By now, most of you know about the closing of Devlin, Ont.,-based Gingrich Woodcraft, following a vote by employees to unionize the shop last August 17.
Union officials quoted in the media seem to want this to be a matter of law and faith. For example, Stephen Boon, national representative for Unifor, the involved union, said in the Ft. Frances Times, the Devlin-based manufacturer called about 25 employees and fired them without notice.
“It is almost inconceivable that in a country like Canada in 2015, we are dealing with an employer that is willing to take the position that the Constitution and Ontario labour laws somehow do not apply to employees of Mennonite-operated businesses,” said Boon. “Despite the fact that several Mennonite operations across Canada are already unionized, Gingrich management has taken the shocking stance that their ‘faith’ requires employees either remain non-union, and therefore underpaid and exploited, or instead be fired.” he added.
Inconceivable, indeed. I suppose Boon also considers Mennonite Leon Gingrich a liar because he claims his faith prevents him from working with unions. I can’t say anything about Gingrich’s personal faith. I do, however, note that Boon points to other “Mennonite-operated businesses” that have knelt before the throne of labour as an example of what is required of Gingrich.
But let’s not try this one in the press. I would rather look at Unifor. You may recall in 2012 I wrote an e-letter reporting on the impending formation of a new, mega-union in Canada that would comprise all the resources of two of Canada’s already-strongest unions. In Unifor’s own words: “Unifor was officially formed on August 31, 2013…. It marked the coming together of the Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW) and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP).”
You heard that right: communications. As in the press.
Unifor further goes on to say, “We are committed to building the strongest and most effective union to bargain on behalf of our members, working with our members to improve their rights in the workplace, and extending the benefits of unions to non-unionized workers and other interested Canadians.”
You can read into that whatever you like.
Wood Industry also exposed the union presence on the board of the Wood Manufacturing Council and warned of its implications to the industry.
Boon says, “We often read about bully companies in Third World countries willing to crush union organizing drives to eliminate dissent and keep wages low.”
Well, maybe we need to read about bully unions. The way I read it, 25 bullies got a club together and went to beat on Gingrich. He shut the door. Is Boon really saying that 25 disaffected workers can force a man to work for no reason other than to pay them? I call that slavery.
But let’s look at that “keep wages low” clause. It’s in the chart at left. Have your employees’ wages increased 16 percent since 2008? Have yours? Can you increase wages 16 percent and stay in business? Unions tend to think they can see past balance sheets and costs. I think we can see past union dogma, and I think we can report on what we see.
This is the 10th anniversary issue of Wood Industry. I cannot say in words how much we have appreciated and loved working with each of you, in every corner of Canada, and I cannot express how much your letters and calls have meant.
I don’t have much to offer in return, except this. I promise to continue to provide the secondary wood-products industry in Canada with the highest standards, the most research, the best writing and the fairest information in North America.
And, God willing, we will do it for the next 10 years.