Anti-Union Political Climate Barrier to Smart Policies

February 5, 2009, 8:36 AM EST

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The uniquely anti-union bent in North American culture and politics has been a barrier to the formulation of more effective economic policies in key industries like auto, said CAW Economist Jim Stanford. "Unlike Europe and Asia, instead of bringing all the players together to formulate industrial policies that work, in North America we engage in finger-pointing and vitriol," he said. 

In a debate with Dennis DesRosiers, prominent auto industry analyst and outspoken critic of the CAW and Toronto Star columnist David Crane, Stanford noted that the U.S. and Canada are the only two among dozens of countries implementing emergency supports for the auto industry, that have explicitly linked that support to demands for wage concessions from workers. 

The debate took place in Toronto on February 3 and was hosted by the Canadian International Council as a follow-up to the Council's recent public meeting with federal Industry Minister Tony Clement. 

Stanford's presentation also refuted several of DesRosiers' recent claims, including his arguments that every job lost at the Detroit Three in Canada has been replaced by a new job at Toyota, Honda and other and others, his claim that there has been no increase in offshore auto imports to Canada or North America as well as his claim that labour costs are as much as $30 per hour higher at CAW plants compared to UAW and non-union auto plants. 

To see the full presentation by Jim Stanford, please visit:

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