And that's where I stopped reading

I scanned through this article at iPolitics far enough to make sure that I wasn't just objecting to something projected onto it by a copy editor whose headline didn't reflect the author's intent. But there it was, in the third paragraph:

There is currently a bill before Parliament (Bill C-377) that would require unions to disclose this type of information. Union bosses are vehemently opposed to it...

And that's where I stopped reading.

Union leaders are democratically elected. In fact recent events in the news would suggest that organized labour's respect for democratic principle is at least as strong as all levels of government and stronger than most. Referring to those that the rank and file union members choose to represent them as "union bosses" is a rhetorical trick.

There's a long and dishonorable history of characterizing all union leaders as thugs and bullies. It's the same kind of divide and conquer strategy — in this case designed to set workers against their own representatives — as that employed by sophists who routinely attempt to pit public sector workers against those in the private sector.

In the context of the private member's bill mentioned in the article, it's an attempt to gloss over the fact that union members are already privy to the information that the article's author is insisting must be disclosed. As Dr. Dawg has already illustrated, union members are often in a much better position to know how their money is being spent than taxpayers are. And if the rank and file don't like the decisions the executive is making, the executive can be voted out. That accountability to the membership turns the discussion about union finances into a much different conversation than our author suggests we ought to have.

These days when I see the phrase "union bosses" I assume I'm dealing with someone intending to put something over on me. If you have an argument about organized labour you want me to take seriously, you can begin by not misrepresenting the situation three paragraphs in.

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