Canada vs. unions

This week, two major infrastructure organizations in Canada are on strike. Both Air Canada and Canada Post are not functioning as usual because their unions want more money and better benefits. This happens with just about every union at some point, but in this case, the federal government has said they will legislate them back to work. In Air Canada’s case, they made this statement before there were any serious disruptions to service. This raises the important question about the future of unions in Canada, since the government has essentially taken out their main weapon before they were really able to use it.

Although there are some legal issues raised with such a quick move to send them back to work, I think the government is right in this case. Unions are not good for everyone. They are good for some workers in the union, particularly those that are lazy and want to work less hard but make more money than they otherwise would. However, for everyone else in society, including business and the majority of people that operate in the free market, unions are more of a burden on the economy and society than a benefit to them. They contribute to large companies going bankrupt and not being able to compete with foreign companies. They encourage poorer quality and inefficiency. They also make products and services more expensive to buy due to the higher wages and inefficient labour force.

In many cases, industries, economies and societies in Canada (really, most Western nations) would be better off without unions. I don’t want to say in all cases because there may be very few exceptions, but for the most part unions are no good. I understand that unions are an important aspect to the founding of Canada and the United States, but that was then. Today, our societies have advanced to the point where most unions do more harm than good.

The government should consider banning most unions in order to make Canada more productive (a growing problem in this country) and improve the overall economy. The time for unions has largely passed.