A poll sponsored by CUPE-Quebec shows that young Quebecers have a high opinion of unions and of their contribution to the defence of workers’ rights. They believe that the defence of workers’ rights is still relevant (82%) and that unions are still necessary to ensure that defence (55%).
Young people recognize the major role played by unions to improve conditions for Quebec workers. The gains most often mentioned by respondents were in pay equity, safety at work, the defence of injured workers, parental leave, action against psychological harassment, the raising of the minimum wage and on-the-job training.
Young people also mentioned the problems that remain. At the top of the list of priorities in this regard – that is, above the 50% barrier – are discrimination, retirement conditions, work/life balance and the abuse of power.
Over half of the respondents also consider that it is normal that unions, when necessary, use demonstrations or strikes to make progress on workers’ demands. When there is a deadlock in negotiations, however, 59% of young people would opt for arbitration to resolve the issue.
More young union members than young people in general recognize the usefulness of unions and the lawfulness of using pressure tactics such as demonstrations or strikes when negotiations fail.
Despite the overall good impression of unions on young Quebecers, some persistent prejudices against unionized workers still prevail. Quebec unions will have to better communicate with the population to counter such misinformation.
The survey was completed by Internet between April 24 and May 2, 2013 and involved a thousand young workers and students between 18 and 34 years of age. The results were weighted by gender, age, mother tongue and place of residence.
The survey was announced as part of the biennial convention of the Quebec division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE-Quebec). The theme of the convention is Solidaires, toutes générations (Solidarity for all generations).
On Twitter, follow the convention using hashtag #SCFP2013.
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