Merit Contractors Association

Merit Contractors Association

August 31, 2012 07:00 ET

Merit Contractors Association: Albertans Clear on Union Views

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Aug. 31, 2012) - On the eve of Labour Day, Merit Contractors Association released a survey of employed Albertans reflecting their opinions and attitudes toward unions. The survey and analysis was conducted by Leger Marketing starting in July.

"With related legislation pending in Ottawa and the 2012 PC Party Election Platform proposing to introduce a Paycheque Protection, Transparency and Freedom to Choose Act, we wanted to know what working Albertans think about the current relevance of unions; union dues and financial transparency; and related public policy issues," says Stephen Kushner, President of Merit Contractors Association. He continues, "The Alberta results are consistent with previous Canada wide surveys conducted by the Canadian Labour Watch Association in 2008 and 2011."

The survey confirms there is strong support to increase the transparency of union financial disclosure as contemplated in Bill C-377, currently before the House of Commons. Almost 9 out of 10 Albertans, including almost 8 of 10 unionized workers, believe it should be mandatory for all unions to publically disclose their finances. An overwhelming majority (94%) also believe that workers should have access to union financial information during a unionization drive.

Most Albertans (63%) believe that paying union dues should be voluntary and not a mandatory condition of employment. More than 7 of 10 believe that core union activities should be supported but that employees should be allowed to opt-in or of supporting non-core activities such as contributing to political parties and social causes unrelated to their workplace.

Only 19% of those polled, including only 28% of unionized workers, support dues being used to finance political parties. Few workers also believe that union dues should be used to fund third party advocacy groups (18%) such as Friends of Medicare or to run negative advertising campaigns (15%) like the millions spent on the "No Plan" attack ads unions ran during the 2008 Alberta provincial election.

According to Kushner, "These survey results indicate Alberta workers support proposed measures to provide more transparency and financial disclosure and have greater individual choice in supporting or not supporting union activities. It is abundantly clear that both the Federal and Provincial governments would be acting in the interests of workers by taking action on these issues."

Detailed survey results can be found at www.meritalberta.com

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