Monday, 5 January 2009

Leadership with skewed perspective

"It's just to show again how they try to undermine the union, and to try to negotiate with our members instead of trying to negotiate with the union," said president André Cornellier, adding the union will hold a meeting for members Monday at 10 a.m. ET and urge them to reject the deal.

Bolding mine. Here is a union president who is saying clearly that the union is not the members.

So who is the union then, Mr. Cornellier? Seeing as he is very angry with the City of Ottawa for taking out advertising space to inform his union membership directly of the offer on the table before they vote on the same offer, it is clear that he considers the union to be the union executive, not the members.

(For those who crave a little background, the transit union has been on strike for several weeks, and the federal government has ordered the union to submit the City's latest offer to a vote by the membership, which the union leadership had been refusing to do.)

This would be a great opportunity for union-bashing, but that's really not the issue here. This attitude of "l'État c'est moi" is hardly unique to union leaders. Company executives, government leaders, pastors, school administrators - they all can fall into this trap and frequently do. Most of them have the brains not to express it so baldly in public.

André Cornellier needs to realize that he is a servant of his members and that THEY ARE the union. If he is so confident that the City's offer is unacceptable, he has nothing to worry about. His public pugnaciousness on this issue seems to indicate a fear that they will not toe the line he has drawn in the sand. It sounds to me like leadership that I would be eager to reject if I were a member of his union.

Are you in a position of leadership? What do you do to prevent yourself from taking on this arrogant attitude? It's such an easy slippery slope to slide down. Or do you see this attitude in the leaders over you? Does it cause you to lose confidence in them? Should it?

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