Aviation In Canada

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Air Canada Boeings (Not!)

While I prepare the strips for doing my example of stripmarking and the progression (due to the scanning and writing, this will take a little time to put together and I'm in the middle of a work week, so my time is limited), I thought I'd make a brief comment for those who don't already know about the Air Canada/Boeing deal. It's dead. The union rejected the proposal, and the order, sadly, has died. According to one comment from my earlier post about this, the Globe and Mail quoted some union member as saying, "The goal is to redress and correct the inequities of the past four years. Vote No so we can rectify this travesty."

The comment posted asked me, while seeming impatient and a bit angry with the union and their tactic, "How did scuttling the Boeing deal help their cause?" I can't offer an answer to this. Here is what I can say. Remember that we don't have all the information. We don't know even one side of the story, let alone both sides. People don't do things that are out and out stupid without reasons. Heck, even a serial killer does what he does because he thinks its right. It's not until you listen to his reasons until you see why he is doing it. It doesn't make it right, but at least you can understand. Same thing here: Maybe there is something gained on their side with the company. I can't see what it could possibly be, but that doesn't mean there wasn't something achieved. The newspaper doesn't do investigative reporting, they just report the basic fact: "The union killed the deal."

Personally, I don't think unions have outlived their usefulness at all. For many, the union is the only defence the workers have when their employer tries to stir up crap. Unfortunately, too many companies do try to pull stuff they shouldn't do, and even have no right to do based on contracts. If left alone, these individuals would have to fight on their own, and court costs alone would make it beyond the reach of many people. With a union, the group can fight principles in court once, and protect its members that way. Just the fact that a union is looking over the employer's shoulder will often keep managers from doing things to employees they know are wrong. And what of collective bargaining? Without a group to represent the workers, I think you'd see an awful lot of people taking baths on wages and rights without an organization capable of doing something about it. Not that I like strike votes and picket lines and all the incomplete media coverage spreading misinformation and such. I hate it as much as the next guy. But if you can prove to me that this whole process can work amicably without it, then maybe I'll relax my viewpoint a bit. It has taken me 13 years to come around to how I think now, since the inconvenience of having to deal with a group that goes on strike has hit me on more than one occasion, but at the same time, if you read into the issues beyond the headlines, ask some of the individuals involved, you can often see a whole other side to the fight. Try it sometime.