Letter ill-informed on how unions work

Reasonable investigation would have determined that they are actually employees of the union

Letter ill-informed on how unions work

In the Aug. 2 issue Mr. Joe Sawchuk wrote a particularly ill-informed letter about “double standards” practiced by the United Steelworkers, in which he revealed a complete ignorance of how the union movement works. Mr. Sawchuk complains that USW workers are on strike while “union management” are still receiving their full wages. I wonder what effort he took to determine this is, in fact, the case. I am willing to bet he took none.

Reasonable investigation would have determined that the people he calls “union management” are actually employees of the union rather than “managers.” The management are the elected members of the union executive and bargaining committees, who cannot take their members out on strike without first receiving a majority vote from the members to authorize strike action. The decision to strike is therefore made by the members themselves.

As for the elected representatives, I cannot speak for the USW, but when I was a member of my union’s provincial bargaining committee it was automatic that when the members went on strike, pay to the bargaining committee and provincial executive did as well; it is in our constitution and bylaws. This is most likely the same for the Steelworkers as well. Since paid union staff are not “managers” they are not included in this practice, nor should they be.

Mister Sawchuk is a hard core reactionary who has never had a good word to say about any union, and has seemingly never taken any steps to find out how they work. Perhaps in future he should confine himself to his usual cheap shots at the NDP and federal Liberals, and allow the members of the various unions to “manage” their affairs in the democratic manner they are accustomed to.

David Lowther

Mesachie Lake

HEU Provincial Executive 1992-1994

HEU Provincial Bargaining Committee 1996-2002

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