Today is Labour Day.

Did you know that only 16 percent of the Canadian labour force belong to unions.  (It is only seven percent in the U.S.)

Yet at the upcoming convention to choose a new NDP leader to succeed Jack Layton, no fewer than 25 percent of the votes are reserved for labour unions.  Unless this stipulation is changed (and it could be) unions will control a bloc vote amounting to one-quarter of all the voting delegates.

It now emerges that the party is split on this bloc vote for the unions.

Quebec’s Thomas Mulcair is calling for the abolition of union privilege at the upcoming convention.”Why unions and not environmental groups?”  However NDP president, Brian Topp, argues that the party’s historic ties to labour must be maintained, and that affiliated unions should get a set percentage of the vote at next year’s leadership convention.

This disagreement will be resolved at a party meeting this Friday.

Why is union membership falling in Canada?

Are not unions required to go up against strong company bosses?

Should labour get special treatment at the NDP convention?

What do you think?


  1. 1
    jim Says:

    One of the largest unions in the U.S. with affiliations in Canada is the Teamsters. This union headed by Jim Hoffa is rotten from the core. The NDP should place them beyond arm’s reach without aleinating them.

  2. 2
    Neil McKenty Says:


    Many years ago while I was studying at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbour, I had a meeting with a young woman who knew the Hoffa family well. She said they were one of the most lloving, Christian families that she had ever met.

  3. 3

    Neil, “loving” and “Christian” are not adjectives that have anything at all to do with good business sense or organization.

  4. 4
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    This same debate has been raging in the autism community for the past decade.

    Stephen Speilberg is diagnosed with a form of autism. So is Temple Grandin. Suspected autistics include Bill Gates, Einstein, and Sir Isaac Newton.

    Many autistics have a unique and different way of looking at things…a thinking “outside the box” perspective…that provides society with innovation, creativity, and benefits they otherwise would not have.

    I am of the firm opinion that if pre-natal testing for the autism gene continues, we will abort ourselves out of some of the greatest achievements life has to offer.

    But, alas, if you’re pro-choice you must necessarily be for aborting indesirables be they Down’s Syndrome, autistics, or females. Can’t have it both ways.

  5. 5
    Neil McKenty Says:

    How do those who want to abort undesirables differ from Hitler?

  6. 6
    jim Says:

    Neil – I’ll bet that she didn’t know where the bodies were buried either. Also did she have a choice of opinions sans alienating her fellow upright travellers?

  7. 7

    I worked for a large company- not unionized that “copied” the collective agreement of their competition who were unionized to the letter.
    They formed an arbitration committee and all kinds of special services.
    All without union interference or union dues. Win-win.

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