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A message from Robert Blakely Director of Canadian Affairs, Canada’s Building Trades Unions
This is my initial foray into blogging! It is easy to suggest that we should just move with the times but, I always have a nagging feeling that we lose some of the art of communication between people by relying on “electronic” means. Who knows, this could grow on me and be a very effective tool.
I’d like you to know what I think about a number of things. For example, did you know that we have a dedicated program dealing with the Women of the Building Trades called Build TogetHER? The purpose of the program is to recruit women into apprenticeships in the skilled trades. Did you know that the Newfoundland and Labrador Building Trades has contributed enormous sums of money to Eastern Health in support of healthcare in that province? Did you know that the mesothelioma cancer program at Saint Margaret’s hospital in Toronto is heavily supported by contributions from the Insulators and a number of other Ontario Trades? I hope you know how generous your own local unions and the Building Trades of Alberta have been in its contribution to the Courage Centre at the Glenrose Hospital.
In fact, we are either a principal sponsor or a very significant contributor to an enormous variety of charities and good works. We do this because it is the right thing to do and not because we’re trying to seek credit; after all I’m sure your Mom, just like mine, told you that “a good deed is its own reward”. We don’t just give money to these sorts of causes we give our time, our consideration and quite often our labour. No one ever asks someone who got a meal, a helping hand or medical treatment to wear a union button or sing the praises of the union! Somehow, I believe that you do these things because you understand that it is building our communities and giving back to our fellow citizens. It is providing others with a hand up and not necessarily a hand out. In this way we are building Canada just as surely as we do on the job.
We’re going to start gathering these sorts of good news stories and give them some of the prominence that they deserve. Far too many people think unions are merely self-interested in whatever they do. Self-interested members who care only about themselves led by evil “union bosses” who care only about their own perks and power. At least part of the reason that people believe what they believe is because we have really been silent about her good works. We should celebrate the contributions that we make and the causes of that we espouse. Did you know, for example that many of the sponsorships that big business makes to charities are what is known as tied gifts? That means that perhaps something else has to happen before they will be called on to actually donate (the telethon has to raise $1 million, by the end of the month and then their promise will be met, if the charity only raises $$999,999.99 too bad, so sad) and the conditions around the donation require the charity to spend a lot of the donation on advertising the donor! We don’t do that, we give money and feel good because we helped.
It is time that we use what we do in support of our communities and fellow citizens to combat the virulence and malice of a number of the union haters. They know that if you tell a story and the butt of that story doesn’t respond then people believe that story is true. We’re going to let the truth speak for itself! Your good works are worthy of more than a little praise and your support to the community remains second to none – – – so take a bow and we’re going to get your story some prominence.
I guess this blog stuff is a lot like serials at the Saturday matinee when at least some of us were kids (I know, I’m exposing the fact that I am an old fogey) have to come back to find out how the story actually turns out. Stay tuned!!
For more information about Canada’s Building Trades Unions please visit their website at www.buildingtrades.ca/.