I am a labour relations practitioner and a workforce delivery expert, one very much connected on a personal level to the plight of working families and job creators. My ears come alive whenever I hear of a report or commentary about jobs.
A few years ago, I noticed a pattern of discourse shifting about jobs. I noticed policymakers, particularly those positioned left of centre, add the adjective “good” in front of the word jobs. Adjectives are tricky things in political speak. Often they are used less to describe and are, instead, more to qualify and introduce a cloak of exclusions to a concept.
Up until the last five or six years, policymakers would be delighted, in fact, elated to report on a job creation period. In so doing, they would refer to jobs.
Now the phrase used is “good jobs.” So we must ask, what jobs are excluded from that description?
In a recent conversation with a private-sector union leader in the resource sector, the person said, “good jobs” meant good union jobs.“Is that what they tell you?” I asked, acknowledging Biden’s fleeting rehabilitation efforts to garner street credibility among labour groups after cancelling Keystone.I replied, “good jobs mean jobs other than yours – jobs outside of the resource sectors. Now, aren’t you happy to have supported the very policymakers seeking to make your members irrelevant?”
“Good jobs” is a dog whistle to the environmentalists within the left of centre ranks. Good jobs mean green jobs. Good jobs mean excluding those in resource sectors and greenhouse gas-emitting jobs.
The exception being, cars of course, as they are manufactured in vote-rich areas of the country. Policymakers overlook the environmental implications of car manufacturing in Ontario.
It is easier to tsk-tsk the number of F-150s and Dodge Rams on the road in the prairies.
What is stunning is how many working families in the private sector believe left-of-centre parties support their interests.
No, they don’t, nor do they support the livelihoods of most private-sector union members.
I am all for guarding, enhancing and pursuing a sustainable environmental future.
I prefer policymakers to speak directly about what aggressive programs do to working families.
They should consider and represent those interests instead of sweeping the plight of working families in the private sector under the rug.
Instead, they ignore them. They exclude working families from future consideration by adding the word “good” before any reference to jobs.
Not only is this too cute by half, but it is also dishonest and destructive.
Chief Operating Officer, Workforce Delivery Inc.