More unions, not fewer, needed today

Unions in B.C.

Re: The value of unions is waning (Comment, June 17)

I believe name-calling is disrespectful and non-productive in that it generally discourages productive dialogue. I’ll also add that your columns are flavoured with a strong streak of disrespect and challenge, so the name-calling is not much of a surprise. Freedom of the press brings with it a responsibility to present opinions from an informed perspective. Thus, I’d like to focus on the content of your column, which I experienced as narrow in scope and somewhat misleading in its assumptions.

First, I am not a union member but a small-business owner here in Victoria. As our world has become increasingly focused on the bottom line, I see a growing and important role for organized labour. Your column seems to suggest that because many or most workers do not have the protection and advantages of collective bargaining that those that do are somehow undeserving or unworthy. You also directly suggest that unionized workers are not as hardworking as most other workers. I challenge both of these claims and can see why they’d raise the hackles of many readers.

I believe every worker deserves employment that pays a living wage, has some form of pension plan, and has some degree of security. The fact that many do not have this, for me, speaks directly to why we need more, rather than fewer, unions in our society. As capital has become more mobile over time, the pressure to diminish wages and benefits has heightened worldwide. Unions, bringing the power of collective action, are a necessary balance and check to this trend.

Perhaps your articles express your real personal beliefs or perhaps you see your writing style as part of the journalistic tradition. Either way I’d like to recommend that you do your research and homework before putting your fingers on the keyboard. What our world needs most to address the many global challenges we currently face is respectful, informed, and open dialogue. As a journalist you are a leader in that forum and I’d encourage you take up the challenge and raise the quality of conversation.

Brian Frank

Victoria