September 8, 1999

Letter to the editor, re: Labour Day editorial

Dear Editor:

I write in response to the Editorial on Sunday, September 5, 1999, "If we work together, we all benefit."

This opinion was to feature Labour Day, however the writer emphasized the relationship between workers and management at Gorman Brothers mill (Westbank).

I think it's wonderful that Gorman's have a good relationship with its workforce and Gorman's are a good employer however, I question who all and we are when the writer talks about benefits.

Unions are a lot more than relationships between workers and management. I realize that it's an important part, but the history of organized Labour (unions) and their accomplishments should be given due respect.

I can ensure you that the workers at Gorman's enjoy their benefits because of the struggle of the Labour Movement to establish industry standards, minimum standards, health and safety, medical, dental and pension benefits.

Unions have a social conscience and contribute to the community by working with groups like The United Way, Women&Men's Shelters, Food Banks (and may I remind you that it was The North Okanagan Labour Council that saw a need for a Food Bank in Kelowna and area and took the initiative to start one), and many more.

Unions speak out against those that want to reduce standards and lobby government to enact fair Labour legislation. To help improve Health and Safety Standards and to encourage safe work practices and provide worker training in many areas. All of these things benefit the workers at Gorman's and it's not because of their relationship with management, it's because of unions.

My definition of all and we is, our community, our health care workers, our childcare workers, our public and private sector workers, our province, and our country. If the writer wants to feature Labour Day, then he should respect the many that made it possible.

Marie Mentz,
North Okanagan Labour Council



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