The CHP is pleased to see Canada’s auto parts giant, Magna, and the Canadian Auto Workers’ union collaborating on a labour relations agreement that can provide a much-needed platform for industrial stability and growth.
Both entrepreneur Frank Stronach and CAW leader Buzz Hargrove have seen the benefits of the proposed “Framework of Fairness” plan-which bears an amazing similarity to a plan for federal labour peace proposed ten years ago by the CHP’s first National Leader, Ed Vanwoudenberg.
At its heart is the preservation of free collective bargaining, but the strike and lockout weapons are replaced by a commitment to arbitration as the last resort.
Unfortunately, old-time socialist leaders like Ed Broadbent, and some of the more hard-nosed union leadership, like Local 88 of the CAW, are fighting Mr. Hargrove’s creativity and flexibility tooth and nail: apparently they prefer the bare-knuckles confrontation of the past. But history has passed them by, and the global failure of socialism is evident everywhere.
Socialists decry confrontations with immoral governments like Amedinejad’s Iran, but they want to retain the industrial confrontation that gave them clout in the past.
Mr. Stronach has long fought against union membership in his company’s plants, preferring a free-market approach of giving workers, in advance, benefits equal to what strike action might win. But he has also seen the benefits that some overseas competitors (e.g., Japan, Sweden) have reaped from a collaborative approach to labour relations: the expertise of the shop-floor has a lot to offer enlightened management.
The old days of Taylorite “scientific management”-reducing tasks to their simplest reproducible units and using minimally-trained workers to do them-have given way to a collaborative style that is the way of the future. In recognizing that fact, and making provision for it, Mssrs. Stronach and Hargrove have taken a step equal in importance to Henry Ford’s famous $5-a-day pay scale.
It is to be hoped that regressive elements in the union movement don’t succeed in derailing this bold initiative.