Comments on "Canada: Our Model?"; Martin J. Morand Replies


  • Errol Black
  • Ron Crawley
  • Jim Silver
  • Martin J. Morand





Martin J. Morand's discussion of what needs to be done to reverse the fortunes of organized labor in the United States—"Canada: Our Model?" (MR, June 1990)—is off the mark. Morand's argument is that the American labor movement faces a crisis of survival, and that, to surmount the crisis, labor should single-mindedly concentrate on winning the enactment of first-contract legislation, such as Canada has in the federal jurisdiction and in the provinces of Manitoba, Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec. Morand contends that "This will require a radical change in our political perspective." This radical change amounts to following Gompers' advice "to reward only our friends," which for Morand means abandoning the mainstream of the Democratic Party and throwing labor's support behind the Rainbow Coalition, whose leadership, Morand believes, would be more supportive of labor. The Rainbow Coalition would then be to the U.S. labor movement what the New Democratic Party has been to the Canadian labor movement. The eventual result—this is, Morand submits, a long-term strategy, but worth the wait—would be the enactment of the first-contract legislation that American labor needs to survive.