During a four day period between October 17 and 21, 1991, Canada's leftist New Democratic Party (NDP) swept the legislative elections in the country's western provinces of British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Coupled with the party's capture of the populous province of Ontario in September 1990, on the provincial level NDP now rules over more than l3.6 million of Canada's 26 million citizens.
In Ontario, the NDP has already proposed legislation that would amend the Ontario Labor Relations Act and create a new model of labor relations in the province. The measure would essentially relinquish all power to the unions by allowing a showing of only 20 percent support in prospective bargaining units to certify a union. It would bar managerial employees from keeping a company operating during a strike, prohibit the contracting out for services without the striking union's permission and prohibit the hiring of permanent striker replacement workers. The sole purpose of this type of legislation is to bolster a decline in what Dr. Leo Troy refers to as the old, or private sector, unionism.
Yet, admirers of Canadian labor policies, who advocate that they be adopted as a model for the United States to emulate, do so under the mistaken belief that they have been responsible for averting a decline in union density. It is a fallacy that Dr. Troy corrects in Canada's Labor Policies: A Paradigm for the United States?,noting that what analysts have missed is the transference in both countries of workers from the private to the public sector payrolls. To the degree that Canadian policy promotes the growth of public sector unionism it hardly merits emulation.
The largest public sector union in the United States is the National Education Association. It uses its resources to preserve its existence and influence, frequently becoming the major stumbling block to reform of the nation's education system.