Comment 32560

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted August 04, 2009 at 16:38:27

Ben: I think you have opened a can of worms, so to speak. The pros and cons of the labour movement. One would have to go back to the very beginnings to really understand the path of today.

I have to agree with Ryan, as one issue that is very relevant in the workplace is bullying and for those workers who do not have collective bargaining are basically left with no protection period. It is an Occupational Health and Safety issue. It is completely unfair for someone to lose their job due to psycho-manical boss/employer. Employment Standards offers no protection and currently it is taking up to year just to get pay in lieu of notice. It does not matter how you try to work with someone like that, whether you accomodate, collaberate, compete, if they do not like you, you are out period.

While we do have laws, health and safety being being one of the pieces of legislation, it is only effective if it is enforced. So under the act, if a workplace has more then five fulltime employees, there are entitled under the law to a worker rep or if they have more then twenty, then under the law they must have joint health and safety. I wonder if it has been actually documented as to how many employers fail to abide by the law on this issue?

While there are many examples, just recently, two workers died because of failure to health and safety in confined spaces.

For those workers in low income jobs, such as the worker who died in 1999 at a plant in St Catherines, there was no concept of Health and Safety period and in fact, when the explosion happened the volunteer fire dept would not enter because there was no MSDS on file, it was an unknown as to the toxic substances in the workplace. I just studied the coroners inquest on this case, it was an accident waiting to happen and not only did the Min of Lab fail but also the Min of Natural Resources. Low income workers may not know their rights under the act and employers use treats and intimidation to deny workers their rights under the right to refuse unsafe work and no reprisals for reporting unsafe work. In this case somebody died and for what and who was protecting their rights, it seems, no one was, not even the very structure and leglslation that we have in place.

It should be noted that almost 40% of all workers today do not even have access to the basics of employment standards, this largely true in the temp market, that there is still a need for workers to organize. But the organizing should be kept in the hands of the workers themselves, self management, opposed to the business unit way of organizing, maybe this is the reform that is needed. One may have to look at the beginning of the labour movement to understand where and how it is failing today.

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