National Union Statement on CLC Endorsement

Below is a statement by Larry Brown, NUPGE President, on the recent endorsement of Bill Morneau's candidacy for the position of Secretary-Treasurer of the OECD.

Ottawa (04 Nov. 2020) — The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is the second largest affiliate of the CLC.  As NUPGE’s President I sit on the CLC Executive Committee.

On Saturday morning I was advised by NUPGE staff that the CLC had, on Friday, issued a joint statement with the Chamber of Commerce endorsing Bill Morneau’s candidacy for the position of Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

I wrote to our Union’s National Executive Board advising that I had not been consulted or even informed about this endorsement. 

What that means is that the National Union did not agree to the endorsement of Mr. Morneau nor could that endorsement have been done in our name because we did not give our consent.

The endorsement was done jointly with the Chamber of Commerce. That organization opposes minimum wages and labour rights in general. It is particularly hostile to public sector unions, their wages, and benefits.

The simple fact is that since we were not consulted, the National Union did not agree with the idea of a joint statement with the Chamber of Commerce, nor could that have been done in our name because we did not give our consent.

 If I had been consulted on this matter, I would have had several questions:

  • Why was it felt necessary to make a recommendation on the OECD position?
  • What on earth made it seem acceptable to do anything jointly with an anti-union, anti worker organization like the Chamber of Commerce?
  • What in Mr. Morneau’s track record made him eligible for labour’s support? There are certainly lots of things in his record that we cannot condone.
  • What positions does Mr. Morneau take on issues of importance to the labour movement such as workers’ rights, income inequality, corporate tax evasion, systemic racism, and the climate crisis? What will he commit to doing on these issues if he gets the OECD position?

 I do not have any answers to those questions at this point.

The process used in this case, with the CLC leadership taking a position without any consultation with the member organizations, is irredeemably flawed. That means that the endorsement itself is irredeemably flawed.  


NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE