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Brewery Workers 2500 B.C.

Why MOLSON likes the non-benefit/benefit system.

The long-term health of the union and its ability to exercise collective action, is very much dependent on the solidarity of its members. And the solidarity of its members is very much dependent on them having a commonality of interest.

So how do employers seek to weaken or destroy the power of a union? One method is to strike at the commonality of interest that builds the very foundation of unionism and solidarity (the cliche of course is "divide and conquer")

How well has MOLSON done in this respect? The answer is, very well indeed!

The company has achieved through negotiations over the years, not merely a two-tier, but a three-tier wage and benefit system. That's three artificial subclasses of workers amongst which to exercise the fascist evils of discrimination: the grossly underpaid 'Permit Card worker', the serously underprivileged 'Seasonal' and finally the 'Regular' employee.

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It's true that the bargaining unit employees at MOLSON Vancouver Brewery are all nominally under the same contract, contained within the same 90 page booklet, but in actual practice the disparity between these three classes is so great that it is as if we lived under three different contract, worlds apart.

This kind of arrangement benefits only the company, and even for them the benefits are dubious and tainted. It is time that we returned to the ideal of common interest and solidarity for all, and demanded one contract for all employees.

But who will have to pay for such progress? Won't the regulars have to do with a lesser contract? The fact is that the employer is the only body to have benefited from this injustice, so it's only common sense that they should be the ones who cough up the expense of running an ethical company. Besides, treating employees fairly is bound to pay its own dividends in the long haul.

Yours for a strong union, a fair contract and an ethical brewery,

John Barker

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April 2003