Old Labour Tries to Oust CLAC from ITUC

DATE: November 25, 2011

Mississauga, ON—CLAC is outraged at the decision of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to suspend CLAC’s membership for presenting itself as an alternative trade union in Canada.

ITUC has caved in to demands by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) to attack CLAC because it is afraid of the competition of a modern, progressive union that focuses on its members. ITUC’s decision and its kangaroo court process are a clear indication that it is unable to escape the stranglehold of old time unionism.

Despite appearing before an ITUC delegation to answer questions and presenting voluminous evidence in its defense, CLAC was denied an opportunity to challenge the accuracy of the delegation’s report to ITUC’s General Council on which it based its decision. CLAC’s suspension will be reviewed at ITUC’s next Congress in May 2014. Membership in ITUC can only be decided by the Congress.

CLAC is appalled at the lack of ethics of some ITUC members who leaked news of the General Council’s decision before it was communicated to CLAC. Further, Ken Georgetti, president of the CLC, sits as vice-president on ITUC’s executive board—a clear conflict of interest.

There was hope in 2006 that the merger of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions with the World Confederation of Labour to form the new, more broadly based ITUC would breathe new life into an archaic and ineffective approach for workers’ rights. Today, we know that ITUC’s leaders are made up of the same old, irrelevant ideologues who cling to an out-dated model of labour relations whose days are numbered. How can ITUC maintain any sense of credibility or relevance when it seeks to oust CLAC—a union recognized by government labour boards across Canada—but believes the state-controlled unions in labour unfriendly countries such as Russia, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and Eritrea are just fine?

CLAC refuses to succumb to these Old Labour style tactics. ITUC’s platitude of “union pluralism” was put to the test and failed miserably. CLAC continues to believe firmly in the rights of workers to make informed choices regarding which union they want to join and what working agreements they want to work under.

We believe that healthy competition between unions for the loyalty of workers is a good thing that will make unions better and more responsive to their needs. It is not a race to the bottom but a race to be the best. CLAC will continue to work hard for the betterment of unions, members, and the working conditions of all Canadians—with or without ITUC.


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