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Phoenix: PSAC chief’s ‘don’t forgive’ argument weakens union

Robyn Benson’s charge to her members over the payroll debacle is at the heart of why unions in Canada are in decline.


by Brian Dijkema
May 11, 2017

Call me a pious prig for saying it, but Public Service Alliance of Canada national president Robyn Benson’s charge to her members over the Phoenix payroll debacle, “Don’t forgive them, and don’t forget,” is at the heart of why unions in Canada are in decline.

This might seem counterintuitive. Union density in the public sector actually grew from 70.4 per cent to 71.3 per cent from 1999 to 2014, bucking the wider trend. And PSAC is both the biggest union in the Canadian federal sector and, as of 2015, the sixth-largest union in the country. On the face of it, PSAC is a big, strong, growing union. Isn’t it a model for growth?

It would be, but only if you believe a union’s overall vitality is drawn from its ability to fight with political or financial force. But if you see the source of vitality in the force it receives from a membership united behind a moral vision of work and of justice in the workplace, then statements such as Benson’s might ultimately weaken the union, even if it provides a frisson of strength.

To read the full article see the original post by The Hill Times, May 10, 2017.

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Work & Economics