1 Sep 2013

Article touches on sensitive union issues

Should union members give up some of their seniority rights to make the movement more appealing to a critical public?

This is one of the controversial points touched on by an Ontario union rep, Glenn Wheeler, in an article in The Toronto Star

Wheeler also questions whether unions are spending too much money on grievances. 

Are the points raised by Wheeler things the union movement should deal with to try to drag itself into the 21st Century?

Wheeler is the Ontario legal rep. for the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, and a former journalist with NOW magazine. 

Reprinted below is The Toronto Star article. I'm interested in your feedback.

2012 Labour Day Parade in Toronto

Unions need to get back in touch
By Glenn Wheeler
Chances are, the turnout at this year’s Labour Day parade tomorrow will be heavy with the usual suspects — stewards, union presidents and others of the committed — and light on ordinary workers.
While we unionists squawk about how Stephen Harper and his ilk are beating up on us, we scratch our heads at the extent to which our existing members have tuned us out.
Faced with the dwindling participation of our members, we resort to dolling up our websites and scheduling bargaining unit meetings for lunch time rather than the end of the day, when there’s nothing in the way of the member and the exit.
But the causes of the disengagement — and the responses to it — are more profound. Unions still have not figured out how to effectively translate the benefits of collective action to the individualistically inclined members of the iPhone generation.
We still have not found a compelling answer to the question “what have you done for me lately?”