With a number of high profile work stoppages and government interventions since the 2008 recession, the debate around the value of unions and the collective bargaining process has grown increasingly polarizing. Anti-union sentiment has materialized into “right-to-work” politics; unsuccessful Charter challenges in the Supreme Court for “freedom-to-not-associate” (with unions); and proposed legislation for stricter financial reporting measures on unions (e.g. Bill C-377) and to make the union certification process more difficult (e.g. Bill C-525).
On the other side of the coin, those in favour of unionization
point to a troubling trend of government intervention that suggests a deliberate attack on unions, undermining fair negotiations and labour rights. This camp points to government reactions in more recent labour disputes, such as the back-to-work legislation enacted in the Canadian postal workers’ strike in June 2011. Research showing that higher union density contributes to a reduction in income inequality counters the anti-union rhetoric that suggests unionization negatively impacts a country’s economic performance.
Check out: “The Changing Context Facing Teacher Unions in Canada” by Myles Ellis & Bernie Froese-Germain, Canadian Teachers’ Federation (2013):