The Ontario budget that just came down has called for a wage freeze on all “non union” public workers and Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan has said that the government “will not fund” any wage increases in the unionized sector. Given that so many Ontarians, indeed Canadians, have been laid off, have run out of unemployment, are having difficulty finding new employment or are reduced to a part time job this is a quite reasonable and prudent thing to do.
Unfortunately the unionized sector will continue to get their “negotiated” raises and as the contracts come up will no doubt continue to demand “more” and threaten to walk off the job and disrupt services if they do not get their way. That government “will not fund further raises” is a bit of a non starter given that in both the heath and education sectors the government does not negotiate directly with those employees, so when, that’s when not if, these public employees with secure jobs and above average wages and benefits demand “more” where will it come from? Simply really, it will come out of the already stressed Hospital or School Board budgets and thus something else will suffer to pay for them.
This is not speculation, it is history folks, it has been this way for years and there is no reason for it to change. The union folk will cry “our members deserve a decent wage” whilst raking in two, three, four and even five time that received by those folk in those minimum wage jobs that for many are the only choice left. The teachers, nurses, technicians will decry cuts to services that may be needed to pay for their generous compensation but will they direct their unions to reduce any of their “demands”? Not a chance!
Bottom line, with an ever increasing demand for more government “services” and ever increasing demand by those providing those services for “better compensation” and an ever increasing percentage of our population working directly or indirectly for government, only two solutions exist. Increased taxes or reduced services.
Would that reduced compensation, reduced waste, and increased efficiency was in the government and union lexicon, and that the public reduce their ever increasing “need” for non essential services from government.
And that how it looks from one of the many who has been making do with less for some time now……