The Paradox We Buy Into

Among my favourite paradox:

The Grelling-Nelson paradox: Is the word ‘heterological’, meaning "not applicable to itself," a heterological word?
Hempel's Raven paradox: Observing a green apple increases the likelihood of all ravens being black.
Condorcet's paradox: A group of separately rational individuals may have preferences which are irrational in the aggregate.
This unavoidably leads me to the one I call the Tight-Budget paradox: Every one hates Walmart; they have a great selection at the lowest prices.

I bring up Walmart because I just heard on the news that employees at the St. Hyacinthe, Que. store ‘won’ their case and the right to unionize this morning.
According to the Wal-Mart spokesperson, “It’s an empty deal.” And the fairly right-wing National Post agreed; this is a victory for Walmart!
Of course the union-rep had a different spin on this, but its own emptiness only seemed to validate Walmart’s angle…

And what is it with Quebec and our unions? Is that hush-hush marriage they made with politics back in the 70’s still holding strong?
And who initiated all the work and paid for all the costs that made this union possible; the store employees or the union itself? Of course, the right pockets were greased and the right buttons pressed and the employees now had a target for all their anger and someone who was willing to lend a viable voice… but in the end, it’s the union that stands to profit the most, and not the employees. One Walmart down… thousands and thousands of new union membership dues to come…
Paradoxically, these employees will now be paying more in union dues than the $0.30 per hour increase (new employees won’t be eligible for this wage increase) their new collective agreement promises them, and a big zip in regards to group benefits.
But union leaders urge us to believe that this is a moral victory! They tell us that employees can no longer be bullied; the new collective agreement protects employees from not being fired unjustly.
My question is this: don’t we have La commission des normes du travail to protect these rights??? Seems to me that if just half of all those membership dues and resources were redirected to the provincial body officially appointed to assure that certain rights are being enforced in the workplace, they’d actually have the power and money necessary to do their job!
So what did the employees really win? The right to say: Yo man, I can’t do that…it’s not in my job description!?
And so ‘winning a union’ is not amongst those paradox that tickle my mind…

Although I personally hate Walmart, this for me, is far from being a victory against the giant!

Will this one last longer than the Jonquière, Que. and Gatineau, Que. stores for which Walmart simulated a loss thus manufacturing a legal reason to close down the stores within months after employees there had won their union? Of course these closures had a huge economic impact on these cities, what was the union doing then?

What do you think?

1. Walmart will eventually close the St.-Hyacinthe store.
2. The Walmart Empire is crumbling! Today Quebec, tomorrow Wal-Mex!
3. I don’t care; I prefer shopping at Zellers!
4. Walmart doesn’t care. Their Mumbai research facility is on the verge of a breakthrough and so one of their Chinese plants will begin manufacturing obedient cybernetic employees within 2 years.

Keep on clicking!


© 2009, Pascal-Denis Lussier

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