When it comes to unions, a slight majority of Ponoka News readers feel there is value in having them.
Ponoka News’ most recent web poll asked the question: Do you think unions are needed?
Of the 83 votes, 44 (53.01 per cent) spoke in favour of the question while 37 (44.58 per cent) voted against the idea. The remaining two votes (2.41 per cent) stated they were unsure.
The question came after the Town of Ponoka’s union staff voted in favour of a strike after labour negotiations between the two parties fell apart. It should be noted that staff are not yet on strike as the union must first give the town 72 hours notice. The union also has a 120-day strike action window.
For the most part, readers were relatively clear in their thoughts with simple answers such as “no” or “absolutely.” However, a discussion between a user under the name of ‘Bruce Warwick’ and reader Graham Boyes highlighted the split found in the web poll’s results.
For Warwick, the value of unions cannot be understated. “Without them we wouldn’t have a 40-hour work week, or anything close to it, we wouldn’t have paid holidays, or likely any holidays at all, we wouldn’t have safe working conditions, our children would still be labouring in unsafe jobs, and the list goes on.”
He added that non-unionized workers have benefited from these changes as well.
Boyes pointed out that those reasons illustrate why unions were needed but employment standards have changed that focus.
“As for today, if I understand correctly, many unions offer protection against arbitrary dismissal which employment standards do not, as well as of course collective bargaining,” said Boyes.
Regardless of the comments, the recent strike vote has created impassioned discussion among community members about the state of affairs at the Town of Ponoka.
Editor’s note: Some comments have been edited for grammar.
Ponoka News’ web polls are a way to engage with readers and get a feel for what residents want. They do not represent an official petition or plebiscite. Check at www.ponokanews.com/web-poll for more polls.