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Union political endorsement philosophy

mariomike

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Saw this in another thread,
"One should remember that it's Union leaders that support a party, not necessarily the membership, the days of the unions controlling their members votes are gone."

Wanted to reply, but can't do it there. So, I'll do it here, if that's ok.

I was in the same union local my entire career. The union NEVER controlled our votes.

The union makes its political endorsement decisions based on the core issues of concern to our members' health and safety, economic well-being, retirement security, right to collectively bargain and other aspects pertaining to the job.

We stand with the candidate who has a record of standing with us and whose policy decisions stand to benefit us when it comes to those issues.

Whether or not members use the unions basket of issues to guide their voting is up to them. The union never tells members how to vote, but because the union's job is to protect our interests and because politicians make virtually all the decisions that affect our job, we support the candidate who stands with us on our issues.

It’s the union's role and responsibility to make recommendations based on where the candidates stand on our issues, labor issues and issues important to the financial well-being of our members and their families.

To be clear, the union NEVER controlled who we voted for. Members were always free to vote for the candidates and party and issues that were important to them.
 

Colin Parkinson

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My union (PSAC ) made it pretty clear who we should be voting for. The Labour Congress of Canada, certainly believe it should tell me what to think. There was a time when the union leadership could really influence the voting habits of the members, however I think both the union leadership and the CPC both think the union leadership have greater influence than they really do on the rank and file. PSAC even offering really great food, struggles to get people to come to meeting. Generally the the ones above Shop Steward are strident unionists and lean left for the most part. The majority of our union barely cared about union stuff day to day.
I have told my CPC candidate that their messaging on unions is out of date and crudely done, that there is likely a good chunk of votes to be had with some careful messaging. Not so much from PSAC, but certainly the construction unions and the like.
 

Jarnhamar

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To be clear, the union NEVER controlled who we voted for. Members were always free to vote for the candidates and party and issues that were important to them.
No but they take your union membership dues and donate it to parties their choosing. Which means if you're a conservative your money can be going towards a party you hate and disagree with on every point.

Union members should be given an option whether their money gets used to support political parties.
 

Bruce Monkhouse

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It shouldn't go to any. party. Mine sends money all over the world for various causes that really don't mean much to most people. I remember one yearly convention in Toronto that I finally walked out on when the motions, and loooong discussion points, were to tell people to stop drinking Coke because they treat workers bad in Bolivia/somewhere down there. Millions of dollars spent and the result was putting Pepsi in the soda machines instead of Coke.
 

mariomike

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Which means if you're a conservative your money can be going towards a party you hate and disagree with on every point.
I'll take your word for it. I don't know.

But, if I "hated" a specific party, or unions, that much, I would not have applied for a union job.

The three emergency services in our town unionized in 1917 and 1918 and 1918. And they aren't going anywhere.
 

Eaglelord17

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I don't believe any union money should go to any political parties. I personally am part of a union and last election my union actually supported the Conservatives much to the dismay of our union leadership (we were the only branch of our union to not support the NDP last election).

That being said if they have enough extra money to be giving to politicians they have too much money and should be giving back that amount of dues to the members.

I'll take your word for it. I don't know.

But, if I "hated" a specific party, or unions, that much, I would not have applied for a union job.

The three emergency services in our town unionized in 1917 and 1918 and 1918. And they aren't going anywhere.

Yeah because that makes tons of sense. Deny yourself careers in most fields and basically all government sectors because its a union job. Maybe make it so people can join any job and not belong to the union if they choose not to.

In my experience unions cause just as much trouble as they prevent. Half the time I am screwed by management, the other half by the union. Usually the people who are receiving the protections should be fired on the spot, and the people who work hard just get hindered.
 

Colin Parkinson

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If you work for a big organization, then you need a union, because it can squash you without even trying. Much of the union stuff I saw was resolving silly administration stuff where Mr X can't collect a payment because of reg. 258 (3)(a), despite been promised such in writing, etc, etc
The other part is the "administrative burdens", funny listening to the Shop Steward at my work who was out in the alley having a smoke and talking about how they would like to take a certain member they are representing out into the alley for a good pounding, because they are basically a douchebag, but the union is obligated to represent the douchebag.
 

Jarnhamar

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But, if I "hated" a specific party, or unions, that much, I would not have applied for a union job.

I have a feeling if your union dues went towards someone like Harper or Trump you wouldn't have a non-chalant attitude about it. I would be in the same boat if my money went to the LPC or NDP.

It's nice to see new unions changing.
 
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Fishbone Jones

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I've been a member of two CAW unions, now UNIFOR, and OPSEU. The first one wouldn't back us when 99 of us got layed off. They called us all to the hall for what we figured was a strategy meeting. What we got was a 90 minute speech on how important and vital we were to the local. What it ended up being was a request to keep paying our dues in case we ever got hired back, they wouldn't have to hold us in arrears. Everyone knew we weren't getting back.

They second one hauled me off the line and up to the union office where the plant chairman bitched me out about being the only the in a plant of 2,000 workers who wouldn't sign up for United Way. 🙄 This one was crooked as shit. That plant Chairman was Ken Lewenza who formed UNIFOR and anointed Gerry Diaz as his successor.

OPSEU. Well what can I say. They are a typical government union. I had to block their number. Everytime I turned around Smokey Smith was calling with a pre-recorded call to arms. I don't know how the Corrections bargaining side works, and I won't put anyone on the spot by asking. However, our side sucked.

All three spent my dues on things I didn't agree with. They set up phony fronts, like Working Families, with my dues to influence an election for a candidate I don't want elected. And they have the art of coersion down to a science.

And of course, we have Diaz, president of UNIFOR, being a bagman for Trudeau's media bribes. In his off time he's at a podium, smashing his fist against it, screaming till his face actually turning beet red about how dastardly conservative are.
 

Underway

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Interesting discussion.

One of the reasons DT was elected was because he overturned the applecart regarding union support for the Republicans. Normally unions and union workers are democratic voters. Plenty of studies have shown this over the years. But with DT he went Protectionist on trade and anti-environmentalism hard. The "back to the old days" messaging was extremely attractive to unionized workers and unions. And it led him to win Michigan and Wisconsin. His same failure to deliver on many of these promises and union member concern about COVID lost him that support and those states.

But you can't put all unions in the same basket. A quick google search showed that Police unions (at least in the US) often support the GOP whereas "blue-collar" unions often support the Democrats. This last election was interesting in that a number of unions that haven't made political recommendations in years (14 years for the BlueGreen Alliance of unions for example) did so. Unions support parties based on the concerns of their particular members/work they represent.

In Canada the unions are generally less fractured. Due to party funding rules, they involve themselves in politics publically is with third party election/political adds. They are the top funder of those consistently. The Ontario Teachers union in particular loves this route. I think its far more effective than donations personally. You can message specific to your issue and have a greater effect on election results and control over the party you didn't target (well if you don't help out the union we'll make sure those millions of ad dollars go somewhere else next election).
 

mariomike

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I have a feeling if your union dues went towards someone like Harper or Trump you wouldn't have a non-chalant attitude about it.
I told you, Jarnhamar. I DON"T KNOW. Our concerns were focused on City Hall. Not Queens Park or Ottawa, So, I'm not in a position to argue party politics with you.

Which is why I have never had much interest in Canadian party politics. I have followed U.S. politics over the last four years out of morbid curiosity.

The only reason I started this thread was because I couldn't reply to Colin's post in the Capitol Hill Riot thread.

Our three emergency services were unionized long before I was born and will be around long after I am gone.

We all knew that when we hired on.
 

mariomike

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Unions support parties based on the concerns of their particular members/work they represent.
Very well said.

Underway, "One of the reasons DT was elected was because he overturned the applecart regarding union support for the Republicans."

If discussing organized labour endorsements in the U.S. election, for reference,

Democratic

Republican
 

Remius

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I’ve never paid attention to what my union does. When I was and DND they never contacted me for anything. Where I am now I actually get some info and even got my shiny card. But years ago I remember seeing a protest for something or other and PSAC had flags there. Something about Israel and Palestine. I could not for the life of me figure out why they were there.

That being said I do understand why unions will lean towards one party or another. The Conservatives tend to be much more anti union (to be fair I think some unions are anti conservative as well) in my mind. So when they call for cuts, I can see why unions will go with whatever party is more beneficial to them and their membership.

It won’t always sway my vote but depending on what parties are proposing I may sometimes be in agreement but have never felt I was being told to vote one way or another.
 

mariomike

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Some must be looking at the "big picture". Canada and province-wide stuff. We only had 243 square miles to worry about.

I attended our union meetings. I enjoyed the fellowship. We had a bar at the union hall. Party politics never came up. Our attention was focused only on City Hall.
 

Remius

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Some must be looking at the "big picture". Canada and province-wide stuff. We only had 243 square miles to worry about.

I attended our union meetings. I enjoyed the fellowship. We had a bar at the union hall. Party politics never came up. Our attention was focused only on City Hall.
Perspective is everything.
 
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