State of the unions

Konrad Yakabuski piles up the negative adjectives in his description of unions (A Radical Idea For Union Leaders: Partnership – Aug. 19). He also talks about us representing “working stiffs,” which is a gratuitous insult to the 4.6-million unionized workers in Canada. Furthermore, he suggests we are wedded to confrontation and uninterested in productivity or our employers’ economic health.

I can tell him that more than 99 per cent of our collective agreements with employers are settled without strike or lockout. We are, indeed, interested in seeing employers do well because that is the basis of family-supporting middle-class jobs in Canada. Unions are involved, often with employers, in workplace training and apprenticeship programs, which lead to productivity gains for employers. For example, we have a joint venture with the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters to do research that looks into effective remote learning and also promotes new occupational credentials in manufacturing. These initiatives are hiding out in the open for reporters to cover.

Ken Georgetti, president, Canadian Labour Congress

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