David Madland on "Why Canadian Workers Need to Fight like Hell for Labour Rights... Including the Right for More Workers to Join Unions."

This morning David Madland, author of Hollowed Out: Why the Economy Doesn’t Work without a Strong Middle Class, urged delegates to consider lessons from south of the border. Watch his full talk here.

Madland covered the American story of how and why unions have been attacked in the United States and most importantly why these attacks not only matter for workers, but also the economy and democracy. Employers are now using more aggressive tactics during a union drive and also have stated lobbying politicians for policies that make it harder to unionize. These attacks amount to a full attack to eliminate unions in the United States. This should be a warning as many of the attacks Canadian unions are now seeing have already happened in the United States.

Madland also argued that being able to join together in a union and bargaining collective is a basic human right. Unions also play a critical role in making human lives better and making the economy and democracy work. Unions can boost consumer spending by ensuring workers have money to spend at businesses. These businesses can then invest because the consumer demand is up. Unions also help ordinary people participate In the political process making the political system more responsive to what ordinary people want and need.  

Madland is currently a Senior Fellow at the Centre for American Progress with expertise in economy policy, retirement, unions, employment, economic inequality and the middle class. The Centre for American Progress has a mission to improve lives through bold, progressive ideas that lead to real policy change. At the AFL convention, Madland made a case for centering our economy around the middle class to strengthen our democracy and economy, called for unions to organize more workers and workplaces, and called on convention participants to build a powerful grassroots movement.