Unions improve standard of living

Re: the letter “Taxpayers’ beef with union, not workers” by Elvena Slump.

Trade unions, although not perfect, have tried over the years to improve the standard of living for everyone, not just everyone in their union, but everyone. When a united body of people (or a union) set out to bargain for something better then what they previously had, their movement is twofold. The first purpose is fairly obvious and straightforward. It is to improve the benefits (working conditions, pay, etc) for their members. The second purpose and one that has a far more powerful effect, is the one that could set a standard of living at a global level. It is the “measure up” idea. This one has far-reaching consequences that says to other employers, cities and hopefully other countries, that they have to do more, they have to try harder and set a better standard of living for the people around them.

Over the years unions and managers alike have struggled with right verses wrong and fair verses excessive when it came to dealing with wages, benefits and public opinion. Unions played a very important role in building this country, and although they are not perfect (as none of us are) they do care and for the most part they do try to make a positive difference. We as a society and a community must be careful when we attack our past roots, because our past has made us who and what we are today.

No one in the recent negotiations between the city and CUPE is the big bad guy, they are just a group of people much like you and I and every other average citizen just trying to do what they feel is best for themselves and the community at large.

We should not be so quick to judge something that we may not have all the facts about and something that we may not clearly understand. Unions and management are made up of average everyday citizens and clearly deserve some respect and understanding for whatever part they play in their work, this community and our collective attempt to make a better tomorrow.

Kevin Andrews