At their best, unions have fought not only for their members, but also for fundamental social reforms which benefit all working people, such as universal public health care, decent pensions, paid time off the job, and accessible and affordable education. Canada’s unions have never been politically monolithic, but they have been a consistent force for a more progressive Canada.
The OECD, the IMF and the World Bank have recognized that unions promote more equitable societies without undermining good economic performance. Countries with strong unions have less extremes of rich and poor, and stronger public services and social safety nets.
Some advanced industrial countries with still strong labour movements, such as Germany and the Nordic countries, enjoy very high productivity and very low unemployment. And some of the most successful developing countries in terms of both growth and poverty reduction, notably Brazil, have strong a