E-letter: Who’s the boss?


The first day of school in B.C. was greeted with an all-too-familiar threat. The children would be held hostage to the demands of a public-sector labour union.

I propose it is time to take a sober look at what these unions mean, how they arrived where they are and what they hold for us in the future. Clearly, a topic of that weight would require a book, but we can gather a few facts.

Kerry Knudsen
Kerry Knudsen

We know what the unions say about where they came from. For the record, I do not believe them, but, for the sake of argument, let’s accept they were “necessary” to protect the innocent, abused and neglected workers from the rapacious, slave-driving, predatory grasp of the robber-baron business owners.

In that case, who are the rapacious predators against whom the public-sector unions fight? The only answer in a democracy is that they are designed to fight the public: me, you and the parents of those children. And the fight is serious, as the point of attack is clearly intended to devalue the education, the competitiveness, the success and the independence of the children. This, to me, is a mortal strike, as our kids are truly the only resource we have that has lasting value. We have existed as a race without oil, without gold and without unions. We will not exist without our youth and our independence.

But let’s back up. Onlookers would normally guess that the unions, before they would take the draconian step of withholding children’s educations, must have a very substantial and desperate need. After all, the benefit must be worth the cost.


So far, I have not heard, exactly, what offence of society has caused this mortal strike at our children and our future. My grandmother was a teacher, and much of her “salary” was room-and-board. She taught the generation that won WWII, so it’s hard to argue the children suffered.

Today, teachers’ unions control stock markets, while their members maintain multiple residences and have their pensions indexed to cost of living. Since unions are so enamoured of studies, I wonder if we could discover how many B.C. teachers have two residences. Conversely, I wonder how many of our readers have pensions, at all, let alone pensions guaranteed to expand to fit the economy.

Don’t get me wrong. I think having a cottage is great. If Dad had been a robber-baron predator, maybe we could have had one. But no, he was a social worker. Back then, if you wanted to help people, you became a social worker or a teacher. If you wanted to prey on society, you became a lawyer or sold luxury goods. It was a matter of choice.

In Canada, all, or almost all, of our public-sector employees are unionized. Following the protocol, that means you, the public, the employer of the sector, are the “enemy” of the police, the Ministry of Everything, the health-care workers, and Canada Post. When there is a “job action,” that action must be designed to hurt you.

As an aside, I don’t know whether Canada Post is public-sector or not. They say they are when it’s convenient, and not when it’s not. Actually, I think Canada Post is an example of a Big Business owned and run by a union.


A few years ago, Canada Post demonstrated it can kill small businesses (really itty-bitty predators, scarcely powerful enough to put the rap back in rapacious) that rely on the mail. These would include the little, local guy that prints and sends pizza coupons, any mail-order garden company and most small businesses that get their invoices paid by mail and need cash flow to survive. In this case, you may be pardoned if you mix up who is the predator and who, in the union view, is the prey. The predator, you will recall, is you.

I was listening to the radio in the States in August, and I heard a bit about the immigration-judges’ union. Say what?!!! Judges are unionized? If so, it would be very hard to draw out the paradigm that defines democracy, would it not? I mean, what if you were in a legal dispute as an employer against an employee, and the judge was on a “job action,” along with the bailiff and the police? In that case, you would be lucky to avoid wearing made-in-China handcuffs.

What if we instituted a new public-sector union, and just called it the Prime Minister’s Union? That way EVERBODY would be the enemy of the PM. Not good.

However, we could institute a PMU to include close associates and associations, just to be sure there was a substantial membership. Of course, then the PM would be Your Highness, his Cabinet would be the Court, the associated unions would be the nobility, the “rapacious” businessmen would either offer fealty or be serfs and the system would be called feudal.

Already the public-sector unions have a problem with accountability, they hold our infrastructure, our government, our finances and our children hostage both visibly and regularly and they simply cannot point to a fundamental cause for their actions. If you do the research, the most-often-cited rationale is what they call Justice. They want us to believe they are being treated unjustly.

A fair question for the unions would be, where does this end? When will you stop? When will you have what you want?

I think there is no end, no sufficiency and no peace, and I will offer two pages with up to 1,500 words for them to explain themselves. I think they are not looking for justice, and I think the appearance of Guy Fawkes masks at so many of the union-sponsored events is a warning. Fawkes, as you know, was not a friendly, vagabond ruffian looking for a new or second cottage. He loaded a chamber beneath England’s House of Lords with gunpowder and endeavoured to set it off, with the object of killing the king and government and destroying the existing law of England.

Harsh words? Yup. I like kids. If the unions like kids, I think they should be compelled to demonstrate it. Compelled. As in, by Law. That is, if you can find a judge to order it. How can they control education, stock markets and the mail?

For that matter, our MPs should answer, as well. Upon what grounds do public sector unions exist? What is their raison d’être? What are the absolute, never-to-be-exceeded limits on their demands? In the manner of Medea, they have already taken our kids.

A reasonable question to ask your MP would be, what, if anything, can be done to stop the rapacious, predatory advance of the public-sector unions? If he or she says, “nothing,” you have your answer. If he or she says, “not much, they are already very powerful,” then you have an answer, as well.


  • Great piece on Unions. I have been asking these same questions for
    decades here in USA without a single good answer. If you really want it
    to be interesting pose them to a union member and find out just how
    little they know or care.

    Dane Floyd

  • I Have children that had been affected by the teachers strike in BC and I
    have not seen any harm brought to them and they by no means had been
    hostages. All people have the right to negotiate in this country whether
    it is as individuals or unions. They will always ask for more. Why is
    this a problem with you? It’s no more wrong than a company or
    corporation expecting to make profit. We all need one another for a
    healthy economy. The major point that held up the negotiations between
    teachers and the province had been the appeal by the government of BC
    over the ruling that they had broken the law several years ago. The
    simple fact is, labour and unions are a part of a capitalistic and
    democratic society and I hope that never changes. If that right is
    remove, then we are no better than the countries we denounce for lack of
    rights for their own citizens.

    Eric Gabara,

    Non-union business owner.