TO BUILD LABOUR POWER IN THE 21st CENTURY
The eleven resolutions of the Action Agenda were meant to cover issues where new challenges are emerging for the labour movement. They were all incorporated in either the position papers or resolutions endorsed by the Canadian Labour Congress Convention. Below are the results – now it is up to leaders and activists across Canada to help turn them into reality.
CARD-CHECK CERTIFICATION – Adopted with minor amendment
The CLC will: co-ordinate a country wide campaign to restore card-check certification as the standard process for workers to achieve unionization in every province and territory in Canada. This campaign will involve affiliates, federations of labour, labour councils and community allies, with the dedicated resources needed to effectively mobilize in workplaces and communities to attain this crucial goal.
Because the level of unionization among Canadian workers is spiraling downwards, and workers need unions to protect their rights and raise standards in every sector of the economy, and
Because employers use the time before a mandatory workplace vote to instill a climate of fear and intimidation which effectively denies workers their democratic rights, and
Because the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights clearly spells out the right to have unions as a fundamental human right
ORGANIZING – Included in Composite Resolution
The CLC will: set a goal of organizing one million unrepresented workers over the next decade, starting with establishing a task force of union organizing directors to consider the best experiences in sector-wide and community based organizing, and what structures should be created within our movement to ensure that adequate resources and leadership are devoted to this essential task.
Because the changing nature of work and the impact of globalization has made organizing much more difficult, and our movement does not have a comprehensive strategy to engage in the kind of mass organizing needed to break through in key sectors, and
Because there are important lessons to learn from recent campaigns such as Hotel Workers Rising and Minimum Wage struggles, including disciplined member-to-member organizing, and the need for strong alliances with community activists which will be essential to succeed in the 21st century.
MADE IN CANADA MATTERS – Included in Composite Resolution
The CLC will undertake a campaign to ensure Canadian procurement policies are adopted by all provinces, municipalities and other public institutions. The first phase of this campaign will target majority Canadian content for all transit vehicles and the second phase will highlight furniture, workwear, paper products and other key material they purchase.
Because billions of dollars are spent on public expenditures every year, and this should represent an investment in Canadian jobs and communities instead of allowing suppliers to substitute products from out of the country, and
Because: nearly every other country in the world has a conscious procurement policy that favours local production, yet Canadian politicians and bureaucrats seem to believe that support for our manufacturing sector is not in their mandate, and this will only be corrected by a rigorous effort from the labour movement across Canada
UNFAIR TRADE AND INTEGRATION – Included in Composite Resolution
The CLC will mobilize to demand the renegotiation of unfair trade deals that destroy jobs and threaten the future of Canada’s sovereignty, and to oppose the continental integration agenda of corporate Canada.
Because the impact of NAFTA and WTO trade regimes has decimated manufacturing in communities across the country, and we see a steady increase in raw materials being shipped out of Canada to be processed elsewhere instead of creating jobs in local communities, and
Because the business lobby is continuing to pursue an integration agenda that will put all our resources in the hands of either U.S. politicians or multinational corporations, and tie future generations to an economy that is moving steadily into crisis.
TEMPORARY AGENCIES – Included in Composite Resolution
The CLC will work with affiliates, federations of labour and community allies to develop a long-term strategy to confront and restrict the use of temporary agencies and temporary status employees, as well as other forms of precarious employment, in every sector of the economy
Because the explosion of temporary agencies has become a defining feature of work in recent years, with many companies now filling their workforce needs with temps instead of steady employees, and
Because agency workers lose a large percentage of their incomes that are directed to the agencies instead of their paycheques, and have no legal attachment to the real employer, while companies avoid obligations to workers legitimate rights such as health and safety or collective bargaining, and
Because many companies are improperly classifying workers as independent contractors in order to avoid Workers Compensation, taxes, and unionization
MINIMUM WAGE – Adopted
The CLC will work with affiliates, federations of labour, labour councils and community allies to support on-going campaigns in every province to raise the minimum wage above the poverty line.
Because over a million people in Canada work for less than $10 an hour, which was widely accepted as the threshold of poverty wages in 2006, yet many are employed by huge multinational corporations such as Wal-Mart or McDonalds, and
Because government poverty reduction programs ignore the essential fact that poverty relates directly to low wages, and the fact that minimum wage levels have fallen far behind inflation
Because the recent Minimum Wage campaigns in Ontario and British Columbia have resulted in a new appreciation by community leaders, non-union workers, youth and immigrants, of the essential role that unions play in helping all working people.
PRIVATIZATION – Included in Composite Resolution
The CLC will work to expose and oppose privatization and public-private partnerships which threaten to undermine and erode public services, public assets and public accountability within our society,
Because experience around the world has clearly shown that P3’s cost more and deliver less to the public, and usually result in poorer incomes and working conditions for frontline workers, as well as off-shoring of purchases of material such as transit vehicles and basic machinery, and
Because the promise of P3’s being “off-book” for government debt is an illusion, and Because the federal government and many provincial governments are aggressively promoting P3’s, and attempting to tie infrastructure funding to P3 contracts for regions and municipalities.
GREEN JOBS – Included in Composite Resolution
The CLC will make a priority of developing a green jobs strategy for key sectors of the economy, building on the Green Jobs Project first adopted at the 1999 convention.
Because there is clearly a pressing need for action to address the crisis of climate change and environmental degradation, but this must also be linked to the creation of thousands of jobs in energy retrofit, alternative energy generation, green manufacturing, and local processing of resources, and
Because while corporate and political leaders are finally speaking about the need for action, the Green Jobs Project if implemented effectively would help to realize the potential for labour to play a key leadership role in advocating for strong environmental solutions and just transition
EQUITY – Included in Composite Resolution
The CLC will work with affiliates, federations, labour councils and community allies to build a strong practice of equity and inclusion at all levels of the labour movement in Canada.
Because the labour movement recognizes the need for a strong commitment challenging racism and discrimination in any form, and
Because the changing reality of Canadian society means that our unions must endeavour to reflect the full diversity of the workforce if we are to be effective in advocacy, representation or organizing, and
Because the practice of equity and inclusion requires a tremendous commitment by those at every level of leadership to constantly learn, to reach out to members who may feel disengaged, and to be willing to share power
PEACE – Included in Composite Resolution
The Canadian Labour Congress will call for an end to the war in Afghanistan and continue to work with partners in the Canadian Peace Alliance to educate Canadians about the war.
Because the Government of Canada has committed the Canadian forces to continue to fight in Afghanistan until 2009 with a possible extension until 2011, against the wishes of the majority of Canadians;
Because the Government of Canada is using the war in Afghanistan to justify huge increases in military spending to a total of $18 billion by 2010;
Because that $18 billion would best be used funding health care, education, job creation and social services in Canada;
Because the actions of the US-led NATO occupation is increasing the violence in Afghanistan with more than 78 Canadian soldiers and thousands of Afghan civilians killed;
aLABOUR COUNCILS – Covered by Task Force Resolution
The Canadian Labour Congress will actively engage its affiliates in a rigorous process of strengthening the capacity of Labour Councils across the country to undertake the sustained grass-roots organizing needed to rebuild labour’s political power at the local level, and will ensure that Labour Councils have adequate funding for this essential task
Because Labour Councils are the basic expression of labour solidarity in our communities, uniting activists across sectors in common efforts to strengthen public services, defend our schools, promote decent jobs and fight for a better quality of life for all working people
Because too many unions allow their locals to opt in or out of affiliation – yet would never allow such a voluntary dues choice for their members – resulting in fewer resources being available to undertake key campaigns for our movement.