What follows is a thoughtful letter from union member John Gilmurray:
The real problem with labour policy in Canada is the union "local" system. On a recent visit to England and Ireland I was surprised that there are no locals, just one trade union congress for each country.
Everybody is hired directly by a construction company based on their resume. There are no grandfather clauses, no middle-aged white guys hanging around a union hall dishing out jobs to friends. Supply and demand are the rule. Thousands in Dublin have vacated jobs as teachers and bank clerks to become carpenters and electricians. No wonder they have one of the the best economies in the world.
What they have in Europe is Industrial Unions, and one should be careful of what one asks for. While Frau Francis may think this is a good idea, she would do well to remember that those of us in the Revolutionary Workers Movement also agree that industrial organizing is better than the outdated craft/trade unionism of the construction and building trades.
One Big Union, is the call to smash the old craft union monopolies in the work place that divide workers and create one big union for all workers. Including those who work in the offices, etc. that are often overlooked by the craft unions. Including temporary and immigrant workers. It was the temporary and immigrant workers exploited by the bosses at the turn of last century that built the most radical union in North America; the Industrial Workers of the World, IWW, the wobblies.
What needs to be done in Alberta is One Big Union of all workers, an end to craft/trade and competing union organizations. Since the orginal Canadian OBU began here in Alberta it makes sense that it should rise again from the ashes during this labour crisis.
Then we could build the General Strike to overthrow capitalism and its state. I don't think that is quite what Frau Francis had in mind though.
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