` Columbia Journal - Overheard in a coffee shop
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Overheard in a coffee Shop:
"Unions have had their day. We needed them in the past but not anymore......"
BY DAVE THOMPSON - The common perception is that in some distant "bad old days" employers used everything from guns to political control to criminal conspiracy to deprive employees of the most basic of job rights. In those "bad old days" working people had to band together or be crushed under the massive economic and political power of "the bosses". It was only about 80 years or so when police opened fire on striking longshoremen and their families on the Vancouver waterfront. As the common perception goes, "nowadays" we are all in it together whether we like it or not because of the global economy. Companies "nowadays" may sometimes forget to be sensitive and caring but their hearts are in the right place and after all they need "flexibility" to compete in the new economy.

The current wisdom (read Corporate big media view) is that job problems now come in two basic forms. First there are misunderstandings and failures of communication which can all be worked out with a little good will on each side. The only other kind of problems on the job are caused by greedy overly powerful unions who do not care about competitiveness and are ungrateful to those courageous entrepreneurs who single-handedly and unselfishly create all jobs and employment.

With this modern view of the Canadian workplace who would think we still have a section in the Criminal Code (section 425 to be precise) which makes it a criminal offense to refuse employment to someone because they are a member of a union? In fact most police officers don't even know about this provision in the Criminal Code. Most people hearing about this Criminal Code section pass it off as an historic anomaly -- something unnecessary left over from the "bad old days".

After all only those powerful greedy unions would try to tell us that employers would deliberately scheme to take people's jobs away simply because they were union members. That's just union propaganda. Everyone knows modern Canadian employers are so fair minded that workers don't even need unions to protect them much less the Criminal Code.

It's time to wake up and smell the coffee. We're not in El Salvador yet where workers are targeted by death squads. But we do have sociopathic corporations and executives running around the province who are willing to commit crimes for profit and put long term employees and their families -- thousands of them -- out in the street.

More hysterical union propaganda? Guess again, It's all on tape because some of those sociopathic employers tried to involve the BC Government Employees Union in their criminal conspiracy and its all on tape. The BCGEU could smell a very unsavoury plot from the first contact so they recorded the subsequent discussions with these corporate "gentlemen". The deal was simple. It went like this: We are going to get the contracts from Gordon Campbell's government to make a profit providing nonprofit services in health care. We would like a union contract with an established union to make the deal look respectable. We will let you be that union. (Think of all that lovely revenue for the Union! New staff cars all around! We know what is important to you Union guys right? wink wink) What's the catch you say? Oh, just one little thing. We will want to make sure that no current employees who are members of the Hospital Union get a single contract job. We will want your cooperation in hiring all new people. Every existing HEU employee is out the door. No malcontent HEU members may apply (for their own jobs back).

The Government Employees Union weren't having any of this unsavoury scheme. We hope they turn those tapes over to the police and ask that they file changes under Section 425 of the Criminal Code. The Labour Relations Board is ill equipped to handle a criminal conspiracy of this scope. Police investigation is necessary. Were government politicians or bureaucrats involved in this criminal conspiracy? Was the Premier aware of this criminal scheme? We have a right to know. Who was to benefit?

This is one of the biggest criminal conspiracies in Canadian history. For example if 5.000 jobs were to be ripped away contrary to section 425 and if those jobs paid even $20,000 a year, that's a cool $100,000,000 per year.

Makes it a little easier to understand the economics of privatization, doesn't it?

Should the RCMP be involved? We think so. By our rough calculation that's 10,000 really nice sun decks per year and these guys are not being neighbourly. They don't even live here. They are huge American corporations.

It's lucky we have George Heyman and those other BCGEU leaders who are willing to go public to expose this filthy business. Who says we don't need unions anymore? Now, where is the RCMP when you really need them?

The Columbia Journal
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Vancouver, British Columbia,
Canada V6B 3W8
Phone: 604-266-6552 Fax: 604-267-3342
Web: www.columbiajournal.ca
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