Saturday, September 01, 2012

Saturday Morning Links

This and that to start your long weekend.

- Antonia Zerbisias and Thomas Walkom both discuss the connection between organized labour and the very existence of a substantial middle class. And Janice Kennedy worries about the all-too-prevalent trend toward worker-bashing.

- But Andrew Jackson nicely points out why attempts to undermine unions have nothing at all to do with general economic development, and everything to do with distancing a small elite from the rest of the population:
Further to my earlier post on the “own goal” scored by the Fraser Institute report on North American labour markets, the Table below shows the rankings of the Canadian provinces – out of 60 states and provinces – for (1) labour market performance, 2007-11 and (2) the unionization rate. (I have reversed the Fraser ranking for the latter indicator so that a rank of 1 rather than 60 is given to the jurisdiction with the highest unionization rate.)

The provinces all score relatively well in terms of labour market performance, with 4 in the top 10, and only Nova Scotia not in the top 20. (This indicator is based on job creation, unemployment and productivity growth.)

Provinces make up 9 of the top 10 jurisdictions by unionization. (New York and Alaska have higher unionization rates than Alberta which ranks 12 in North America.)

Obviously a lot of factors are at play in terms of job creation- but, if the data show anything, it is that high unionization is associated with better rather than worse labour market performance.
- Of course, that type of readily-available example might have something to do with the right's desire to ensure we don't have access to facts about where we stand as a society. And Statistics Canada is rightly challenging the most egregious Canadian example by pushing the Cons to reverse at least part of their choice to undermine Canada's census.

- Pat Atkinson notes that Saskatchewan's children stand to lose out from the loss of full-day kindergarten and other forms of early childhood development in the province.

- Finally, George Monbiot highlights the increasingly alarming connection between climate change which far exceeds even the estimates which should have driven us to global action decades ago, and policy-makers either denying or neglecting the problem.

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