Unions Essay Research Paper P1 2 — страница 3

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Cynthia Wiggins, “Death by 1000 cuts: Public services in peril,” CLC Today, 1992 February issue, P.5 P.8 to survive during a tough economy is to cut back on educational spending. “Some people believe that the government is heading towards the privatization of education. Education is considered to be a basic human right. The necessary educational programmes and funding must be put in place to encourage lifelong learning.”10 However, insufficient funding is being spent on education by the federal government. The labour unions keep protesting the retrenchment strategy on education. Knowledge means wealth to the country. If the workers are not well educated, they may produce poor quality goods. As a result, the country will lose its competitiveness in the world market.

Similarly, the same theory can be applied to Canada. “If the retrenchment strategy continues, the public will cry out against paying taxes for insufficient government services. Labour unions continue to be concerned about the budget provided for education.”11 10 Riane Mahon, Canadian Labour In The Battle Of The Eighties, Canadian Labour Congress, Quebec, 1983, P.168-169 11 Riane Mahon, Canadian Labour In The Battle Of The Eighties, Canadian Labour Congress, Quebec, 1983, P.171P.9 INVESTMENTS AND ECONOMY Investments are closely related to a country’s economy. Investment is defined as a property or other possession acquired or invested in for future income or benefit. Unions also establish funds to invest in business. Usually, the local union invests the fund in a business

located in the same area. Each union uses the fund to promote the economy if possible. Examples are provided in a newspaper called CLC Today (February 1992 issue). The worker-owned Solidarity Fund in Quebec recorded its best year in 1991. The return on investment was 13.04% for the year ending October 31. The cost of shares sold to workers in 1984 was only $10 per share. But it has increased to $14.80 per share recently. Most of the shareholders are members of the Quebec Federation of Labour. Fund managers have invested more than $245 million in Quebec in the past seven years. They estimate that 23,000 jobs have been created or saved as a result. Another example is provided by unions in British Columbia. Government, labour and business in B.C. are establishing an investment fund

for the province’s working people. The Working Opportunity Fund will be used to invest money in small and medium-sized B.C. businesses to help diversify the province’s resource-based economy. The government is going to contribute $600,000 in start-up money and a $2 million loan guarantee. These examples illustrate the importance of unions in the Canadian economy.P.10 ECONOMIC UNION “Canadians have greatly benefited from close economic integration. Canada’s economic and political union which allows Canadians to live and grow together in a common land, has generated economic gain for all Canadians. After the post war period, Canada had one of the world’s fastest growing economies. The reason is that the Canadian economy is flexible in adapting to change.”12 However,

Canada, like other countries, is facing both internal and external economic challenges. By examining chart B (provided at the end of report), it can be seen that there has been a dramatic change in the distribution of world exports in the past 18 years. Overall, exports in many countries areas are decreasing. Much of the decrease has been absorbed by Asia. Asia is the only area that has increased its world exports. This could mean that Asia will be the leading export area in the future. This is one of the external problems Canada is facing. “Therefore, economic union is being set up to enhance the economy of Canada. Two key factors are: i) a high degree of economic integration 2) an advanced degree of political integration.”13 Economic and political integration go hand in

hand 12 James Cronin, Work, Community and Power, Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1983, pp 215-217 13 Solomon Barkin, Worker Militancy And Its Consequences, Praeger, New York, 1983, P.330P.11 because, to maintain a high level of economic integration, each party of the economic association must be able to modify its policies. Economic union with political integration also provides the structural basis for the sharing of income. The facets of economic union that facilitate the relatively free flow of people, goods, services and capital have had an enormous impact not only on the structure of economic activity in Canada, but also in raising Canadians’ incomes. Economic union raises productivity and incomes by making available a much larger market for producers in all