Trade unions looking at options in face of challenges

Unions should use collective bargaining to tackle socio-economic issues: Expert
By Danielle Harder
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 02/06/2012

With the lockout at Electro-Motive Diesel in London, Ont. passing the one month mark, Toronto outside workers and the city still far from settling their dispute, and public-sector unions in several provinces anticipating difficult negotiations, people both inside and outside the union movement say it’s time for unions to rethink old strategies.

Unions have been weakened by a lack of solidarity over the past couple of decades, says Pradeep Kumar, a labour relations expert at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.

“Raiding,” political disagreements and rivalries — especially between private and public-sector workers — have left trade unions without a lot of clout, he says.