Unionized workers are being portrayed as villains and have to fight back, Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, told a provincial building trades meeting in Niagara Falls.
Unions have been “framed” by their opponents as “the bad guys,” he said. “And when they try to frame us, we’ve got to fight back.”
Georgetti was speaking to approximately 250 delegates at a meeting of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario.
He said corporations and right-wing politicians are blaming unionized workers for the ills of the country, but nothing could be further from the truth.
To combat the problem, unions need to embrace social media and make themselves more relevant to their members and the public, he said.
“We have a compelling story to tell about the union advantage,” he said, noting that unions should also use more political action campaigns like the Working Families in Ontario.
Georgetti warned that unions should be “very afraid” of Prime Minister Stephen Harper because he is no longer restrained by a minority government.
He said the federal government’s handling of the Canada Post dispute is just one example of what’s in store for unions.
Anyone who has an opinion different from the government’s is in trouble, he said, noting that unions have to fight a little harder and a little smarter in light of tactics taken by Harper.
“We’ve got to take this country back,” said Georgetti.