1 February 2013

Bill C-377 Takes Aim at Unions' Financial Info

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In mid-December, the House of Commons passed the third reading of Bill C-377. The bill, sponsored by MP Russ Hiebert (Conservative, Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale), requires labour organizations to disclose detailed financial reports to the federal government. Hiebert states that the goal of the bill is "to increase transparency and accountability in another group of public institutions – labour unions."

In the IWW, we disclose our financial details to our members at monthly general membership branch meetings. In the interest of solidarity, transparency and self-management we believe that our rank-and-file members have a right to know how their dues are spent, and to have a say in the management of our union.

Various trade unions have similar rules on delivering financial reports to their membership, though they do not emphasize self-management of the union by their rank-and-file. The way towards improving the structure of those unions is by agitation for greater democracy from within, not by mandating that financial details be reported to the federal government.

The latest developments on Bill C-377 can be found on the Open Parliament website.