World Cup of Labour

by Dick Heinen on March 14, 2011

Every four years in June and July, more than one billion people crowd around television screens to watch and cheer the world’s best soccer players in the World Cup. The excitement, intensity, emotion, and sheer joy of the tournament is wonderful to see and experience. Within CLAC, with its large and diverse membership, I would not be surprised if all 32 teams in the World Cup had their share of CLAC supporters cheering them on.

Although Canada did not compete in the soccer World Cup, I have no hesitation in saying that if there was a global competition for labour unions, Canada would be a top contender. Canadian unions have been leaders in providing effective representation to workers, resulting in fair collective agreements and competitive health and welfare benefits.

Although a relatively small part of the Canadian union movement, CLAC has been an important member of the team. Our interest in social justice, our core values derived from our Christian heritage, and our model of cooperative labour relations provide a template for a modern, progressive, and inclusive union that many other unions are striving to emulate.

That’s why it is disappointing to see some elements within the Canadian labour movement continue to treat CLAC with hostility. The goal of all members of the Canadian labour movement—including CLAC—is to advance the interests of Canadian workers and workers around the world. CLAC’s way of labour relations may be different, but our goals remain the same as the rest of the Canadian labour team.

As the World Cup amply demonstrates, winning teams require team members to respect each other and work together to win the ultimate prize. We at CLAC will continue to do our part in being the best labour union we can be. It’s time for the rest of the labour movement to catch the true spirit of the World Cup, where nations from diverse racial and political backgrounds came together to celebrate and play a game the world loves.

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