I start this blog by saying that I don’t think that everyone in a union is a bad person. But I do think that, like some religious institutions, unions are a vehicle for extremely partisan and morally corrupt people to impose their divisive views on society. And these individuals are smart and organized. They make bold statements about how democratic they are. They talk about how they want to participate in a constructive way. But they are, in fact, out to undermine the very values they claim to protect. Don’t be fooled my friends. Unionism is about power, profit and control.
The good news is that they are losing. True democracy WILL win in the end. They can’t possibly hold back the power of the people. Just like the weight of the collective voiced broke down the socialist block in Europe, the truth continues to expose the dishonesty and corruption of the power players in the union movement.
Again, this blog isn’t about the individual people who work in a unionized environment – in so many cases these people don’t have a choice … or voice; it’s about the corruption of the institution itself. And it’s about how the leaders hide behind “principles” to impose their views.
Yesterday at the #pcagm, I had the honor and privilege of witnessing union democracy at its finest. I had spent the entire day at the AGM listening to open discussion, thought sharing, agreement and disagreement. There were so many idea s shared by so many grassroots Albertans. It was engaging, encouraging and exciting. The positive energy was contagious and inspirational.
But the session about elevating employee rights by limiting union dues was a black eye of the conference. It was an absolute disgrace to the conference and a disgrace to true democracy. And it was a clear demonstration of how “union democracy” works. There were a lot of witnesses in that room who spoke to me after the session who could not believe what had happened. The lesson learned is that the PC party is open and democratic and sometimes people try to take advantage of our genuine nature. That stops here! If it’s the last thing I ever do, I will fight to keep my party – the PC party – truly democratic.
I am so proud to belong to an institution where democracy costs five dollars. That’s what it takes to be a PC member. Of course, attending conferences costs money and making political contributions is part of the process. But the cost of belonging to the PC Party of Alberta is very low compared to the forced contribution individuals who work in unionized environments have to make towards supporting their corrupt bosses’ agendas.
I digress …. My previous blogs get into the details of the resolution … this is about “union democracy”
At the policy session yesterday, organized labour showed up to defeat the resolution. I don’t have a problem with them paying and coming to vote against a policy they disagree with. They showed up wearing their union lapel pins proudly displayed on their jackets and that’s ok too. Most of them were only at the conference for a short time and they came only to vote against this resolution. I don’t have a problem with that either.
What I do have a problem with is their dishonest undemocratic tactics. I have a problem with unions deducting wages from their members to support the political agendas of the organizers. And I have a problem with how they bruised the spirit of democracy that so vibrantly shined throughout the rest of the conference.
The pro-union pc “members” who showed up to defeat the resolution got into the room early – they got almost every seat in the room – they were able to get the seats because the other PC members were busy attending previous sessions. The members who came to the entire conference had to stand in the back and along the sides of the room. But they came in droves too! Unfortunately, there were several other sessions happening concurrently so all party members couldn’t be there. If this resolution was presented to the entire conference I am very confident it would have passed without much controversy.
So the room was very full and the energy was tense. The discussion started and the room got loud. By the time closing argument got started, the pro-union pc “members” were yelling “out of order” and “CLAC attack” so loudly that the speaker’s voice was completely silenced. It got completely out of control and the session moderator didn’t do anything to stop it. This is how the voices of dissent are silenced during union meetings – union democracy at its finest! But they still claim to be one of the most democratic institutions in the world.
In fact, the moderator was one of them. I’m not going to expose the moderator’s name because I don’t know him or his involvement in this. I can take a guess and I will be discussing it with the Party. But a person came up to me after the session to tell me he went to talk to the moderator to express his disappointment about how this resolution transpired and noticed he was wearing a union lapel pin! Further investigation confirmed his union affiliation.
That’s the challenge of being a completely open and grassroots democratic party – sometimes you get infiltrated by people who have selfish and impure motivations. You got to give it to union organizers …. They are organized!
The moderator called the last speaker out of order … I would love for him to explain why! He called the question regarding the resolution and the vote took place. I was sitting in the front of the room and was looking back and watching. It looked to me like a close 50/50 split in the room so I called a division. Several other people were calling for a division as well. The pro-union PC members were yelling and making a mockery of the process. I expected the moderator to count the votes – that’s how true democracy takes place and what took place at all of the other sessions. The vote of every person needs to be counted and the voices of the speakers NEED to be heard. It didn’t happen. The moderator said the motion was defeated and that was the end of it.
The resolution was defeated and the pro-union members left the room – they didn’t care to be there for anything else. I watched them walk straight out of the conference centre and leave the AGM.
I’m glad this happened. I’m happy that so many #PCAGM members got to experience “union democracy” at its finest. Especially in light of the real grassroots and organic experience they had during the rest of the conference. It really showed me what it looks like when corrupt individuals abuse democracy to advance their interests. It proved to me that my beliefs about “union democracy” are right!
That’s how I saw it and I really didn’t like it!
For another perspective read the Edmonton Journal Article: Provincial Tories … Pass Resolutions. Thoughts on this particular session start about a third of the way through the article.
I’m expecting a series of predictable responses to this blog from union bosses. But I challenge these individuals to share this blog with ALL union members and let THEM respond. But be transparent about it – don’t share selectively – share it with your entire membership and prove that you did so. Let the true voices be heard. That’s what the #PCAGM was about and that is what democracy is about.
Union members – share your “union democracy” stories with me – I will keep your identity hidden and let your true voice be heard! #PCAGM delegates who attended the session – let me know what you thought about it.
And please don’t get discouraged when we get several pro-union voices calling us out – they are highly organized and strategic and will make sure the voices of union bosses are heard. They won’t share this will all individual members – I’m certain of it. But have a long-term approach when it comes to advancing real democracy. Yesterday’s complete disregard for the process only got me started!