health and safety standards, ensuring workers are fairly treated, contributing to local economies, and advocating the interest of their members.

Bill C-377 is the most inequitable, onerous, and unnecessary piece of legislation we have seen in decades.  Even with amendments, the problems with the bill are too numerous to be fixed.  It must be withdrawn or defeated in its entirety.

The labour movement gives workers a strong voice in our democratic society.  This private member’s bill’s only goal is to stifle that voice.  Unfortunately for the Conservatives, CUPE members will not be silenced by this legislation and neither will the broader labour movement in Canada.

Yours truly,

Paul Moist
National President
Canadian Union of Public Employees


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