Caring about workers not a flaw

I will always remember that when my life was in peril and my job was at risk, my union stood by me.

Caring about workers not a flaw

Caring about workers not a flaw

Last week, on April 28, we marked a day of mourning for workers killed, injured or diseased on the job. Each year I remember so many: men I worked with; women in my community; elders in my church. I also remember how hard it was to refuse unsafe work. Penalties could be severe.

In the mining industry such a refusal was sometimes met with a suspension. It happened to me once. I was sent home without pay until the mines inspector ruled on my concern.

My union insisted I had the right to refuse unsafe work and insisted the mines inspector make a determination. When he ruled that the work was unsafe, they insisted I be reinstated and paid for lost time. Without my union, I am sure I would have been fired.

I will always remember that when my life was in peril and my job was at risk, my union — the men and women I worked with — stood by me. United Steelwokers at the mine, or PPWC at the mill, they had my back and I had theirs.

When I hear candidates for premier deride unions and their contributions (political or otherwise) I get a tad riled up. Especially when they set unions up as equal to corporations. Really? Unions work in the best interests of their members. They are constitutionally required to do so. Corporations work in the best interests of their profits. They are constitutionally required to do so.

I know politics is a rough and tumble game. I get it’s all tit for tat and jibe for jab. But hearing a man sneered at because he’s fed up and done with people being sacrificed for a ‘bottom line’ ticks me off. One hundred and twenty-two people were worked to death last year. Thousands more fall further behind every day. One leader seems stirred up about it. The others think it’s a flaw in his character.

What do you think?

Keith Simmonds

Duncan