“There was a big guy standing in the parking lot. He blocked my way into the building and wouldn’t let me past till he handed me a pamphlet and ranted about our union.”
“Don’t worry about it. He’s just trying to scare you into joining his union. They’re freaking out because their members are leaving.”
Unfortunately, such incidents are becoming more common as unions affiliated with the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) desperately try to stop the steady erosion of their membership. Over the past thirty years, Old Labour unions have lost almost forty percent of their membership. They’re fighting back the only way they know how—by using old-school intimidation tactics.
Apparently, improving representation and member services hasn’t occurred to them.
It’s not just unions such as SEIU that are desperate to stop the bleeding. Traditional healthcare unions are also facing increasing competition from industrial unions such as CAW, which are confronted with declining membership as jobs move offshore or down south. These unions are looking for members whose jobs can’t be outsourced or moved.
Whether it’s CAW, SEIU, or any one of a number of other OFL-affiliated unions, if healthcare workers were unhappy because their phone calls went unanswered or they never saw their rep, they used to have very few options. When they called other unions to see about switching, they couldn’t get help because OFL-affiliated unions are not allowed to raid members from each other.