Please, do keep in mind that in order to remain functioning, unions had to be made exempt from racketeering laws.
What was that about government coercion?
And those pesky ‘free markets’?
How is this for co-parenting….
CUPE – Canadian Union of Public Employees, according to its website, represents 600,000 civil servants and is Canada’s largest labour union.
The important bit here is that it represents civil servants. Only civil servants. These are the people who put public policy into action.
As in, these are the ‘Agents of the state’!
This, of course, does not mean they are not ‘their own person’ in their ‘free time’. Of course they are, free to express their views and all that.
Still, since their role as Agents of the State is known, their actions necessarily reflect on the state, too. This places ‘greater-than-average’ responsibility on them to uphold the laws of the State and not breech them in their public conduct.
I guess what I am trying to say is that breaking laws is always bad. But, if it is broken by someone who is not just ‘an average citizen’, but by someone who is either charged with enforcing the laws (like, say, a police officer), or enacting the laws (like, say, a public servant), it reflects badly not just on the individual, but on the State as a whole.
So, when a well-know CUPE member Ali Mallah assaulted BlazingCatFur, a blogger who was acting in the role of a journalist and filming/photographing a public protest in which Mr. Mallah was taking part, it reflects badly not only on Mr. Mallah personally, but also on CUPE and on all the civil servants of Canada!
What was the provocation?
Mr. Mallah did not like that BlazingCatFur was taking images of a public protest, in a public area.
In other words, this CUPE member, this civil servant, this Agent of the Canadian State, wanted to muzzle a journalist – and when he failed, he assaulted him!
This is a very serious thing. It is not just ‘one guy getting annoyed’ and, in the heat of the moment, loosing his temper.
This is a reflection of the attitudes of the Civil Service – and a very bad PR situation for CUPE.
The attack is documented:
Quoting from the video, the CUPE member demands:
“Who gave you permission to take a picture?”
On a public street, at a public event, this public servant wants to deny citizen journalists the very right to take pictures? What a frightening attitude for an Agent of the State to take!
And, when he is not immediately obeyed, he assaults the picture-taker: BlazingCatFur!
Mr. Mallah clearly recognized BlazingCatFur and the role as citizen-journalist which he plays – so his action was not simply an attack on one person: it is an attack on every Canadian journalist!
Once this has occurred, it is really irrelevant what the public protest was about, or what the various political views of whatever actors in this event or any bystanders are. Because once violence occurs, it is no longer the ‘beliefs’ or ‘convictions’ which motivated someone to one-sided display of violence and attempt to muzzle the press, it is the behaviour – and only the behaviour – which must be the subject of investigation! Attempting to censor and physically intimidate journalists is not a matter that can be taken lightly.
This is Canada – we do NOT tolerate violence! And, we demand that reporters and journalists of all types must not be muzzled, intimidated, attacked, or otherwise interfered with!
An internal investigation (of CUPE by CUPE) is needed, so that violent elements within the union can be expelled and, if necessary, brought to criminal justice. Nothing less than that can restore CUPE’s reputation as a respectable organization. I call on CUPE to take this action, clean up their ranks, to expel and publicly denounce those of its members who would use intimidation and violence to silence journalists and reporters!
Failing that, the various levels of government who employ CUPE members will need to re-evaluate CUPE’s eligibility to represent members of the Civil Service.
And, I am not joking about this.
We cannot tolerate Civil Service Unions which permit their members to intimidate and do violence to members of the press! And, we must demand that all levels of our governments expel from its ranks any and all unions which tolerate their members to assault this cornerstone of freedom of the press, of freedom of speech, on which our society is built!
This is just a tiny peek at Canadian ‘organized labour’ in particular, though I expect that the results will be similar for many of the ‘developed’ countries – and I am not naive enough not to understand that a supranatural organization of labour unions also exists.
This is only natural: one just has to look at the nature of people who are drawn to ‘organized labour’ to start with!
These are usually people who are very, very good at ‘organizing’ things – and other people. So, it is only natural that they would – well – organize themselves, too! And, there is nothing wrong with that: freedom of association and all that. Plus, many (perhaps most) of them are motivated by a belief that they are doing right by their members – also a commendable thing!
Where I DO have a problem is that in Canada (and many other places), this very freedom of association – something the labour unions had to fight bitter battles to win a legal right for – is now not respected BY the labour unions themselves…
As in, we have ‘closed shop‘ workplaces (or something practically indistinguishable from it), where every single employee is forced to belong to a specified labour union. These ‘exclusively union-held’ workplaces are to be found in private industry and – perhaps this is the most troubling aspect – they have a monopoly on all levels of the civil service! While I am very uncomfortable with all the aspects of this, that is not the topic of this rant.
Instead, I would like to demonstrate that this incredible skill at ‘organizing’, as practiced by labour unions, has – in a very real sense – led to a situation where just about every unionized employee in Canada effectively has to obey just one single boss…
Unions arose because there was a need for balance: as the industrial revolution transformed the ‘Western World’, the employer-employee relationship gave too much power to the employer and not enough to the employee. Following the age-long adage ‘there is strength in numbers’, people refused to give in to oppression and did something to change it, both in law and in practice. I suspect that were I living back then, I might well have been proud to be part of this movement!
But, the effects of human actions tend to act a little bit like a pendulum: if you push hard to correct a wrong, chances are that a really successful ‘push’ will ‘swing the pendulum’ to the opposite extreme… and, with ‘organized labour’, I fear that that is exactly where we are now! (At least, in the ‘Western world’!)
Now, we have a situation where an employer may not be allowed to hire the best people for a specific job (or, at least, the people the employer wishes to hire), but must have all their employment choices approved by a labour union. In effect, the Unions in Canada (at the present time) form a layer of management which is NOT under the control of the employer, but whose very existence is predicated on ensuring that there is strife between the employer and the employee (as the ‘raison d’etre’ of the union is to mediate any disputes between the two, ensuring there is plenty of ‘stuff’ to mediate seems only prudent).
As in that story (sorry, I cannot find an online link, but it happened in the 1980s, so there may not be an online copy) where a lady owned a business and wanted to leave it to her grandson in her will. To make sure that he really knew the business, from the bottom up, she wanted to hire him during his summer holidays in different departments of her company – working in the entry-level jobs of all the departments and getting to know them from the ‘bottom up’!
Frankly, I think this is commendable: if you intend to leave a company in someone’s hands, it is only responsible that he know all the aspects of its workings!
However, not long before, this lady’s company became unionized. AND, it was a ‘closed shop’…
And – since the labour union (I don’t know which one was involved) saw the hiring of the owner’s grandson as ‘nepotism’ and something to be opposed, they refused to grant him a memership in the union. That meant that – whether paid or not – the grandson was not allowed to work at this company…except, perhaps, as the CEO…but he was denied the ability to ‘learn the business’ in order to become an effective manager!
The story ends sadly. The confrontation between the owner and the labour union did not resolve the situation: and, rather than be denied the right to hire whom she chose, the owned closed the company – putting everyone out of work.
Yes, it sounds like an urban legend: still, at the time, it was a big story, covered by the major papers…
I guess what I am trying to say is that while 100+ years ago, the ‘strength’ was with the employers, that is no longer the case. Now, the ‘strength’ lies with the unions who control BOTH the employer AND the employees, without any accountability to the former and with only a ‘lip-service’ level of accountability to the latter.
That, in my never-hmble-opinion, is a problem!
Because, like it or not – notice it or not – what has happened over the last 100 years (or so) is that individual workers have united to form unions, restoring balance to the ‘equation’: but, they then went much, much further! They created ‘unions of unions’ – until now, in Canada, there is one body – the Canadian Labour congress – which controls the vast majority of unionized employees in the land!
From their ‘about’ page:
‘The Canadian Labour Congress brings together Canada’s national and international unions, the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 136 district labour councils.’
‘With roots everywhere in Canada, the labour movement plays a key role…’
‘Active in every aspect of the economic, social and political life of Canadians…’
‘On Parliament Hill, in boardrooms, at international conferences, in media events, in demonstrations or on picket lines, the CLC supports and educates unionists in the fight for strong workplaces, pressures governments for change, builds coalitions with like-minded groups, and strengthens solidarity between workers in Canada and other countries.’
This really does seem to be an organization – perhaps with supranational strings attached – which controls a great deal of what goes on in the daily life of Canadians!
If the CLC were to decide that each one of its members (or the members of its minion organizations) were to go on strike, the whole country would come to a standstill! Industry, government, infrastructure, construction – even entertainment: all these workers are subject to the whims of the CLC… either directly, or through the labour unions that they belong to – and which all answer to the CLC!
Is this not too much control in the hands of just one group of people – especially a group of people NOT ACCOUNTABLE to Canadians?