Ottawa – In a stunning move, the Conservative dominated Senate has blocked Bill C-377, the so called union disclosure bill, from becoming law by passing a series of amendments that force the bill back to the House of Commons.
The Senate voted 49-33 to support changes to the bill proposed by Conservative Senator Hugh Segal. More than a dozen Conservative Senators voted with Segal, clearly illustrating the flawed nature of the bill.
Bill C-377 claimed to address the accountability and transparency of labour unions. But, as CUPE pointed out in its submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee, and as Segal and other Senators spoke to, C-377 is not about transparency or accountability.
“The real motivation for the bill was to silence unions and their members. It was an irresponsible abuse of legislative power for political purposes,” said CUPE National President Paul Moist. “By standing together we have thrown a wrench in the Conservative anti-union legislative agenda. CUPE and the broader labour movement in Canada will continue to fight this bill and all forms of legislation that hurt workers’’.
While the amendments don’t address the fundamentally flawed nature of the bill, they bring the reporting requirements more in line with disclosure standards the government accepts for itself. The amendments raise the reporting threshold for payments from $5,000 to $150,000 and the reporting threshold for salaries is raised from $100,000 to $444,661. The amendments also exempt union locals and unions with fewer than 50,000 members.
The Senate amendments do not address the clear conflict with the constitution, both on the Charter of Rights and the intrusion into provincial jurisdiction.
Thanks to the hard work of all of our members and allies who worked to raise awareness and talk to Senators about this bill. We will keep fighting to ensure this bill never passes into law.