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Last week, the Institut économique de Montréal (IEDM) recycled a press release as an open letter. It was published in La Presse on February 2. Exasperated by IEDM’s abbreviated, biased vision, CUPE decided to reply to Michel Kelly-Gagnon’s inaccuracies, in a letter signed by Serge Morin, assistant director of CUPE Québec. Morin presented things in their true context while revealing aspects of the real situation, which do not match the wishes of the hatchet men of the right. CUPE’s response appeared in La Presse on February 4.

The following excerpts are from the letter by Serge Morin, assistant director of CUPE Québec.

L’institut économique de Montréal persisted and got bogged down. Having very clumsily denounced mandatory membership rules and the Rand formula, Michel Kelly-Gagnon, CEO of IEDM, returned to the fray. He continued to insist that Québec rules covering membership clauses negotiated between the parties, and mandatory dues are “beyond standard”. Let’s take a closer look at things. 

As for the Rand formula, to abandon it would signify acceptance of the principle of the “free rider”. This is the sort of person who seeks to benefit from advantages that are available – in our case those tied to the collective agreement – while avoiding contributing to them and letting others pay for him. That is what Judge Rand put an end to in 1946 by making the payment of union dues mandatory for all those who benefit from the provisions of a collective agreement – a principle upheld in 1991 by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Lavigne decision.

IEDM’s spokesperson left out the finer points when he stated that, in the 47 countries of the Council of Europe, adopting union security clauses is prohibited. However, the incentives are often so strong that it is a fine line. For example, in Belgium and in Sweden it is the unions that manage the unemployment funds, even though they are publicly funded. A great reason to become a member!