Crank the Volume
/ Author: Wayne Prins
/ Categories: Blogs, Guide magazine /
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Crank the Volume

It’s high time we had a national federation of progressive unions—a federation in which we can stand together for workers’ rights and demonstrate to the Canadian public that there is a better way to do labour relations

By Wayne Prins, Executive Director

The days of table-thumping adversarial unionism are fading. And that’s a good thing. Modern, progressive labour relations is finally finding its voice.

When we look around at our workplaces, it’s easy to see that it’s more effective to approach workplace challenges from a starting point of cooperation and respectful dialogue. And we see in the news that old school power-based union representation is failing its members and the entire labour scene.

So more and more unions are adopting a progressive approach—one that values bringing all parties in a workplace together, rather than sowing seeds of dissension. Currently, most of these unions operate independently, with no broader organization in which to find support and amplify their voice.

The main labour federation here in Canada is the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)—a federation CLAC and other progressive unions will not join. The CLC remains quick to defend the old model of adversarial labour relations and attack values of progressive labour relations.

Internationally, CLAC is a member of the World Organization of Workers (WOW)—a federation of progressive unions from around the world bound together by the shared values of respect, dignity, fairness, and community.

WOW is an exciting success story: two million workers are already represented by WOW’s member unions, with great potential for growth.

Here in Canada, it’s high time we had a national federation of progressive unions—a federation in which we can stand together for workers’ rights and demonstrate to the Canadian public that there is a better way to do labour relations.

I am very excited to announce that CLAC is busy creating that federation. Where CLAC once stood alone as the pioneer of progressive labour relations in Canada, we now stand among a crowd of like-minded peers.

These unions and employee associations will find camaraderie and support in belonging to a community that will amplify the new voice of labour in Canada.

The existence of this community today is only possible because of the long-standing support of CLAC members over many years. You, our members, have demonstrated the true value of progressive unionism, and you deserve the credit for ushering in a new era of labour relations in Canada. An era that will be characterized less by tense labour disruptions and epic labour disputes, and more by healthy work communities, engaged workers, and positive work experiences.

Congratulations for your part in this transformation, and thank you for your continued support!

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