Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A union for everyone

When the volume of this chorus grows till they can’t help but hear
When our leaders serve the people, not just banks and profiteers
When the food and labor of the earth feed everyone here
That is one big union
That will be one big union
Come join our one big union

From the song One Big Union by Matthew Grimm.
The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada is merging with the Canadian Auto Workers to create an organization that represents 320,000 workers across 20 industries.

The interesting part of this is the stated intention of this new "super-union" to sign up senior citizens, unemployed people, students, and pretty much anyone else they come across who can scrape up the to-be-determined union dues.

Ummm, how might that work, exactly?

Charlie the panhandler gets rousted from his regular spot in front of a coffee shop. Being a union member, he gets his local involved, and they go after the coffee guys to get Charlie his spot back, plus restitution for income lost during his "service interruption," and dibs on the prime location near the exit when Spooky moves on and that becomes available.

Herb, a retiree over at Shady Acres, thinks chicken five times a week is just too much poultry. He makes a fuss, but Shady Acres is unresponsive. Herb contacts the union, and they mount a membership drive. They sign up 85% of the residents,  most of the staff, and the cat. The new collective agreement specifies a twice per week limit on fowl, extra dessert on Friday, regular cleaning of the litter box, and brandy with the flu shot.

Jimmy's parents aren't happy with his grades. He's getting F's in science and geography, and D's in everything else. Their complaints fall on deaf ears. They call in the union, which negotiates D's for Jimmy in science and geography, B's in all other subjects, a parking space in the staff lot, and a free pass on his next three expulsions.

Solidarity forever. Sign me up!


  1. Are you joking?? You didn't include a link and if true I missed it. (I have to stop watching TV news and reading a newspaper at the same time - I miss too much.) I knew unions would have to change but this is ... well ... either a really really good thing or the coming of the Anti-Christ. But hey, Doug, if you're in, well then, me too!

  2. Yep, it's true, Francie. Check this:

    "The two leaders said the new super-union would have the financial resources and political clout to tackle the challenges facing the labour movement. It will dedicate $50 million over five years toward organizing and will reach out to students, retirees, the unemployed and workers in non-unionized workplaces."

    Complete article at