- Jared Bernstein comments on the prospect of a labour revival which can boost the prospects of unionized and non-unionized workers alike. And Thomas Walkom makes the case for closer identification between the NDP and Canada's labour movement:
Labour needs a political party because unions, on their own, are a declining force. Only 29 per cent of the Canadian workforce is unionized. The number continues to fall.- And CBC reports that Ontario's NDP looks to be taking that advice by looking to facilitate both certification and collective bargaining - though there's still more to be done in examining the broader trends affecting unionization rates.
This has happened because the economy, once characterized by large manufacturing plants, is now dominated by smaller service firms that, under current labour laws, are more difficult to unionize.
The decline of well-paying union jobs is one of the key factors behind the rise in income inequality that politicians routinely fret about.
Yet to reverse this trend would require a total rethinking of employment and labour laws, most of which were designed in the 1940s and ‘50s.
Among other things, the laws must be amended to eliminate the loophole that allows so many employers to pretend their workers are independent contractors who do not qualify for benefits or statutory protection.
As well, labour relations laws would have to be changed to allow unions organizing, say, fast-food franchise outlets, to take on the ultimate employer.
These are just a couple of examples. The point is that, if unions are to survive, labour laws must be rethought.
That in turn requires a political party willing to do the rethinking.
- Mark Dearn discusses how the CETA figures to undermine democratic governance in Canada and Europe alike. And the CP reports on Justin Trudeau's attempt to stifle discussion of the actual terms of corporate control agreements by indiscriminately bashing anybody who raises reasonable questions about business-oriented trade deals.
- Michael Winship points out how profiteering around the EpiPen the fits into a wider pattern of pharmaceutical price gouging and other anti-social behaviour.
- Finally, Lyndal Rowlands writes that developed countries have a strong stake in working toward meeting global development goals - and suggests it's long past time that we started acting like it.