Union Bashing and Human Rights
How are union bashers able to get away with inflammatory rhetoric which wouldÂ be roundly denounced as extremism and worse if directed to other targets?
Here is an extract from the transcript of Kevin O’Leary’s interview with Heather Hiscox on CBC News Morning (6.52 am on January 10.)Â Emphasis added.
“we still have the problems of unions in many sectors, particularly in the automotiveâ€”we didnâ€™t take advantage of the meltdown, the financial meltdown to actually crush the unions when we could have. I think unionism is the dearth of business.Â Itâ€™s a huge uncompetitive advantage (sic), and it just forces capital to go to countries that doesnâ€™t (sic) have unions, because itâ€™s very inefficient, and thatâ€™s whatâ€™s important.Â I think globalization has some benefits.Â You may complain that, gee, jobs are leaving North America or Canada because they can go to lower cost places, but itâ€™s not just the employment rate, itâ€™s the terms under which you engage employees.Â So if you donâ€™t have to deal with unions, thatâ€™s even better.Â Thatâ€™s the one area I think we have more work to do.Â In the government sector, weâ€™d love to get rid of unions, automotive sectorâ€”get rid of unions.Â Just get rid of unions everywhere. They add no value whatsoever.Â Itâ€™s one of my big causesâ€”I love to get out there and union bash, and you know, frankly, I think itâ€™s a good thing.”
To which Hiscox replied.Â “Ok, Kevinâ€™s perspective on this–appreciated as always.”
I wonder ifÂ O’Leary and the CBC which gives him tons of air time are even awareÂ that his idea of crushing and getting rid of unions amounts to an assault on fundamental human rights.
Freedom of association and the right to free collective bargaining have been enshrined in numerous important international human rights declarations, most notably the United Nationsâ€™ Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.
Canada has ratified the legally binding International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 87 on â€œFreedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize,â€ which establishes the right of all workers to form and join unions of their own choosing without prior authorization, and guarantees the free functioning of labour organizations without interference by governments, including the right to engage in free collective bargaining.
On June 8, 2007, in a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Canadian workersâ€™ rights to free collective bargaining are constitutionally protected by the freedom of association provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Court concluded that free collective bargaining enhances the human dignity, liberty, and autonomy of workers by giving them the opportunity toinfluence the establishment of workplace rules and thereby gain some control over a major aspect of their lives, and also ensures the rule of law in the workplace.