Union members to rally Saturday at Peace Arch park

Published on Fri, Apr 1, 2011
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Union members from Washington, Oregon and British Columbia say if they chant loud enough this weekend, they might be heard in Wisconsin.

Members of the AFL-CIO and the British Columbia Federation of Labour said they have scheduled an "International Solidarity" rally at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 3 at Peace Arch State Park in Blaine to show that they intend to oppose any attack on collective bargaining rights – whether it's in a another state or another country.

As Canada and the United States face similar budget-balancing pressures. Jim Sinclair, president of the British Columbia Federation of Labour, says the only power some workers have is the right to bargain.

"It's about whether or not people have a democratic right to say 'no' on the job - to say, 'No, this is unsafe' - and to have an adult relationship with their employers. To be able to sit down and negotiate how they're going to work with their employers. This is about our whole way of life."

The Apr. 2 rally is to show support for workers in other countries facing cutbacks and economic crises, and also for Wisconsin public employees. Their collective bargaining rights were upheld on Thursday, at least temporarily, in court. Jeff Johnson, president of the Washington State Labor Council, says what's going on in Wisconsin has potential consequences for every worker, union member or not.