DATE: July 27, 2012
However much I hate to agree with Sid Ryan, he is quite correct in saying that Indiana-style labour laws (as proposed by the Ontario PCs) are not the answer to Ontario's economic woes.
Making locomotives at $13.50 per hour is frankly a scandal. The last time most of our politicians made that kind of money was when they had a paper route. However, Mr. Ryan’s monopolistic vision of labour, which allows for only one labour perspective and leads to situations where the Toronto School Board has to pay $3,000 for an electrical outlet, is not the answer either.
There has to be a middle ground of common-sense labour relations where unions not only add value for their members, but also seek the best interests of our society as a whole instead of the favoured few.
We need to maintain a strong middle class, but we can’t do that through wasteful work rules and restricted public bidding, which exclude most Ontarians and result in a false economy. It is the antics of Sid Ryan and a few of his cohorts that have resulted in the type of anti-union extremism that we see on the right today.
We are all in this difficult economic situation together and the trade union movement has to provide the leadership necessary to be seen as part of the solution, instead of part of the problem. Monopolies, hostility, and closed-tendering simply can’t continue. Common sense for the common good has to be adopted.
We all—politicians, unions, and the public—need to have an adult conversation about labour. Otherwise we will continue to see these attacks on organized labour until the anti-union movement wins. Then we will all be making $13.50 an hour—including Sid.
Hank Beekhuis, CLAC Ontario Director
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