Tag Archive: Tories


Guest Blog also posted in the Huffington Post.

 

Part 2: Hudak and Harper Attempt to Silence their Critics

Sid Ryan, President, Ontario Federation Labour

This is part two of a three-part reply to Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak’s series of HuffPost blogs about his party’s “Path to Prosperity” white paper.

From Queen’s Park to Parliament Hill, if there is one lesson that Conservatives have learned from Indiana, Alabama, Louisiana and other states where “right-to-work” laws have decimated worker representation and driven down wages, it is that attacking unions is also the best way to silence your critics. It has become standard training for every new conservative strategist: you cannot implement a cheap labour economy without neutralizing opposition.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has led the way byattacking the finances of any group or individual that dared to criticize his policies: de-funding church-based charities and immigrant advocacy organizations, smearing environmental groups and firing outspoken public servants. And now, Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak is taking a page from the Harper playbook by attacking unions.

Because unions have an independent source of funding they are far less susceptible to the state-sanctioned bullying and financial blackmail regularly meted out by governments in collusion with the corporate elite. By undermining dues collection at source, Hudak hopes to undermine workers’ ability to oppose his agenda.

Last month, Hudak released his party’s white paper on “Flexible Labour Markets” and, in doing so, opened up a new attack on generations of hard-fought workers’ rights. In seeking to repeal the Rand Formula, Hudak opens an affront on workers’ rights that even former premier Mike Harris was unwilling to touch. The Rand Formula is a basic tenet of workplace democracy that was secured nearly 60 years ago to ensure that all those in the workplace who benefit from the improved wages and benefits achieved by the union make the same financial contribution. While the law allows workers not to join a union, they are required to contribute to charity an amount equivalent to the dues paid by union members.
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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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