Weyerhaeuser: Loss of Canadian Sovereignty
Nowadays, in the business world, companies are expanding their activities on a global basis. Mergers and acquisitions are turning small to medium companies into real market giants. To think that only a few years back, one or two decades ago, companies conducted business in certain local markets. These factors made it possible that the company was much related to the physical area where it conducted business and the community living in that area. Thus, in order to be successful in business, it had to show concern about the local community and environment.
This is certainly the case for companies in British Columbia as in any other part of the world. But the free trade agreements and rising competition forced many businesses to evaluate every alternative possible in order to safeguard their future. The merger and acquisition process with other foreign companies was seen as one of the easiest and most reliable ways of ensuring your business’ future. That is why many Canadian companies have chosen to open to foreign investors.
As also shown by the words of Gary Kobayashi of IWA local 2171 on Vancouver Island, the Unions are also responding to this situation by merging with fellow Unions of other countries by developing thus into larger, international bodies. This has been the unions’ response to what companies have been doing in order to match, both socially and legally, the process of globalization. Unions are moving across borders just like businesses are doing. Of course that here we have a process of loss of national sovereignty since there are not only Canadian interests involved but also interests of other countries.
As a result of this process, many authors argue that these unions shifted their focus from local to international. Thus the union finds itself in a position where it is less able to defend the local labor force. Being a member of an international umbrella union, the local Canadian unions will find it harder to address this issue since their US counterpart may not be as interested in addressing it. Local Canadian unions may be forced to address the issue in a ‘softer way because of the membership in the international umbrella organization of unions. This is a clear example of how this internationalization of efforts can bring loss of sovereignty and ultimately not save the highest interest of the local Canadian labor force. Yet, since business is going global, even the problems related to the labor force are becoming standard in various countries, especially when dealing with the same corporation.
Thus, it would make a better stance if unions of every country a corporation operates together their efforts in pressuring this business for better workforce conditions and benefits, for example. If only one union representing a local region did it, the corporation would feel the pressure that much since it would be operating in various countries. Thus, the loss of sovereignty is compensated by the increase in pressuring capabilities.