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    "The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people."
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    :: Thursday, October 06, 2005 ::

    Unions play a valuable role - By John Jacobs, Brandon Sun, Manitoba
    Canadian academic research has concluded that declining unionization is not, as some would have it, due to changes in the economy making unions out of date or even because workers don’t want to join a union.

    In fact, the popularity of unions has been increasing and the proportion of workers who say they would join a union has not decreased. No, the research shows that the primary reason for declining unionization in Canada is anti-union initiatives by governments and employers.

    Rather than support union efforts to improve workers’ work lives, most provincial governments have introduced U.S.-style labour legislation that makes it harder for unions to negotiate. Governments have lengthened and complicated the process of organizing a union in a workplace. Management in turn has jumped at the opportunity to intimidate workers and put legal obstacles in the union’s way. British Columbia went to a more streamlined union organizing system in the 1990s and worker success at unionizing increased.

    editors note: John Jacobs is the director of the Nova Scotia office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, an independent but left-leaning public policy research institute.
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