Unions bring benefits

These days, as I read the opinion pages and letters to the editor, I feel angry and sad. There is a lot of union bashing in connection with the discussions on privatizing our community centre. I am sure most of these writers never worked for companies at a time when the unions hardly existed.

After many years of brainwashing that unions are evil, some younger people are falling for it. They do not realize that today’s safety laws, eight-hour workdays, holidays and fairly decent wages we enjoy now, were fought for by our unions. It took many years of bitter battles to achieve this for most of us. Otherwise we would still be lifting 100-pound bags, work 70 hours per week, have no pensions, no health insurance until we died.

Just go to the southern States and look at working conditions in agriculture and other non-union workplaces. It was not unions that embezzled pension funds and savings of working people and just about brought the economies of the world to a standstill. Let’s hope we do not get rid of the only organization which fought to give the worker a decent standard of living. Some of the unions did get a bit too big for their britches but so did many companies.

Union bashers should aim their vendetta at large private companies where the executives have up to 140 times the wages and benefits that the average Canadian makes in his work place. On top of that, many send their profits to Switzerland and other tax havens to escape paying taxes like you and I. The middle class in Canada did not improve their living standard since 1982. Only by the addition of a second wage earner are some families financially better off.

Norbert Ricker