Labor leaders, especially corrupt ones, resent it when outsiders inquire into how member dues are spent. As in the U.S., this is an observable pattern in Canada. And as in the U.S., widespread discontent has led to tangible reform. On June 30, the Canadian Senate voted 35-22 to approve a bill, C-377, to mandate union financial accountability. The measure, supported though not sponsored by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, had traveled a long road since initial passage by the House of Commons more than three years ago. The new law will force unions to make available to the public detailed data. Unions and political supporters are denouncing the legislation as an attack on workers’ rights, and vow to overturn it in court. Yet the weight of public opinion stands in the way – and with good reason.
Labor leaders don't like it when they have to open their books to public inspection. Those in Canada apparently aren't much different from the ones in this country. Canadian lawmakers currently are considering private legislation, Public Financial Disclosure for Labour Organizations, to include unions as among the organizations required to furnish financial data. Sponsors say the measure, alternately known as C-377, is needed to combat corruption and foster transparency. Union leaders insist that compliance would be unjustifiably costly and time-consuming. If this sounds familiar, it should.