Union-hating employers have convinced a member of the Harper federal government to introduce a new law that violates just about every right that union members have to conduct their business privately and without costly government (and anti-union) interference.
Bill C-377 – which has been proposed as a Private Members Bill but which we are sure has the backing of the Prime Minister and the Conservative Party – forces a mind-boggling amount of privacy invasion on national, provincial and local unions and their trust funds, requiring them to report to the government on virtually everything that involves how the union spends their members’ money.
It will require incredibly costly, micro-detailed accounting on all union activities – including organizing, collective bargaining, education and training, conferences, political activities and lobbying. Payments to officers, staff and the recipients of pension plan and health plan payments would also be required to be disclosed.
The intent is clear:
• To vastly increase the costs to unions of financial reporting
• To cripple our organizing activities and to frustrate our political activism
• To force unions to make all of this information available on the internet, so that anti-union forces can view it
….all of which is exactly what the MERIT Shop contractors – who are behind the bill – want!
The ridiculous excuse for requiring all of this from unions is that union members are allowed an income tax deduction for their union dues. Anti-union types argue that makes it OK to require us to reveal everything about our financial transactions.
But Bill C-377 does NOT apply members of work-related organizations like the ones representing doctors, lawyers, engineers and public relations professionals.
It’s focused ONLY on unions.
Don’t be fooled by the fact that the Bill is not proposed by the government itself. Ruling governments frequently use a private member to introduce potentially controversial laws. The bill is introduced by the member. It goes through the usual process, then (surprise, surprise!) when the time comes for a vote, the government side votes in favour of it and it becomes Canadian law.
Bill C-377 requires unions to provide the government with detailed statements showing exactly how it spends its money for activities like:
Believe it or not, Bill C-377 also commands unions to report on the percentage of time its officers, employees and contractors spend on political and lobbying activities.
Collectively, that represents a stunning invasion of privacy into the legitimate daily work of unions in pursuit of their members’ best interests.
1. Take some time to read the background information on Bill C-377 by following the links below:
Talking Points on Bill C-377 - short-form version with more info
Claim/Counterclaim document - much more comprehensive explanation of the proposed Bill, and descriptions of how twisted its promotors are in justifying the need for such a Bill.
Letter from MERIT president to National Post - also displays twisted union-hating reasoning for support of the Bill.
2. Write your federal Member of Parliament an email, or phone their constituency office. Here are some tips.
3. Use the Building & Construction Trades Canada Web Site to contact your MP.
3. Talk to your family, neighbours, friends and workmates, and ask them to contact their MP.