Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Is Buzz Hargrove a sellout?

Not working in the manufacturing sector, I had not really paid that much attention to Buzz Hargrove's recent deal with Frank Stronach to unionize Magna. I was aware that there was a no-strike condition to the arrangement but according to Ed Broadbent the whole thing goes much further:
'Mr. Hargrove's proposal eliminates worker-selected shop stewards. Instead, he proposes "employee advocates." Management would play a key role in selecting these "advocates."'
That's actually astonishing, the idea that management would select the shop stewards really strikes me as going far beyond what Hargrove needed to concede in this arrangement. Broadbent's opinion-piece on the subject deserves a full read, it lays out just what the consequences are for these Hargrove concessions.

One wonders what the purpose is then for the CAW to set up union drives in plants where there can be no strikes and no workplace democracy. What exactly would unionized Magna workers get in return for their dues?

I'm a pretty conflict averse guy in real (non-blogging) life and so I'm not that big super-confrontational union bosses and needless workplace antagonism, but I still figure that unions ought to stand up for workers. Buzz Hargrove has decided he'd rather sit around with management.

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