Bill C-377, the notorious anti-union “financial transparency” private members legislation tabled by Conservative MP Russ Hiebert, will be debated in the Senate this week. What’s interesting is that Tory Senators in particular, notably Hugh Segal, have been the most critical of the bill. Jim Stanford, the CAW’s economist, has been lobbying extensively against 377 on behalf of workers and organized labour, and has written a number of excellent pieces on the political dimension of the process, most recently in the Progressive Economics Forum. You can find Stanford’s speaking notes to the Senate committee on the site as well. Just recently the Senate committee that has been investigating 377 released a damning report on the legislation.
Lou Serafini Jr., President and CEO of Fengate Capital Management, an investment firm, also spoke out against the extraordinary privacy implications of 377, and how the legislation would compromise competitive information. Remember, unions have multi-billion dollar relationships with banks, health care companies, investment firms, etc., that manage their benefit and retirement plans. Sean Tucker and Andrew Stevens, two business faculty members at the University of Regina, wrote an article in the National Post addressing what the logic of 377 could mean for private enterprises that receive any sort of tax benefit or credit.
Save for the real authors of 377, likely Terrance Oakey of Merit Contractors or John Mortimer with Labour Watch (both of whom represent business interests exclusively and have no ties to unionized workplace, industries, or workers) there are few supporters of the bill. This is an ideological battle through and through. Meanwhile, economists, business people, privacy experts, legal experts, as well as trade unions and their members, have spoken out against Hiebert’s legislation.
It’s time to tell the Senate that 377 is bad for workers, it’s bad for unions, and it’s bad for business. A full list of Senators can be found here. The UFCW has even set up a handy form letter on their website, so check it out.