What Not to Buy

At a time of year when people are doing a LOT of buying, there’s a lot of messages about the “right” things to buy: sustainably manufactured, minimally packaged, locally made or sourced, fair-trade, and so on. But there’s another “right” way to buy that’s often overlooked – and that’s buying from companies that aren’t involved in lengthy labour disputes with their unionized employees.

Allow me to bring to your attention two companies at opposite ends of Canada whose products you should consider boycotting while their employees are out on strike.

Both of these disputes involve very wealthy and profitable multinational employers, asking for changes that will hurt workers that likely aren’t very wealthy – workers who, I can guarantee, are very committed to getting a fair settlement if they are willing to picket outdoors at this time of year.  You may not think that you alone not buying from either company will be enough to make either company decide to treat its employees fairly and settle a collective agreement – but enough people deciding to take their business elsewhere could make a very significant difference.

If you’re not in Canada, and you want to know what not to buy in your own area, most labo(u)r federations and unions have a list on their website of current strikes or lockouts, or of boycotts that they are supporting to help workers in another area. I encourage you to find this information for your own region, and to support the boycotts and the workers on strike.

Happy labour-friendly shopping!

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