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Stephen





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
Posts: 645
Reputation: 72.9
votes: 5
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 4:46 pm    Post subject: Union Disclosure in Canada and the United States Reply with quote

Download the report here (PDF)

From the Fraser Institute's website:

Quote:
Executive Summary: In 2005, labour relations laws regulated 32.0 percent of workforce in Canada and 13.7 percent of workers in the United States. Numerous studies have examined aspects of labour relations laws, such as certification, decertification, and union security laws, and their effects on the labour market. However, very few have focused on union disclosure requirements.

Disclosure laws regulate the quality and quantity of financial information that affected organizations must make public. Public disclosure of this information allows interested parties to guage the financial health and performance of organizations. In addition, the accordant transparency that comes from disclosure serves to improve the governance of organizations.

Union transparency is important for two reasons. First, transparency enables workers to make more informed decisions about their preference for collective representation. Second, transparency leads to and is essential for accountability. Disclosing financial information publicly allows workers and interested parties alike to determine the appropriateness, effectiveness, and efficacy of union spending.


Discuss!
FF_Canuck





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
Posts: 3360
Reputation: 73.4
votes: 17
Location: Southern Alberta

PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's no way the progs would let this go through - too many heads would roll.
kwlafayette





Joined: 03 Sep 2006
Posts: 6155
Reputation: 156.2Reputation: 156.2
votes: 28
Location: Saskatoon Saskatchewan

PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How much money to unions deal with? I know they are big business, just the Ontario teachers pension plan is $19 billion or so. Are the union books really secret in Canada?

PS. I wonder if the membership would be happy if it turns out Ford is laying people off, and millions are being spent by the union bosses boycotting Israel? Just a hypothetical, rhetorical, silly question.
Donald Hughes





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
Posts: 166
Reputation: 16.2Reputation: 16.2
Location: Libertarian socialism

PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that unions need to be much more transparent, open and subject to democratic control. As corporations should be.
FF_Canuck





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
Posts: 3360
Reputation: 73.4
votes: 17
Location: Southern Alberta

PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AFAIK, corporations in most western nations are required by law to open their books to government officals and shareholders, and they're certainly accountable to both if they fail to do so or try to 'cook the books'.

It probably wouldn't take me too long to find out how Canadian Tire is spending it's cash - CAW on the other hand, would likely be impossible.
Mac





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
Posts: 5500
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votes: 35
Location: John Baird's riding...

PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suspect unions would fight to the death to avoid transparency.

One area which would be very nice to deal with is the political activity of unions, especially during elections. During our most recent provincial election here in BC, there was more advertising by unions than all political parties put together. Overwhelmingly negative advertising since they carefully didn't endorse any particular party, just slagged the incumbent party. Politics is polarized enough. Do we need unelected third parties stirring the pot too?

-Mac
MKT





Joined: 03 Sep 2006
Posts: 4
Reputation: 12.9
Location: Kingston, ON

PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know Conservatives and unions are supposed to be mortal enemies and all, however, suggesting that any private organization has to adhere to some kind of standard is not necessarily the best way to go about it. Obviously, accountability and transparency should be important to union members and they do have AGMs and the like where they can suggest these things.

But any steps taken to regulate the behaviour of unions and force them to be judged as if they were government entities moves them from the realm of the private and into the public as we saw happen with political parties with the new accountability measures in the past couple of parliaments. This is not ideal.

Unions are private organizations who should be accountable to their members but there is no reason for them to be accountable to anyone else.
Peter





Joined: 03 Sep 2006
Posts: 29
Reputation: 13.4

PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MKT wrote:
I know Conservatives and unions are supposed to be mortal enemies and all, however, suggesting that any private organization has to adhere to some kind of standard is not necessarily the best way to go about it. Obviously, accountability and transparency should be important to union members and they do have AGMs and the like where they can suggest these things.

But any steps taken to regulate the behaviour of unions and force them to be judged as if they were government entities moves them from the realm of the private and into the public as we saw happen with political parties with the new accountability measures in the past couple of parliaments. This is not ideal.

Unions are private organizations who should be accountable to their members but there is no reason for them to be accountable to anyone else.


Problem is that Unions are given special priviledges to make monopolistic bargaining agreements. Other organizations are not allowed to do that. If Unions are given no more government power than a corporation then it would be fine to let them close their books. But as long as the government has anti-scab legislation and respects "union rights" then they should have public books.
gebhartj





Joined: 21 Sep 2006
Posts: 31
Reputation: 31Reputation: 31Reputation: 31

PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter wrote:
MKT wrote:
I know Conservatives and unions are supposed to be mortal enemies and all, however, suggesting that any private organization has to adhere to some kind of standard is not necessarily the best way to go about it. Obviously, accountability and transparency should be important to union members and they do have AGMs and the like where they can suggest these things.

But any steps taken to regulate the behaviour of unions and force them to be judged as if they were government entities moves them from the realm of the private and into the public as we saw happen with political parties with the new accountability measures in the past couple of parliaments. This is not ideal.

Unions are private organizations who should be accountable to their members but there is no reason for them to be accountable to anyone else.


Problem is that Unions are given special priviledges to make monopolistic bargaining agreements. Other organizations are not allowed to do that. If Unions are given no more government power than a corporation then it would be fine to let them close their books. But as long as the government has anti-scab legislation and respects "union rights" then they should have public books.


Peter, why is it assumed that the solution should be more regulation (ie. make Unions open their books), rather than less (take the power away from the unions)?

Personally, I feel that its the role of the membership of any organization to keep that organization accountable. Only when there is some overriding interest should the state become involved in the operations of private organizations.
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Union Disclosure in Canada and the United States

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