Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Big Stick of the State Bashes CN Workers

“Show me the country that has no strikes and I'll show you the country in which there is no liberty.”
Samuel Gompers

Ah for good old lassiez faire capitalism. When workers and the bosses faced each other on a level playing field. Oh yeah when was that? What mythic era? The state uses the big stick of back to work legislation to union bust.

Canadian National Railway Co.'s striking employees said Parliament's approval of a bill to end the walkout supports an illegal union-breaking strategy by the country's largest railroad.

The Canadian chapter of the United Transportation Union, representing 2,800 conductors and yard workers, also vowed to resist Canadian National's plan to sign separate labor accords on a regional basis.

Locked Out

The railroad last week locked out all UTU members in the eight locations where the employees began picketing, including Vancouver and Oakville, Ontario.

``We are suggesting a regional process, but the fact of the matter is that we have pending legislation, which is what we'll have to be governed by,'' Hallman said in a telephone interview. The railroad wants separate accords with union members in eastern Canada, western Canada, British Columbia and Quebec, Hallman said.

" Do I believe in arbitration? I do. But not in arbitration between the lion and the lamb, in which the lamb is in the morning found inside the lion. I believe in arbitration between two lions or two lambs. When a man puts a pistol to my head and tells me to deliver, there is no arbitration. There can be arbitration only between equals."
Samuel Gompers

Of course this illegal legislation passed as the Liberals joined the Conservatives in giving Criminal Capitalist CN a free pass on having to actually address the workers real concerns; health and safety for themselves and for the public. The only party to defend union rights, the workers, the environment and calling for a national rail policy was the NDP. The bill handily passed third reading in the Commons 196-41.

“Where trade unions are most firmly organized, there are the rights of the people most respected.” Samuel Gompers

W]herever the people enjoy liberty the most, Trade Unions are most formidable. Samuel Gompers

Only the social democratic workers party stood up for lassiez faire. They correctly denounced back to work legislation and the declaration of essential service for rail workers, calling for a lassie faire marketplace between capital and labour.

A strike on any scale is merely a trial of industrial strength, an application of the law of "supply and demand," so often quoted by labor's opponents. How can a society based on free contract and free competition object to such a method of determining the comparative strength and endurance of capital and labor? Samuel Gompers
that the true interests of the working and business classes is in the repeal of laws instead of the making of new ones, and that the powers and functions of governments must be reduced as so as to leave the individual a greater degree of freedom and responsibility for his own acts. Joesph Labadie

CN is not Canada's national railway any longer, it was privatized and is now a North American conglomerate. It has competition as well. The CPR and VIA as well as American Rail Road companies. It has competition from trucking and air as well as marine transportation.

CN workers threw out the February tentative agreement because it failed to address workplace safety issues, issues that impact on Canadian communities.
But the Conservatives having this back to work legislation in their back pocket from back then, brought it out instead of the Labour Minister acting to bring the two parties to arbitration.

Then they imposed closure on the debate around Bill C-46 so that it would pass in one day. Closure on debate of any bill has not been used in Parliament until Tuesdays debate around Bill C 46.

When the bill passed it was only opposed by the NDP and some members of the BQ. The Liberals who turned tail on anti-scab legislation again turned their backs on Canadian workers and supported the Government, because of course it was they who privatized CN and they too have used the big stick of back to work legislation in the past when it came to rail and postal strikes.

Below are excerpts from the debate that highlight the real issues around this strike, CN's terrible safety record which I have documented in my blog. Outside of two BQ MP's speaking out the majority that spoke were the NDP MP's.

I have quoted Samuel Gompers through out this piece, the first president of the American Federation of Labour, because he was a libertarian, and not a socialist, but an advocate of pure and simple economic trade unionism. Something that folks forget. No advocate of statism he would oppose the state interfering as they did with Bill C-46. A free market cannot exist without free collective bargaining.

If we strike or ask that the matter be submitted to arbitration, we are told there is nothing to arbitrate. If we strike in order to enforce what we believe to be our rights, we are enjoined; and if we exercise what we believe to be our rights in spite of the injunction, we are guilty of contempt of court and are put in the jug during his honor's pleasure. There is not anywhere we can go for the purpose of trying to bring about some remedy, some change, some improvement but we are met by the same opposition, prompted by the same cause, prompted by the same motive, and that is to leave the workingman helpless to the mercy of the employing class. I think, though, I may say that that time has gone by. The workingmen of our country have learned somewhat of their rights, and they propose to stand by them, and they have the courage to do so, too. Samuel Gompers

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-46, An Act to provide for the resumption and continuation of railway operations, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mrs. Carole Lavallée (Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, BQ):
On the question of CN's management, it is important to recall what they said when they addressed us at the Committee on Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities on February 8. In fact, it is important to note how the Vice-President and Chief Legal Officer of CN saw matters at that time. At the time, the situation was heating up at CN and the strike was in full swing.

Of course, CN management spoke against the anti-scab bill. In fact, it said that "this would mean a return to a system where any nationwide railway work stoppage would inevitably require government intervention". They cannot be said to have had a lot of vision.

This is what the Vice-President of CN said: "First, the commuter rail service in Toronto and Montreal would quickly grind to a halt." We know that this is not what happened. He said that it would lead to "traffic jams and great inconvenience". We know that this is not true and we have not seen great inconvenience.

In short, CN management cannot be said to have had a lot of vision in these disputes. They have very little understanding of the consequences and repercussions that labour disputes in their company can have. So we can see why they have exhibited such a serious lack of respect in bargaining with their employees and the employees' representatives.

Mr. Speaker, I am quite appalled by what I see here this afternoon. We have the Liberal Party and the Bloc Québécois helping the Conservative government do something that we know is not in the interest of Canadians. We know full well that this is not in the interest of Canadians because they are telling us that they are increasingly concerned about the escalating accident rate, the loss of life, communities devastated and environments destroyed. CN has refused to treat any of those safety issues.

Now, after the employees are crying out to Parliament to take action so they can start addressing these safety issues, we have Bill C-46.

What does Bill C-46. do? It allows the government to hand over a blank cheque to the CN management to impose whatever final agreement it wants to see. The government will be given, through final offer selection, the right to appoint the person who will impose this settlement. Employees at CN have been trying desperately to have members of Parliament from the four corners of the House recognize the safety issues that have arisen over the last few years and that have reached a critical point in the last few months. Instead they are completely forgotten.

The government has the right through this legislation to impose whatever situation CN decides to put forward. There is no arbitration. There is no negotiation. There is an imposition by American management in the United States on what conditions the railway will function under.

It is absolutely appalling that any party would try to impose safety standards through CN management. What is most appalling is earlier today we saw the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois support closure so we cannot have a full debate on this issue and we cannot have a full addressing of the issue of safety, even though we have seen problems across the country. Instead we are simply going to hand over a blank cheque to CN management in the United States to decide what the future of our rail system for CN is going to be.

What has it done so far? We are giving these rights to CN management to decide on safety issues. That is the major point of contention. Employees have not hidden that. They have been raising this concern for months and months and years. Over the last five years we have seen a rapid escalation in the number of accidents, derailments, collisions, fires and explosions. Over the past five years they have escalated at CN.

The former Liberal government did very little. The Conservative government has done nothing to address this issue of safety. Instead of addressing it, instead of having the Minister of Transport sit down with the Minister of Labour and work out some way of addressing these legitimate concerns raised by employees, we have Bill C-46 being imposed with the support, as they say the accomplices, of the Liberal members and the Bloc members.

What happened earlier this year? After we had seen this rapid escalation over the past five years, we saw a spike up, a doubling, of main track train derailments since January 2007. What does that mean?

Let us look at some of the examples over the last few weeks. On January 4, CN rail engine crew had to be rescued from B.C.'s Fraser Canyon after a locomotive plunged down an embankment. On January 8, 24 cars of a 122 car freight train derailed in Montmagny, Quebec, about 60 kilometres east of Quebec City. On March 1, a CN freight train was derailed in Pickering, which disrupted train service on the Toronto-Montreal-Ottawa corridor and disrupted commuter rail service in the Toronto area. On March 4, grain was spilled near Blue River, B.C. On March 10, train traffic along Canadian National's main freight line through central New Brunswick was disrupted by a 17 car derailment.

We are seeing derailments across the country. What we have had from CN management is utter contempt for Canadians. It is not addressing it at all.
The employees have implored us through their actions to say that the government needs to take action. Safety issues are the number one concern. Instead of addressing any of those safety issues, we have the Minister of Labour handing over a blank cheque to CN management.

It is not just the employees, and Canadians generally, who should be concerned about this. We know that shippers are facing, increasingly, these roadblocks and obstacles. Because successive governments, Liberal and Conservative, did not take action on safety and on these derailments, we are seeing a permanent state of uncertainty in our rail transport system where we know any day there are three to four major accidents, any one of which can shut down rail service.

To say that we are helping shippers by ramming through this draconian legislation, with the support of the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois, rather than addressing the fundamental safety issues that the employees have said are their chief concern is ludicrous. We have seen shippers shut down as a result of these various accidents, collisions, derailments, fires, explosions, and the government has taken no action at all.

This leads to the question: Why has the government not taken action? Why did the government not, months ago, start to address safety concerns?

It is throwing its weight around now, imposing a situation where CN management decides how safe the system will be based on how many executive bonuses it wants to pay and what it wants the profits to be for CN in the United States. There has been absolutely no consideration given to Canadians, not even to shippers, who have been complaining about the increasing number of derailments, who have been complaining about the increasing concerns that parts of our rail system is being shut down because CN has not been treating safety as a major concern.

There was one thing the government did, and that was to actually do a safety audit at CN Rail. After prompting and pushing from the NDP, it was finally released. Let us just read some of the conclusions of that audit. This is an audit that was conducted in 2005 and it was held onto by both Liberals and Conservatives.

The two-phase audit revealed problems with both targeted safety inspections and with CN safety management practices.

Investigators found a number of safety defects in CN's equipment, defects that could cause derailment, personal injury or property/environment damage.

Auditors found a significantly high rate of safety defects on the locomotives they inspected, with problems ranging from brake gear defects to too much oil accumulated on locomotives and fuel tanks.

The audit recorded a number of different system and brake gear defects and defects with the cars themselves, including 27 occurrences of an unsecured plug-type door.

The audit also found more than a third of the locomotives inspected violated parts of the Labour Code regarding trains. Problems included: out-of-date fire extinguishers, incomplete first aid kits, and missing protective covers on electrical equipment.

The report also found that many front line employees say they felt pressured to get the job done. It said current practices allowed locomotives with safety defects to continue in service.

The audit revealed in part, and commented, the view of many employees and front line supervisors who reported that they felt pressured in regard to productivity workload and fear of discipline to get the job done, compromising safe railway operations.

We have an escalating accident rate, collisions, derailments, fires and explosions. We have concerns raised by employees about the lack of safety standards and the government's only action, rather than addressing that, was to hide a report for a year until the CBC pressed for a release and the NDP pressed for a release. And then, instead of dealing with any of those safety issues, the government brings in this draconian legislation to help CN management in the United States decide what the rail system is going to be like even though we know that escalating rate hurts shippers and hurts people across this country. The escalating rate of railway accidents means that parts of the system are shut down virtually every week.

We would have a permanent state of uncertainty in our railway system if this bill were to pass. Rather than addressing the safety issues, rather than acting responsibly, this government acts absolutely irresponsibly. Whether it is a wheat farmer on the Prairies or whether it is a company in Ontario, what this would mean if we were to allow CN management to impose its low safety standards on Canadians is a permanent state of uncertainty in our railway system.

Mr. Gordon Rhodes, who is a long time locomotive engineer, the only survivor of one of the most egregious recent accidents where two CN employees were killed due to CN's poor safety management practices, was at the transport committee yesterday. Here is some of what he said about safety management in his testimony, which is the first of what we certainly hope will be many opportunities to inquire into the low safety standards that we are seeing with CN.

Mr. Rhodes said:

--I can speak about the fact that from my experience working for CN when it was Canadian-owned and my experience working for BC Rail, and now we've gone to CN again which is American-owned, the contrast is immense...When you opened up your rules books, when you opened up your timecards, safety was number one when it was Canadian-owned.

Now it is not. He talked about the lack of proper enforcement:

I think that Transport Canada has dropped the ball and I'm not pointing fingers at individuals, it's the system.

He is referring to a system that has been put in place of course by the Liberals and continued by the Conservatives.

He went on in his testimony:

How does a bridge fall down with a train on it? Sorry, I'm emotional as I've been part of something very awful. I've witnessed two of my friends die right in front of me. Why? Because people don't want to hear the truth. People are afraid to talk about the truth because the truth is going to cost money.

Mr. Rhodes, in his testimony yesterday at the transport committee, went on to say:

I'm not American, I'm Canadian and I used to be proud to call my company Canadian National Railroad back in the 1980s. Now I'm not even allowed to. I'm supposed to say CNR. What's this?

Referring to the American management, he said: “They're telling us how they're going to run things”. In referring to government and to members of Parliament around that table at transport committee, he said: “I think it's time you guys tell them how it's going to be run”.

That is part of the message from Mr. Rhodes, the only survivor of one of the many accidents that CN has had, an escalating accident rate over the last few years. These problems were identified through the safety audit and identified by the employees who have, in a real sense, said to parliamentarians, “You have to help us with this. Communities are being devastated. Environments are being destroyed. Lives are being lost. You as parliamentarians have to help us with this”.

Instead, in three corners of the House, we are seeing three parties, the Conservatives, the Liberals and the Bloc, saying to employees that they do not care about that, that they are not going to address any of those safety issues. They do not care about the communities that are devastated. They certainly do not care about the shipping problems that happen as a result of the devastation of these derailments, collisions, fires and explosions. They are not going to address any of those issues.

They are going to toss the entire weight of the government behind a plan to simply hand a blank cheque to CN management to decide really what it wants to have as a railway. They are not going to impose any standards. They are going to impose a piece of legislation that allows CN management to keep its big executive bonuses and decide what the future of the rail system is going to be.

I certainly hope that every single member of this House reads Mr. Rhodes' testimony before they vote on this draconian legislation brought in by the Conservatives. He speaks to what should be important to every member of Parliament here: the safety and the continuation of our rail system, and not allowing CN management to decide what the rail system is going to look like. He said:

CN has gone in the opposite direction and they're very adversarial. I call it the poisoned work environment because that's what it is. Nobody wants to go to work there. Everybody's counting the days, the months and years, till they're gone, they're out of there, and that's not the way it was, and that's not the way it was at B.C. Rail. [...]

The way I look at it is this: CN is a big multinational corporation. Their railway goes from Mexico to Canada. They have amalgamated many or absorbed, and I don't know the proper terminology, but they've bought many railways and they've absorbed them into their system. They're experts at doing that. The problem here is that they absorbed one railway that they had no expertise on. They thought they did, but they don't. Their arrogance is what happened in the sense that they came in, they took our GOI, General Operating Instructions, with 50-some years probably of railroad knowledge of how to run trains on that track, but you're going to do it our way because we want it all homogenized. We all want it one way and that's it. They didn't listen to anybody, they just ploughed ahead with their system.

Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay, NDP):

When I speak about my number one concern, and that is the issue of safety, we can look at the safety audit that was done on CN Rail. It said that there were numerous problems with safety inspections and with CN's safety management practices. Again, we are getting back to the whole issue of a corporate philosophy.

The auditors found a “significantly high rate of safety defects”, in the order of 54% on the locomotives they inspected, with problems ranging from freight gear defects to too much oil accumulated on locomotive and tanks.

The auditors identified issues relating to rail defects, ranging from damaged rail to rail where there were numerous cases of missing bolts and cracked splice bars.

Train crossings in the audit were another major problem, with 26% of the crossings inspected had inadequate sight-lines. The majority were unprotected crossings. They found major problems all along.

The second phase of the report saw that many front line employees said they felt pressured to get the job done. The audit said that current practices allowed locomotives with safety defects to continue in service.

This leads me to the number three issue that I will speak about, which is accountability. The issue of safety has been raised and the threat that it poses. Since 2000, we have seen a massive escalation in the number of rail accidents on the CN lines. We are not talking about an accident here or an accident there. Any accident of these rail cars with what some of them carry is serious enough. However, when there is incident after incident it goes back to the whole issue of a corporate culture that has to be addressed.

I bring this up today because these are the issues about which the rail workers have spoken. They are concerned about this. I would venture to guess this is part of the problem of the breakdown in relations between management and workers at CN. People on the front line are growing increasingly concerned about the corporate culture, in terms of safety, from the U.S. corporation that is running CN.

Let me talk about the last two months or so.

On January 8, 24 cars of a 122 car freight train derailed at Montmagny, Quebec, 60 kilometres east of Quebec City.

On January 14, there was a derailment near Minisinakwa Lake in northern Ontario, dumping more than 30 cars, one containing paint supplies, into the water.

On February 28, hydrochloric acid spilled from cars on the CP Rail line that went off the tracks in the Kicking Horse Pass canyon.

On March 1, a CN freight train derailment in Pickering disrupted VIA service on the Toronto-Montreal-Ottawa corridor and commuter service into Toronto.

On March 4, grain was spilled near Blue River, British Columbia, two hours north of Kamloops, when 27 cars in the westbound train fell off the track.

On March 10, rail traffic along CN's main freight line through central New Brunswick was disrupted until the next day by a 17 car derailment in the Plaster Rock area.

On March 12, 3,000 VIA passengers had to board buses on the first day of the March break after train service in the Toronto-Montreal-Ottawa corridor was disrupted after a CN freight train derailed near the station in Kingston.

That is quite a sorry little record in the space of only a few short months.

+ -(1645)

When we ask about accountability of CN management, we have the CEO getting paid $56 million a year. Obviously, the investors think he is doing a good job, which leads us to the growing gap between management and workers at CN because questions of safety have been raised. The question of having adequate staff along the lines has been raised. Yet we see a massive increase in accidents. Therefore, we have to speak about what kind of corporate culture exists in CN where one man gets paid $56 million a year while the workers have to deal with trains that jump off the tracks at an alarming rate.

That is the issue of safety.

There is also the issue of accountability with government. We have seen very little in terms of a government response to growing concerns of public safety. I do not want to speculate about the threat of a major derailment with chlorine gas in an urban area, but we have to start realizing that if something is not done, something could happen.

We are not seeing any action from government. The Transportation Safety Board review rates of accidents are shockingly low. Yet when we talk about what is at stake, we would expect that any of these accidents would involve major inquiries and an examination at every step along the way to ensure that these things did not happen again, but it is not happening.

What we have in this situation is a growing gap of discontent between the people who are on the front lines, the people who are literally risking their lives, and members of upper management, who are paid $56 million a year.

The Liberal Party tells us that a CEO makes $56 million a year is irrelevant. The average Canadian should not bother themselves about that. The little peasant peons that make up the Canadian public should not worry about how these mandarins live in their upper echelon chambers with their $56 million a year payout. I am not speaking about this man in particular, but if any of these CEOs really botch it in particular, they are guaranteed a golden parachute. The average Joe and Josephine citizen back home does not get a golden parachute if they botch it at work. If they botch it at work, they are gone. They are down the road. Of course they are not getting $56 million a year, but then they are also not responsible for safety records like we see at CN.

The second issue about we have to talk about is the need for an industrial infrastructure plan for our country so we look at transportation as a whole.

The hon. member for Eglinton—Lawrence talked about how we were competing against truck driving. That is true. He said that there was a shortage of 30,000 truckers in the country. I live in a part of the country where many families are fed by truckers. Many of my neighbours are truckers. It is interesting, this race to the bottom that we see in the trucking industry. I have truckers telling me that they are having to compete against workers now who are being brought in on HRD projects. Trucking companies do not want to pay a proper rate to haul trucks. Now, suddenly, there is a shortage. Is there a shortage of truckers or is there a shortage of truckers who are willing to drop the price down below what Canadians would do it?

That is the time we see Conservatives intervening in the economy. They do not intervene to help build an economy. They think that is all kind of socialist mishmash. However, when it comes to driving the rates down by bringing in truckers to work at lower rates than an average Canadian could afford, that is a good use of our taxpayers dollars, according to the Conservatives. Bringing these workers in on work contracts is good.

A good friend of mine, who a truckers trying to make a living, applied for a job in a trucking company. It offered him the kilometre rate. He said that he would love to work for the trucking company, but he already had a mortgage on his house. He would have had to take out a second mortgage just so he could work for it. That is unsustainable.

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So rail is having to compete against trucking and the trucking rates are being subsidized and driven down with cheap labour. The question is how can we ensure a proper transportation infrastructure when rail with its fixed costs has to compete against trucking continually? We end up with nickel and diming. Rail transportation has to nickel and dime continually in order to meet this race to the bottom against trucking. That is simply not sustainable.

I do not see why we have HRD projects to bring in truckers to compete against our own truckers. We do not have a shortage of truckers in this country. A lot of young people want to get into trucking and they should be paid the going rate.

Mr. Paul Szabo That's not so. There is a big shortage.

Mr. Charlie Angus: Mr. Speaker, my Liberal colleague says there is a big shortage. I know many people in northern Ontario who would drive a truck but they are not going to drive a truck at the rates that are being paid right now. We have an unfair distorted market thanks to the Conservative government subsidizing industry at the expense of working people.

I am raising this because it is creating pressure on our rail lines which have very large fixed costs. Not only do they have very large fixed costs, but their CEO expects a $56 million a year payout and their shareholders across the U.S. are expecting very high returns on their investment. Once again there is pressure on the bottom line and of course the working families are the bottom line. Unfortunately in this case the bottom line is safety.

Do we see a poisoned atmosphere between management and workers at CN? Unfortunately we do, but it is something that has to be addressed because it is speaking to a larger issue. This is not simply a battle between management and workers. This is not simply about imposing a baseball arbitration and everything will be all right. The disparity that we are seeing in terms of a common vision at CN between workers and management speaks to a much larger problem that is growing in this country, a lack of a transportation vision for this country, a lack of commitment to make the necessary investments in transportation, whether it is in rail or roads, or in my area, for example, in airports where numerous small airports are facing shutting down.

The Conservative government has a laissez-faire attitude toward transportation. It is one area of our economy we cannot simply have a laissez-faire attitude toward because the distances between our regions are vast. As someone who has had to travel from one end of the country to the other many times for my work, I can tell the House that it is quite daunting just to cross the province of Ontario, or cross the Prairies which can sometimes take up to 10 or 12 hours between each major urban centre. Transportation is vital to maintain a viable economy in this country.

This debate we are having today about bringing closure with Bill C-46 is really a debate about the larger issue. CN workers are crying out and saying, “Enough”. This is a company that has not put the necessary investments into its infrastructure. This is a company that is paying its CEO $56 million a year. This is a company that is giving dividends to shareholders across North America. Meanwhile the people on the front lines who are doing the work, who are putting their lives at risk with these train derailments, are not enjoying the prosperity that the CEO and the dividend shareholders are enjoying.

There is obvious anger, which of course brings us to the issue of collective bargaining, the fourth point in my conversation today. Collective bargaining is a very important right. It is a right that was fought for in many communities. The right to collective bargaining was won in my own riding in 1941 in the Kirkland Lake gold strike. Members of the Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers union stood out on the line month after month through the winter in 1941 and won the right to collective bargaining. After that strike the federal government recognized the right to collective bargaining. That was a hard won right. There was never a strike in any of those years where we did not hear the same kind of claptrap we are hearing from government officials about shutting this down and how essential it is.

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Sometimes working families have to draw the line. As the hon. member for Parkdale—High Park said today, there has never been a strike that did not have an economic impact. That is what strikes are. They have economic impacts on both sides. The fact that we are facing that today is too bad, but we have to stand up for the right of collective bargaining.

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next intervention previous intervention [Table of Contents]

Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the NDP members speak about the ownership of CN and the CEO. CN is still a listed Canadian company and it trades on the Canadian stock market. I am quite sure that the biggest shareholders in CN would be private pension funds which represent unions across the country, public pension plans such as the Canada pension plan that invests for the future of Canadians, and a group called the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, which is one of the biggest, most diversified shareholder public companies in Canada.

Maybe I do not like that CEOs get that kind of money, but that is a fact of life in the market system. When we look at major corporations throughout the world, the CEOs command tremendously attractive remuneration. It is a product of the market system. I know one thing. If they do not produce, they get fired and they are down the road. It is a very demanding line of work.

I am wondering where the NDP members are going with this kind of argument. Are they going back to their Regina manifesto, the founding principle of their party which advocated basically that the entire economy and the means of production should be owned by the government, that we should get rid of this free market capitalistic system? Is that what the member is saying by alluding to these facts about the ownership of these companies and the salaries of the CEOs, that we should be moving back to the old socialist principles on which his party is based?
next intervention previous intervention [Table of Contents]

Mr. Speaker, I always enjoy my hon. colleague's interventions because he does remind me that there is still fear of the Bolsheviks out there, at least in his riding.

I would like to take him up on what he is saying. He said that if one does not produce, one gets fired. Fair enough. That is something that working people know in every industry in this country. It is a rule that exists everywhere in this country, except if one is the CEO of a large corporation. If the CEO does not produce, the CEO does not get fired. The CEO gets a golden handshake with a massive golden parachute and a payout of millions and millions of dollars. We have seen that with corporation after corporation. Let us have a bit of accountability here.

What we have seen in terms of these packages that have been given to CEOs over the last 10 years is that it has not created productivity in the workplace. In fact, look at the 1990s when there was massive downsizing in corporations across the country, firings of thousands of workers in operations that were viable, that were done because the CEOs were being paid in stock options. Every time there was a major downsizing, there was a blip in the market and it allowed their own personal stock options to increase. If that is an example of the free market, I would say there is something not quite free about that.

What we have been arguing for is a fair market. We want to ensure that corporate CEOs are accountable not to the shareholders but to society as a whole. We do not see why they should be getting $56 million a year and it should be written off as a normal tax expense.

If companies want to pay that kind of exorbitant, outrageous fee to people who simply are not worth it, and I will repeat it, who simply are not worth it, that is a corporate decision they can make, but they should be fully taxed on it, because they could easily put that money into investing and growing their corporation and being much more viable in the long term. However, we have created this culture of entitlement, a culture actually, to switch gears, of which the Liberal Party has always been in favour, but this is outrageous entitlement, $56 million a year for the kind of service we have seen.

I would like to ask the hon. member, given the recent outrageous number of derailments that we have seen at CN in the last three months, whether he would consider $56 million a year to be a little rich for a CEO of a corporation with that kind of record.

Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague from North Vancouver and there are some points I can concur in, but really I would ask my colleague to consider that when it comes down to it he is either in favour of free collective bargaining or he is not. If he is in favour of free collective bargaining, then he does not agree with back to work legislation, because that in and of itself violates the entire principle of the value of free collective bargaining.

Where I come from, in the labour movement and within the New Democratic Party, we believe in the right to organize. We believe in the right to free collective bargaining and, when the sides reach an impasse during collective bargaining, we believe in the right to withhold our services if necessary. Strikes by their very nature have an economic impact and that is what puts the pressure on the two parties to come together, to shorten or minimize the strike and come to a resolution.

I ask my colleague, how can he have this contradiction? How can he speak from both sides of his mouth, as it were, on this issue, especially in the context that final offer selection as contemplated in this Bill C-46 that we are debating today is an imperfect type of third party arbitration? As long as we are dealing with very simplistic things such as wages, for instance, then FOS is not a bad option because the arbitrator can choose this side or that side, but not parts of both. It forces the two parties to somewhat temper with reason their demands.

In settling negotiations I have used FOS probably eight times in different cabinet shops and in multi-party bargaining in the construction industry. I found it worked only when the issues were simple.

In this case, the issues are complex: safety rules, work rules, shift schedules and pension benefits. There is no way to put a question like that to an arbitrator in the context of FOS where it would have a satisfactory result, so I would ask my colleague to reconsider his position and the position of his party.

If we are truly committed to free collective bargaining, we do not vote for back to work legislation. If we are truly committed to final offer selection, we would know that it can work only when it is the choice of the two parties. It can never work if it is imposed on the parties by the legislation. It can work only when the issues in dispute are simple and straightforward, such as basic wages. Would he not agree that there is a contradiction in the remarks he has made and a contradiction in his party's stance that its members can be for free collective bargaining and also for back to work legislation?
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for trying to address the concerns I raised in this serious matter, but I do not think he fully gets the point I was trying to make. Final offer selection finds its origins in pro baseball. That is where it first was used. After all the other issues are stripped away and there is only money left and the two parties are still at an impasse, then both sides are forced to temper their demands with reason because the arbitrator can choose one or the other but not elements of both.

We suggest the way to settle this impasse is that there should be some sort of interest arbitration. The arbitrator should be able to arrive at something that is in the best interests of both parties by taking elements of both. That is far different from FOS.

In this case, the company is going to be able to write the final package. The company is going to be able to write what becomes a collective agreement. The union wants satisfaction on things like work rules, safety issues and complex issues such as pension contributions. The union has a whole package of things that are non-monetary or difficult to put a price on.

The company will simply come in with a good monetary offer and all those things will be left unaddressed in this round of bargaining, and probably will be unaddressed for the remaining four years of this collective agreement. Safety on the rails throughout the country will not be addressed even though people have invested so much sacrifice in this strike/lockout.

I hope my colleague and his party think seriously that final offer selection is not the right instrument by which to resolve this particular labour impasse. They would be far better served if they were to support an amendment to the effect of interest arbitration versus FOS. Perhaps there will be an opportunity later at other stages of debate where they will be able to consider an amendment to that effect.

+ -(1730)


An Act to provide for the resumption and continuation of railway operations

APRIL 17, 2007


Obligation to provide final offer

10. (1) Within the time and in the manner that the arbitrator may specify, the employer and the union shall each submit to the arbitrator

(a) a list of the matters on which the employer and the union were in agreement as of a date specified by the arbitrator and proposed contractual language that would give effect to those matters;

(b) a list of the matters remaining in dispute on that date; and

(c) a final offer in respect of the matters referred to in paragraph (b).

Contractual language

(2) The final offer must be submitted with proposed contractual language that can be incorporated into the new collective agreements.

Duties of arbitrator

11. (1) Subject to section 13, within 90 days after being appointed, or within any greater period that may be specified by the Minister, the arbitrator shall

(a) determine the matters on which the employer and the union were in agreement as of the date specified for the purposes of paragraph 10(1)(a);

(b) determine the matters remaining in dispute on that date;

(c) select, in order to resolve the matters remaining in dispute, either the final offer submitted by the employer or the final offer submitted by the union;

(d) make a decision in respect of the resolution of the matters referred to in this subsection and send a copy of the decision to the employer and the union; and

(e) forward a copy of the decision to the Minister.

Where no final offer submitted

(2) If either the employer or the union fails to provide the arbitrator with a final offer in accordance with paragraph 10(1)(c), the arbitrator shall select the final offer provided by the other party.

Contractual language

(3) The arbitrator’s decision shall be drafted in such manner as to constitute new collective agreements between the employer and the union and, to the extent that it is possible, incorporate the contractual language referred to in paragraph 10(1)(a) and the final offer selected by the arbitrator.

Proceedings prohibited

12. No order may be made, no process may be entered into and no proceeding may be taken in court

(a) to question the appointment of the arbitrator; or

(b) to review, prohibit or restrain any proceeding or decision of the arbitrator.

New collective agreements not precluded

13. Nothing in this Act precludes the employer and the union from entering into new collective agreements at any time before the arbitrator makes a decision and, if they do so, the arbitrator’s duties under this Act cease as of the day on which the new collective agreements are entered into.

As workmen and workwomen remain organized for any considerable time, strikes diminish. They establish for themselves and with their employers means and methods of conciliation, of arbitration, and it is only when those absolutely fail that there is a stoppage and break in their relations. After all, that which we call a strike is nothing more nor less than an interruption of the former relations which exist between the workmen and the employers for the purpose of arriving at a new working agreement. Samuel Gompers
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join with my colleagues this evening in this important debate on this back to work legislation. For those viewers who are watching this debate and who may not fully understand the background, I want to take a minute to go through some of the background. I do understand the perspective of people who see a disruption, whether it is in rail or whatever the industry is, and they say can those people not just go back to work and problem solved.

I want to take a few minutes to talk about the collective bargaining process. I understand the concern about the economy and the need to get our freight moving. We have to understand from the very outset that the collective bargaining process is about two parties. This is a negotiation process whereby two parties try to arrive at an agreement that they will have to live with day in and day out for the term of the agreement.

For the people who work in rail, for the people affected by this collective agreement, they may have concerns that come up from time to time, day in and day out over a period of months and years. The only opportunity they have for their voices to be heard in a democratic fashion is through their elected representatives in the bargaining process. The representatives take their concerns to the bargaining table and in a situation of equals the people who are covered by the collective agreement, labour and management sitting as equals try to resolve their differences through this process.

It is a process that is defined by law. It has been defined over a period of decades, of generations. The rights that are enshrined in the collective bargaining process are rights that people have fought for. They were not just given by a government or by the employer. These were rights that people had to organize and fight for, and sometimes they were terrible fights, in order to achieve that basic opportunity to sit down with elected representatives face to face with the employer, raise the issues of the day and resolve those concerns in a democratic fashion. It is an opportunity for the people covered by the collective agreement to address a range of concerns.

Usually when there is some kind of dispute in bargaining the focus of the media and therefore the public is automatically on wages and they become the central issue. Usually wages are a part of the concern, but not the entire concern. Certainly issues that are negotiated are wages, benefits, working conditions, relationships in the workplace in terms of how disputes will be dealt with, how concerns will be dealt with. As part of the working conditions the most important working conditions are those of the health and the safety of the people who work in a given environment.

My concern always when a government comes in with ham-fisted back to work legislation is that it pushes all of those rights and the democratic process off the table. It is a very ham-fisted, heavy-handed way of resolving what ought to be a very finely negotiated collective agreement that everyone has to live with.

Often when agreements are imposed, whatever the method of the imposition, they are less satisfactory. The issues that remain unresolved fester and they remain concerns, whether they are issues on the side of the employer or on the side of the workers. That is one major concern that I have.

+ -(1805)

This is not an isolated situation. Over the last number of years the Canadian government has enacted a number of pieces of legislation that chip away at the rights of working people, legislative rights that were designed to protect them and their fundamental rights in the workplace and their democratic right to collective bargaining, and ultimately the right to strike.

I want to take a minute on the right to strike because it is about the issue of power. The employer has a great deal of power in the workplace. Employers decide who to hire, who to fire, who to promote. In addition to that, employers decide what their product or service will be, how they will manage that product or service, what equipment they will invest in, what kind of advertising they will do or what kind of clients will buy their products. They decide the advertising and how they are going to market their services. They have a great deal of power over what it is they are producing in the marketplace, and that is certainly well known. That is the system that we have.

For people who work for the employer, as I said earlier, the only opportunities they have to give their input and to exercise any kind of rights in the workplace is not as an individual person but through the collective, through their collective agreement.

Organizing that process, being part of collective bargaining, is something for which people have fought for years. Chipping away at these rights, as we have in Canada, has led us to the point where Canada now has one of the worst records when it comes to labour rights in the western world. This it is very troubling and it is something about which all Canadians ought to be concerned.

Some may say unions are a problem, they are too much trouble, they are always after something, Whether it is labour rights, or other legal rights or human rights based on religion, ethnicity, gender or disability rights, the other person's rights may not seem quite as urgent as one's own rights, but when directly affected, one understands how important they are. I think fair-minded people everywhere in the country ought to be concerned that if labour rights are being eroded, as they are, what other rights are being eroded in Canada?

We had a discussion earlier today with questions about the cancellation of the court challenges program by the government, thereby undermining the ability of Canadians, usually the most disadvantaged Canadians, to access their basic rights under the Charter of Rights.

Those who quickly dismiss labour rights ought to understand that this is only one aspect of a broader tapestry of rights that we pride ourselves on in Canada. All this chipping away leads us down a slippery slope. As Canadians and how we think of ourselves as fair-minded and protectors of human rights, I do not think it is a slope that we want to go down.

Some weeks or months back we had a debate in the House about replacement workers. A private member's bill on replacement workers was defeated. I remind the House that Liberal governments between 1993 and 2006 helped defeat 10 anti-replacement worker private members' bills in the House. I am citing this from the Montreal Gazette, which published a story on it today.

This is something that ought to be of great concern to all Canadians, and certainly I am personally concerned about it. I know my party is.

+ -(1810)

On the specific dispute at hand, we have to remind ourselves that the Canadian Industrial Relations Board ruled this a legal strike. When the strike originally took place back in February, workers, who were under the direction of their democratically elected negotiating committee, were negotiating terms to go back to work back in February, but the government kept pushing for back to work legislation. I recall this because the media kept reporting that back to work legislation would be introduced.

They came to a tentative agreement. As sometimes happens with tentative agreements, they are not imposed on people. The agreement needs to be ratified. The membership voted 79% against the offer, and it was their legal right to do so. They began rotating strikes while agreeing to maintain commuter service. However, in response to a fairly limited dispute, CN decided to lock out all the workers. The situation with which we are presented now is not a strike. We are presented with a lockout. In essence we are dealing with an employer strike.

As I said earlier, in the normal course of operations, the balance of power is very heavily weighted toward the employer and that this is the only opportunity for people to get their issues addressed. This heavy-handed behaviour on the part of CN is rewarded by the government with back to work legislation, which in fact endorses what CN is doing. It endorses its heavy-handed approach. It is an approach that undermines the democratic legal rights of the people in the workplace.

All through bargaining, CN has used back to work legislation as a bargaining chip, and that is not the first time this has happened.

Let us look at some of the issues the people in this workplace are trying to deal with at the bargaining table, like worker safety and railway safety.

A recent study was conducted by Transport Canada a couple of years ago that highlighted rather serious concerns in rail safety. The public maybe does not see all the day to day safety concerns. We do see derailments. Some of these are huge and they affect our communities. They endanger our communities. People scratch their heads and say, “How do we prevent this? It is costly, destructive and wasteful. How do we prevent these derailments?

Study after study will show that probably the best way to prevent derailments is top-notch, high quality safety measures and top-notch, high quality investment in infrastructure that ensures the tracks, the rail beds, all of the equipment being used is absolutely in top condition so derailments are much less likely.

In the agreement CN was seeking to increase the number of hours workers would spend away from home. It is already 80 hours a week. It sounds kind of like the life of a member of Parliament. On the part of the union, it was trying to get better rest provisions, washroom breaks, a 40 minute lunch on a 9 hour shift, which sounds pretty reasonable to me, an end to 16 hour workdays and a number of safety measures. There have been over 100 derailments in Canada in 2005.

+ -(1815)

These are serious issues. If I am not in that workplace, I have trouble maybe relating to those issues. I do not know them as well as the people who live in these conditions day in and day out, whether they are in the union or in the company. That is why the process of collective bargaining works so well. Those two parties, which know the workplace, the issues, the concerns, maybe from a different perspective in the bargaining process, have to sit down and hammer these issues out and come to a mutually agreeable solution.

Again, CN has been less than stellar in terms of bargaining in good faith. It has been relying on the Canada Industrial Relations Board to rule the strike illegal, which it did not, and then wait for back to work legislation.

We have heard concerns in the House about the economy and the impact on it because of this dispute. I remind us all that this is a lockout, not a strike. However, fair and safe working conditions are equally important to the Canadian economy as the continuation of the transport of goods. The economic impact of a derailment, for example, is an enormous waste of our resources. If through this process we can address some of the safety and infrastructure concerns of the railway system, that would also be very good for the economy.

I have heard members talk about the cost to the economy of the strike back in February. I remind my hon. colleagues that many other factors were involved in the delays in shipments back in February in addition to this dispute. There was a refinery fire in Ontario. There were serious weather delays both in Canada and the U.S. that caused delays in the transport of goods. There was also a general downturn in business that affected some levels of production in the manufacturing sector and in other sectors as well.

I also remind the House that the managers are working. Managers are on the job, so it is not as though the rail industry has completely ground to a halt. Managers are working at CN, and there are other forms of transit available, including other railways. However, I do not at all pretend that some farmers and other shippers are not affected. Whenever there is a dispute, people are affected. That is why it is incumbent upon both sides in a dispute to get to the bargaining table in good faith to legitimately try to address the issues affecting them and to come to a resolve as quickly as possible so that any impact is as small as possible.

However, when we impose back to work legislation like this in a ham-fisted way, it sides with the employer. It denies people the right to a fair collective agreement because they get an imposed agreement that may not, in any way, deal with the legitimate concerns that they have brought to the bargaining table. It is simply not fair to them.

My colleague earlier talked about the importance of rail to our country. We are a country that was built on the railway. It is a key part of our history. It is part of our heritage and it created the ties that bind us as a nation. A country as vast and rich as Canada, with a fairly small population, ought to be a world leader when it comes to rail. Whether it is freight or passenger transportation, we ought to have the fastest, the best, the most efficient transportation system by rail than anywhere else in the world. When I hear about safety concerns, when I hear about derailments, when I hear that people are not being treated fairly at work, that is a terrible thing.

Mr. Speaker, for this debate, I looked to arguments that might possibly offer a rationale for this draconian legislation. For example, at, the president of the Canadian Industrial Transportation Association said:

Shippers serving highly competitive export markets and retailers needing to stock their shelves with seasonal imported merchandise will all be affected.

I thought is that why we were curtailing bargaining rights, to ensure shelves are stocked with seasonal imported merchandise? I thought, no, that could not be the reason we were sacrificing a fundamental right of workers to collective bargaining to negotiate conditions under which they were going to work. Given the safety issues that have been raised during this debate, I thought there must be a more important reason.

I will come back to talk about the safety issues, but I looked further for other reasons. I found a Canadian Press article in which the Conservative labour minister said, “Employers and many groups said they would like to see our government acting”. Clearly, then, is this legislation about taking sides with one party, the employer? How can that be a government that works in the public interest objectively?

We have had a lot of talk recently about the delicate balance between employer and labour. Apparently, that balance is only judged to be fair when employers get to scuttle their way around the right of workers to bargain collectively and fairly, either by using replacement workers or now by having the government do the dirty deed of curtailing the bargaining process and forcing a settlement on workers, a right that has been achieved over a very long time, democratically.

Then I read in the newspaper that the employer welcomed the news that the government would introduce back to work legislation. I do not see the balance in that. I see the government, which is after all supposed to represent the interests of Canadians, working instead on behalf of the interests of corporations, working out of the pocket of the corporate elite, bowing to corporate pressure, now twice in one month, to curtail the rights of workers to bargain collectively and fairly.

If this were sports, we would call it cheating. Since it is real life for workers, real life for Canadians who are exposed to safety risks, it is no sport, and it is not cheating, it is reprehensible.

I thought, surely, there must be an explanation that eluded me. Then I found, again in the Canadian Press article, in which the labour minister said, “The health of our economy is very important”.

The health and safety of Canadians is important. The health and safety of Canadian workers is important. The health of our environment is important. If we pass back to work legislation every time we might lose some dollars in export profits, how do we know that other safety concerns are not overridden? All Canadians workers should be afraid that safety in their workplace will not be overridden. All Canadians should be afraid when airline safety or transport truck safety is overridden because of the economy or because of a few dollars.

I finally found the reason that I think might have motivated the government. Again in the Canadian Press article, the labour minister said, “We saw what happened in February when...about $1 billion of our exports [was] lost. Now it's time to act”. If we only had this “act now” mentality about climate change, or homelessness, or mentality, or poverty, or health care, or student debt, or literacy, or a better course in Afghanistan and all the issues about which the Liberals and the Conservatives pretend to care a lot.

+ -(1915)

What is the first usage of closure in this Parliament? What is the first time the Conservatives have invoked this legislative measure designed for only the most desperate and emergency situations? It is for seasonal imported merchandise.

We hear all this talk about the social conscience of the members on the other side, the Liberals, but when do the Liberals side with the Conservatives, other than to extend the flawed Afghanistan mission? To tip the delicate balance of labour relations in favour of the employers, twice recently for the replacement worker bill and now for this draconian legislation.

Do the Liberals support an “act now” approach on climate change, homelessness or poverty as well? No, I do not see that. When they do support an “act now” approach, it is for season imported merchandise.

Bill C-46 infringes on fundamental rights to collective bargaining, to negotiate the conditions under which Canadians work, when it is clear that CN is using back to work legislation as a bargaining chip to disregard the very serious concerns that have been expressed by workers.

The Conservatives have invoked this restricted back to work legislation on the pretext that it is impacting the economy.They may as well state they are against collective bargaining because most strikes have an economic impact. That is why two parties work together, work across the table from each other, deliberate and try to find a solution that meets the needs. This has not occurred.

When I get up in the House, I often say that I am speaking on behalf of my constituents. Of course I am speaking on their behalf, on behalf of Canadian constituents who I think are concerned when the rights of one group might be eroded, as they are in this case. However, this evening I am also speaking on behalf of my father, who worked for 25 years for the then Canadian National Railways, which is no longer. My colleague pointed out that name has been shortened. In his years at CN, he worked and fought for workers' rights in his union. He loved the railway and he passed on that love and passion of the railway to me.

In the time that I have been in the House, I saw some opportunities to really make rail and public transportation a centrepiece of our vision for the future of our country. Rail should really be a very central part of the future of Canada.

However, rail service will only be as good as the investments made to ensure the safety of workers, the safety of the infrastructure and the safety of our environment. Yet the government has not seen fit to develop a national transportation strategy. There has been no vision for public transportation and this is an area where the government might think of acting now.

In past decades an increasing corporate culture has led to the privatization of rail lines, to focus on profitability over safety, reduction of the number of workers, disinvestment in railway infrastructure, elimination of some rail lines, no matter that some communities have been abandoned, as long as the large salaries of CEOs continue to be possible.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to emphasize the fact that the Bloc Québécois is opposed to this back to work legislation for the railway sector. Above all, we ask ourselves this question. How is it that this House should be asked to consider such return to work legislation? How did we wind up in such a mess? First, how is it that this Parliament is today legislating a return to work when the Minister of Labour himself boasted many times in committee and even in this House that return to work legislation was no longer required since anti-scab legislation was adopted in 1999?

He said that, as a matter of fact, in his own opposition to anti-scab legislation, and he found that it was a very good argument: Look, we no longer need back to work legislation! Well, that is not so. As I have told him time and again, it proves once again that his 1999 anti-scab legislation is not working and is certainly not the great success he claims.

On the other hand, if we are dealing with this back to work legislation today, it is precisely because there is no anti-scab legislation. If there had been such a law, CN management would not have adopted such a hare-brained and twisted strategy. It would not have said that it would try to break the union; that it would hire replacement workers; that it would call back retired employees and hire American workers to do the work of union members out on strike.

Obviously this strategy proved unworkable. CN was not able to replace its unionized workers. CN management will have to learn to negotiate with its unions. That is what anti-scab legislation does. It introduces some balance between the two parties, management and the union. They learn to sit down and negotiate together, without bringing in new players, such as replacement workers. CN management must learn not to be arrogant in dealing with its workers. It must also learn to avoid confrontation with its unions. In addition, it must learn not to scorn the work that employees perform and also stop neglecting their safety, which is extremely important. Once it has finished with this legislation, the government should give serious attention to the matter of safety in the railway sector. That is extremely important. We have often sounded the alarm on this issue.

Something else is just as surprising about this Conservative government. Why does it want to intervene here anyway? The industry minister never stops telling us that market forces will reach a balance. According to my notes, he says that he is just going to let things go; things will take care of themselves; market forces mean that everything usually reaches a balance; and if companies are good enough, they will do just fine.

Finally, a government that supposedly believes that the spoils go to the strongest is going to end up intervening in a dispute between two parties. That is really surprising. Why do this? The labour minister told us this morning that his office had received 78 calls—that is not the end of the world for a minister’s office, I hope—from business leaders who had called to complain. I cannot understand why the minister did not just stand up to this pressure and deflect it onto CN management in order to push it into negotiating. That too would have been showing leadership. It is not enough just to tell the House that he has received 78 calls and special legislation needs to be passed.

The Bloc Québécois is far from oblivious to the logistical and economic consequences of this labour dispute. So far, though, the consequences have been rather minor. For example, the transportation systems in the greater Montreal and Toronto areas have continued to operate. The union has given the company verbal assurances that it will continue to exempt the commuter trains in both these areas from its rotating strike.

Rather than immediately imposing an arbitration procedure that will probably please no one, the labour minister should take advantage of this opportunity to put the emphasis on mediation efforts and provide more support for them. In any case, the labour minister is coming in pretty late with all this mess.



Bell (Vancouver Island North)
Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Ménard (Hochelaga)
Ménard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin)
Thibault (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)

Total: -- 71

Liberty of the individual should be the guiding principle of all reforms…Individual liberty does not, however, destroy the right of association for the accomplishment of specific objects. The entering freely, voluntarily, into a contract with others to do something is not a curtailment of one's liberty. You do not give up any rights when you join a society. In the case of a trade union, for example, one does not give up his freedom when he becomes a member, because the object of his joining is to enlarge his sphere of liberty. It is the exemplification of gaining freedom by association. Without his union, the workman is much more the slave of his employer than he is with it.

Joesph Labadie


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