Opinion: Could Bill C-377 expose the darker side of union activities?

Under proposed legislation in Ottawa (Bill C-377) unions would be forced to publicly disclose details of their spending. They’ve never had to go public with such information before.

Conservative MP Russ Hiebert’s private member’s bill, now before the Senate for second reading, would force unions to disclose their officials’ salaries (over $100,000) and any spending above $5,000. The information would be posted on a publicly-accessible website of the Canada Revenue Agency.

Stephen Harper’s government wants to see this “anti-union” legislation speed through the Senate.

Obviously the bill has big unions increasingly worried. The Canadian Labour Congress has mounted a full-bore campaign to block it.

I have to ask, why would they do this, if for no other reason than they are afraid of what this public transparency will disclose about their activities?

Labour codes in most provinces already require unions to disclose financial information to their members.  The new bill argues that the public, as well as the rank and file, deserves access to the same information.

Labour Watch, an information service of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, says that “83% of working Canadians… 84% of currently (unionized) and 89% of formerly unionized… want financial disclosure laws” in spite of the “campaign by union leaders to keep their tax-free billions hidden.”

From the union side, UFCW (“Canada’s Private Sector Union” – formerly known as the United Food and Commercial Workers) says, “We must elect politicians and government who are dedicated to serving a FREE and democratic society.”

Well, I ask, how can we have a “free and democratic society” if politicians are only put there to serve unions’ interests? What about us non-union workers? Do we not have rights?

FREE according to my dictionary means: someone independent, someone who enjoys personal rights. I thought you lost all these things once you became part of the rank and file!

As self-employed and small-business home renovation contractors, let’s continue to be independent operators and exercise our personal rights!

Do you think Bill C-377 should come into law?

What do you say?

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