Letter to the Editor by Mario Leclerc – THE ROLE OF UNIONS IN SOCIETY – June26, 2011 – Cornwall Ontario

Cornwall ON – Research by labour experts Richard Freeman and James Medoff concluded that organizations with labour unions experience less employee turnover. Unions also allow employees to feel like they have a voice in the workplace, which can reduce feelings of frustration that could lead to turnover.


The business of unions is to provide a balance by addressing the issues that don’t interest the financiers and others, such as job security, pensions and benefits, equality and so on. The labour movements speak for all working people not just its due-paying members. The reality is the individual worker is always more vulnerable than the boss, and that’s why unions were invented. Society needs checks and balances, unions do fulfill that important role.


The notoriously conservative World Bank released a report in February 13, 2003 saying that labour unions are good for the economy and equity.

Based on more than a thousand studies of the effects of labour unions and collective bargaining on the performance of national economies, the World Bank report found that workers who belong to trade unions earn higher wages, work fewer hours, receive more training, and have longer job tenure on average than their non-unionized counterparts.

High rates of unionization also lead to lower inequality of earnings, especially for women and minority groups, says the report, entitled ‘Unions and Collective Bargaining: Economic Effects in a Global Environment.’

But unionization is not just good for individual workers – the study also found that countries fare better economically if large numbers of workers belong to trade unions.

More specifically, the study shows that high unionization rates are associated with lower unemployment and inflation, higher productivity, and speedier adjustments to economic shocks.

Union seeks a society which affirms the essential equality of human beings and embraces the goal of equality of condition. It does this by defending existing social programs against cutbacks, by advocating new programs such as universally available national childcare system and by pushing for economic reforms that transfer power to those who work for a salary or a wage.

Unions works for a change in the strategic balance so that business can no longer impose concession on the rest of society.
In contrast to the right-wing globalization agenda, which prevents whole nations from setting their own economic course, the labour movement affirms the importance of community-based economic development. To that end, the Unions support policies aimed at strengthening cooperatives and credit unions, whose goal is to reinvest capital in local communities.

The left remains what it has always been – the party of equality. And the right continues to be what it has always been – the party of inequality. All the specific questions in our politics – globalization, competitiveness, the deficit, unemployment, taxation and the welfare state are really debates about equality versus inequality.

Unfortunately, as long as power, greed, and tyranny dwell in the hearts of humankind, there will always be a need to protect the many from just such a few.

Mario Leclerc

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  1. Next time I use sarcasim on here I will try to use ” “. Of course health care is not free, I live in Ontario, a now have not province as well. I prefer to shop where I live but see the price differences in the states and tax is a major reason. Tax here that provides more programs than the US including health care. These programs cost alot of money and like all business, it goes to the consumer.

    Preventcancer.com says a growth hormone is still being injected to cows to increase milk production, do all the US lables list no rBGH?
    There seems to be a lot of angry people around as of late, that should change in October when the tax man mcguinty leaves.

  2. Good letter from Mario, good post by The Watcher. Whether you are talking about bosses or unions, it’s not power but the abuse of power that’s wrong. Simple when you put it that way; but life and human nature are anything but simple.

  3. It became a have not province because of reasons that were left behind from the Mike Harris days. Let’s not repeat the same mistake again else we repeat the same vicious circle. A lot of the taxes that we have to pay for, and the programs we receive in turn, other than health care, really do not interest me much Eric. I make do on such a minimal income due to all these taxes and you know what, I’m actually happy as well as my family. So long as we aren’t starving and that’s the way we keep it.

    Sorry, but Mr. Hudak does not have me convinced that anything will be any better at all if he is in power either Eric. I don’t like how he handles himself or even treats some of his own party supporters. The guy cannot even make any promises he is willing to keep. He just says he’ll look into things. And our local PC politician, won’t get my vote either due to other issues. Alas, seems like my provincial vote will go elsewhere, possibly even Liberal (our current outgoing MPP at least did do something to assist in some local issues I experienced) or NDP since there is at this time no provincial Green Party candidate.

    As for preventcancer.com. I don’t really believe in giving to cancer charities on a personal level. Please do not think I’m heartless or not a charitable person. I’ll give to other research charities of course. I am under the great belief that after all the billions sunk into cancer research, we could have more results by now. It’s an endless money pit padding the administrative salaries of those involved. Some to more of an extent, some to less. But, do you really think we don’t use hormones or GM products here in Canada? The fact remains that nobody today really knows what we’re putting into our bodily systems. Modified or not. We can only hope it is what we are told it is. I trust only what I grow in my gardens. I don’t trust any product I buy in any store these days, however, I have to buy it to survive, no matter the final results that could happen to me or not.

    Point still remains, we pay way too much for what we receive in return. The system is rigged in favor of government and government cronies (no matter which of the big 3 parties is in power). That is just the way it is. We pay too much for our foods here in Canada. The producers and end user’s both get the short end of the stick no matter which way someone tries to sugar coat it. And I will always attempt to get the best deal on food, no matter where it comes from. I cannot afford 6.99 a lb for chicken here when I get 5 times the amount for the same price elsewhere. We’re talking the difference between “an evening meal” and “feeding family for a week” when it comes to price differences like that Eric.

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