New book argues need for unions and why they matter

Partial cover of Unions Matter book

Unions matter. That’s the message from a new book launching Wednesday with contributions from two York University professors.

Unions Matter: Advancing Democracy, Economic Equality and Social Justice (Between the Lines books), edited by Matthew Behrens for the Canadian Foundation for Labour Rights, will launch May 21, from 4 to 5:30pm, in the Library Room, main mezzanine level, Fairmont Royal York, 100 Front St. W., Toronto. It is co-sponsored by the Canadian Foundation for Labour Rights and York’s Global Labour Research Centre.

Cover of Unions Matter bookGlobal Labour Research Centre affiliates Professor Fay Faraday, York’s incoming Packer Chair in Social Justice, and Professor Eric Tucker of Osgoode Hall Law School contributed the chapter “Who owns charter values? A mobilization strategy for the labour movement.”

Unions Matter provides the latest research on labour’s strong links to democracy, equality and justice. It is comprised of new and original work by some of Canada’s leading lawyers, economists, political scientists and labour leaders.

The book asserts that one of the root causes of the rapid increase of income inequality in the past 30 years is the consistent chipping away of labour rights. This inequality is now at the highest level in Canada since 1928.

The labour movement has been left unable to maintain membership levels and incapable of narrowing the income gap through collective bargaining, with profound implications for Canadians. Labour rights are human rights. They provide a powerful democratic counterweight to the growing power of corporations and the wealthy, and are key to a functioning democracy.

Unions Matter affirms the critical role that unions and strong labour rights play in creating greater economic equality and promoting the social well-being of all citizens.

“This important book explains why the business attack on unions is so fierce: because unions have been effective in protecting the rights of working people. Written by some of Canada’s leading thinkers, this powerful collection of essays reminds us that unions not only brought us the weekend, but just about everything else that makes our lives livable today,” says author and journalist Linda McQuaig.

For more information about the book, visit the Between the Lines website.