Why Does Politics Matter for Workers and their Union?
Why is UFCW Canada committed to political action?
UFCW Canada and other unions are involved in politics because politics impact unions and the workers they represent. Throughout the years our employers have contributed huge amounts of money to political parties to ensure that business-friendly, not labour-friendly politicians are elected. Together UFCW Canada members and leadership can change that by actively supporting politicians and political parties who will fight for workers' rights and pass worker-friendly legislation.
It is our duty to be politically active. As unionists, politics affect us directly. Unfortunately many people learn too late that what we gain at the bargaining table can be taken away through legislation by hostile right wing governments.
In Ontario, we witnessed the Conservative government of Mike Harris take away the rights of agricultural workers to join a union, and deny other workers the right to unionization through card based certification.
In Saskatchewan, with the election of the Saskatchewan Party Government, we have seen an unprecedented assault on workers’ rights.
In British Columbia, the Gordon Campbell government passed legislation effectively taking away the right to collective bargaining for health care workers in the province.
These are just a few recent examples where governments have interfered with the rights of workers, and where unions and their members have fought back by becoming politically active.
Political action at the individual level is also key. Many of the issues that impact us and our families like health care, pensions, the economy, affordable daycare, taxes and public services can’t fully be addressed at the bargaining table. With pensions for instance, we may be able to negotiate for a private pension plan but with two-thirds of Canadians without any type of private pension plan, negotiating our plan will not eradicate the growing concern for a better Canada Pension Plan.
There are many other issues like health care, job creation, affordable daycare, taxes and public services which compel us as individuals to be active in politics, and one of the easiest ways to become active is as a member of UFCW Canada.
UFCW Canada and the labour movement in Canada have a long and proud tradition of being leading advocates for workers’ rights; improved social programs such as health care and pensions; and on issues like the environment, a fair taxation system and improved public services.
As much as the union does, we don’t do it alone. Throughout the country thousands of UFCW Canada members are involved in the political process and actively support the efforts of their union. Please also join us as we work together to enrich and improve the lives of all Canadians by supporting and electing leaders and governments in touch with the hopes and issues of everyday people in Canada.