A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Who wants MORE?

I recently had a rant in which I asked what is wrong with unionized workers who are currently asking for MORE when many of us are wondering if we are going to get ANY. My ire is now raised even further by this from the Sun Times which is just a small reflection of the situation across Ontario…..

“The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario is holding meetings today in Owen Sound and Chesley to give an update about contract negotiations with the Bluewater District School Board. The four-year collective agreement for all elementary public school teachers expired on Aug. 31, 2008…………..
"We've had no discussions with the government since last May and we've made it very clear that if Nov. 30 is an ultimatum, we're not going to have those discussions," ………..On the table right now is a 12.5 per cent raise over four years, with additional money for improved working conditions and more positions with lower class sizes. “

Now whilst I think we all agree that the teachers have a challenging job, most of us believe that they are well compensated for their endeavors, there certainly are a lot of “retired” teachers who are either remarkably well preserved or not near as old as the rest of us at retirement! These folk are paid out of the taxpayers pocket and like many other “government” employees who have a pretty secure, above average paying job, are still not satisfied, it seems that every few months some public employees union is asking for more and threatening job action. I for one am getting very tired of it, the private sector has the same problem but there is little I can do about that, but those paid out of the public purse had better look out because I can, and will, be very vocal about how good they have things and how tough it is out here in the “real world”.

One of the things that always gets me regarding these “negotiations” is the way in which things are ignored (by both sides?) until the current contracts have expired or are about to, “no discussions since last May”, 12 % on the table and that’s not good enough, what is wrong with this, especially when the Catholic board has just settled for just that? Any contract I have ever had as a self employed contractor is null and void once the term has ended and if you want to continue with it you had best get your act in gear and get a new one! The other thing is if you have agreed to certain conditions and remuneration for the past 3 years why would you not attempt to take any wage raises totally off the table in return for a simple cost of living raise annually, but then the unions would have little to justify their existence! The answer is quite simply GREED, fed by the unions telling their members that they have an ENTITLEMENT to MORE, a position the union bosses take to maintain their own jobs. Most folks would grab that cost of living option, or for that matter an annual 3% raise, without question, for few of us get any annual raise at all and indeed in these time will be bloody glad to even retain our jobs or our businesses.

I am not picking upon just the teachers here, as with other “closed shop” professions they have little say in the “negotiations” and only get to vote after the union hierarchy have struck a deal. I often wonder how many of the “members” truly support the process but feel pressured to go along with the union position. With the government sending signals that the public sector workers must expect less in future contracts, as indeed they should, I suspect we will see much posturing and disruption from those making a living from “representing” this sector. I know that thing are going to change out here for families and small businesses, it is going to be waste not want not for the next few years, we can but hope that the unions and their members both public sector and corporate sector also get the picture and become part of the solution not part of the problem. It is the greed of “investors”, corporations and their “directors”, unions and the like, assisted by shaky practices the financial sector who have precipitated this mess, but make no mistake it is the little guy that will both take the brunt of it AND be the one to make the sacrifices necessary to get us out of it.

Cross posted at http://shanejolley.com/

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