Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Timely Reminder From Linda McQuaig

Fanned by a corporate-dominated media, it is hardly a surprise that anti-union sentiment seems to be rampant today. Everywhere we look, there are articles decrying the 'unchecked power' of union 'bosses' and strident rallying for more 'workplace democracy' and 'right-to-work legislation,' thinly veiled euphemisms for the ultimate dismantling of unions, and standard fare from politicians like Ontario's Tim Hudak.

In today's Star, Linda McQuaig offers timely reminders of both the nature of the attacks and why unions are still vital components of our society today:

In the 19th century, workers typically toiled 10 to 16 hours a day, six or seven days a week. Unions fought to change that. In the decades that followed the Great Depression, unions won higher wages and better working conditions for their members, setting a standard with ripple effects that led to a better deal for all workers.

But in recent decades, many of the precious, hard-fought union gains — job security, workplace pensions, as well as broader social goals like public pensions and unemployment insurance — have been under fierce attack by the corporate world (where workers really are under the thumb of unelected “bosses”).

She goes on to discuss the right-wing strategy that promotes the politics of resentment, pitting workers against each other as people without the benefits of a unionized environment try to tear down those who enjoy them. The results of course, are destructive to the things that make for a passably contented life: a decent wage, leisure time, and social progress.

As is almost always the case, McQuiag offers some much-needed perspective in these difficult times.


  1. McQuaig's strengths are many, Lorne. But one of them is that she has never lost touch with ordinary folks -- something our present masters have no desire to do -- and, in some cases, have never done.

  2. I suspect that keeping touch with the common people is one of the reasons she has had so much to offer in the various books she has written over the years, Owen; her pungent criticisms of the things that are promoted by the corporate agenda as good for all of society provide us with a lot to think about.

  3. McQuaig is a gem and it's a shame that she is not in the media spotlight more often, as opposed to airbag pundits like Rex Murphy and Kevin O'Leary or so-called experts like Tom Flanagan (called in to provide expert opinion on everything under the sun it would seem).

  4. The fact that all three of the aforementioned are fixtures on the CBC speaks volumes about the Mother Corporation's futile policy of appeasement, doesn't it, Beijing?