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Below and attached is a detailed background document providing analysis of Tim Hudak’s recent white paper on “Flexible Labour Markets.” Hudak’s paper poses a threat to the livelihoods of all working people by proposing to eliminate workers’ right to collectively bargain and by driving wages down across the board.

Please circulate the attached analysis to your members so they can challenge Hudak’s arguments in the workplace, in their communities, and in the media.

In solidarity,

Sid Ryan

President of the Ontario Federation of Labour

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OFL BACKGROUNDER

Tim Hudak’s White Paper on Flexible Labour Markets

Published on July 16, 2012Courtesty of TARA WALTON/TORONTO STAR

Flexible Labour Means Cheap labour

In June 2012, Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak opened up a new attack on labour unions and working people with his release of his white paper on “Flexible Labour Markets.” The paper lays out the Tories’ new platform on workers’ rights and unveils an economic scheme for the province that is centered on reduced public services and cheap labour. Blindly aligning their interests with those of profit-hungry corporations, the Tories fault unions for the province’s economic difficulties while offering no plan for creating new jobs, revitalizing the manufacturing sector or securing greater corporate investments in the provincial economy. They propose to bring Wisconsin-style laws to Ontario that would eliminate the rights of workers to collectively bargain and drive wages down for all workers. Hudak’s proposal is a plan for poverty, not prosperity, and it requires strong opposition from workers from every sector, whether union or non-union.

Flexible Labour Means Cheap labour

Throughout the white paper, Hudak laments the wages and benefits secured by workers in Ontario’s manufacturing sector and blames the workers for expecting to maintain middle-class wages to support their families. For Hudak, “prosperity” means turning Ontario into a low-wage, regulation-free haven where corporations rake in profit at the expense of Ontario workers, communities and the environment. “Flexible labour” means cheap labour.

In this respect, Hudak differs little from his federal counterpart Stephen Harper, who, as Prime Minister, has presided over an expanded Temporary Foreign Worker Program, allowing employers greater leeway to import people from all over the world with precious little obligation for their well-being. When the work is done, or if the worker is maimed on the job, they are literally disposed of—sent back to their home countries with nary a thought. Most recently, the Harper government gave employers the green light to pay migrant workers between 5 and 15 percent less than the average wage for that occupation

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United steel workers 9511 – Drive Test

Seven hundred and fifty (750) government employees, most of which were full-time with benefits and pension plans. How many Serco DES employees are currently on strike? Well, after imposing a 15% pay cut and taking away their pensions, Serco DES has whittled down its workforce to about five hundred (500). However, they haven’t stopped there. They’ve turned formerly good jobs into marginal employment: 50% of Serco DES employees are now part-time with no benefits, with no guaranteed number of hours each week, and Serco DES is seeking to convert more employees into part-timers.

So out of the original 750 good jobs, 250 have been lost entirely. Of the remaining 500, the company has marginalized 250. That means that only a third of the original jobs remain. So, did the Conservative government succeed in creating a climate for job creation? Clearly not. The privatization of driver testing in Ontario has decimated hundreds of jobs in the province.

Which brings us to the public interest. With hundreds of jobs eliminated and marginalized, the province and the communities where these workers work(ed) have seen a decline in tax revenues. Local economies will have seen a decline proportionate to the decline in spending power of these workers. The ripple effects of job loss and job marginalization in communities are widespread. Is that in the public interest?

In case you missed this story.

OFL delegates unanimously condemn colleges for contract imposition and walking away from talks

TORONTO, Nov. 24 /CNW/ – Delegates attending the Ontario Federation of Labour convention today unanimously condemned the province’s colleges for their failure to bargain in good faith in negotiations with 9,000 faculty members.

“It’s union-busting. Imposing a collective agreement is wrong, and it should stop now. If they want a strike, they will get a strike the likes of which they have never seen before,” Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of OPSEU, told hundreds of cheering delegates.

An emergency resolution, brought forward by OPSEU at the convention, attacked the Colleges for unilaterally imposing terms of employment for community college faculty effective Nov. 18, 2009. It called on Premier Dalton McGuinty and Training, Colleges and University Minister John Milloy to direct College negotiators to get back to the table and negotiate in good faith.

The resolution also stated that the Council, representing management at 24 community colleges in Ontario, had suspended all joint union/management committees, effectively preventing all grievances from going to arbitration.

And it noted that the Council refused to take its imposed terms of employment to faculty members for a vote.

More than 15 speakers took to the floor in support of the resolution, including labour representatives from other OPSEU sectors, Steelworkers, CUPE and other major unions.