Changes in laws thanks to pressure from unions

Mr. Smithson wrote on March 27 (Advice to Unions: Think Smaller) that unions may have “paved the way for their own irrelevance.”

To the editor:

Mr. Smithson wrote on March 27 (Advice to Unions: Think Smaller, Capital News) that unions may have “paved the way for their own irrelevance” by the role their previous activism has played in the legislative improvements within the province and Canada. He referenced various Acts that are in place.

I find myself struggling with having to agree with Mr. Smithson but will do so on his one point: Yes, it is due largely to the role that unions have played that we have even minimum standards within our province and indeed within Canada.

The legislative changes he refers to (and numerous others not mentioned) were not brought into place by pressure of corporations, large or small business or free enterprise governments in any of their various permutations. In fact, most of these legislative progressions have been and continue to be opposed by these groups.

One need only look at the BC Employment Standards Act amendments related to child labour (a 12-year-old child can now work full time in B.C.), or the Workers Compensation Act related to disability pensions (they have effectively eliminated loss of function pensions), or the Labour Relations Code to see how easy it is to go backwards.

While the corporate agenda would have us believe that there is no need for unions because of the legislative protection in place, the reality is that those protections are tenuous at best. We must be ever vigilant to maintain and improve upon what are truly minimum standards. (And as Canadians do we not expect better than the minimum?)

No amount of legislation can provide for respectful treatment of people. That is why unions will always exist.  Employers will always look to their employees to take less. Unions will always be there to ensure that while employees may need to settle for less at times, it is not entirely on the backs of workers that Employers maintain their profitability.


Rob Hewitt,

B.C. assistant regional director,


Just Posted

‘Listen to your gut’ urges injured skier

Mike Shaw was told he’d never walk again after an accident four years ago, but he defied the odds

Small grass fire sparks in West Kelowna

Fire crews quickly douse blaze in ditch on Friday afternoon

Kelowna teen allegedly robbed while walking at night

Community asked for tips to help reunite teen with ring

Nasty note on windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

Remembering road crash victims in Kelowna

World Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims takes place Sunday in Kelowna

Flag person struck by car

RCMP investigating incident involving female traffic control person and senior driver

Rockets calm Hurricanes for 7th straight win at home

Dillon Dube scored twice Friday to lead Rockets to WHL victory over Lethbridge

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Guns and drugs seized in Kamloops RCMP blitz

Kamloops Mounties and the gang unit seize drugs and make arrests in two-day blitz

Hammy the deer dodges conservation officers in Prince Rupert

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Interior Health expands meningococcal precautions in South Okanagan

Oliver, Osoyoos and Okanagan Falls included in the expanded precautionary immunization measure

Homeless count returns amid Penticton’s housing crisis

Volunteers are hitting the streets this week to find solid data on Penticton’s homeless population

Missing woman smart, courageous, lovable

Mother says Caitlin Potts trying to overcome foster care experience

Most Read