Notes From The Margin

December 20, 2007

How involved should Unions be in the political process?

In our browsing of the news online we came across this story from CBC.

This article raises several questions in our mind as to how appropriate this is.
Should a Union endorse a political party? Should politicians be union representatives?
We can think of several scenarios…
what if the union endorses Party A, who goes on to lose. What happens when the union sits across the table from a Party C (sorry the letter B is too politically charged here)  Prime Minister? Will the workers suffer for the union’s poor choice?
what if the union endorses party F who goes on to win, is that government then the lapdog of the union? (and if you really want to think about it how different would this be from political parties current relationships with financial donors?)
hold on it gets better….
Let’s say party F above has to make some hard decisions for the good of the economy. These decisions have to be taken for the long term good of the country, but they will have short term repercussions for workers. Does the Union’s sway over the party stop them to the short term benefit of the workers but the long term detriment of everyone?
Before you think I’m coming down firmly against Unions being involved in the political process think about this. Barbados has a long history of heavy trade union involvement in politics, way back to the founding of the BLP and Grantley Adams.  More recently we have seen Evelyn Greaves, Bobby Morriss and others being sitting members of Parliament. Barbados hasn’t done badly over the long term. Did this union involvement help or hurt. Or did it help at some times and then hinder at others?
We’ve knocked this back and forth and haven’t come to a firm position. It’s an interesting discussion to have though…..
We’d like to hear other’s input.

1 Comment »

  1. […] Notes From The Margin asks: “Should a Union endorse a political party? Should politicians be union representatives?” Share This […]

    Pingback by Global Voices Online » Barbados: Politics and Unions — December 20, 2007 @ 10:55 am | Reply

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