Clark to Premier: Are you for Union Bosses or Workers?
19 July 2012
“Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak’s proposals to curtail union powers that are damaging our economy and wasting taxpayers’ money couldn’t have come at a better time.”
- Toronto Sun editorial, July 6, 2012
QUEEN’S PARK – Businesses can create hope for the 600,000 unemployed Ontarians, but the McGuinty Liberals must first bring the province’s labour laws into the 21st century, instead of protecting the out-of-control powers of union bosses, said Ontario PC MPP Steve Clark.
“Since the PCs’ second white paper came out, Premier Dalton McGuinty has been happy to keep silent and maintain the status quo, despite growing support for our proposed labour reforms,” Clark said. “It’s time he got serious about job creation and supported workers instead of union bosses. It’s time he engaged in the debate on modernizing Ontario’s labour laws and institutions.”
Paths to Prosperity: Flexible Labour Markets proposes bold labour reforms to make union leaders more accountable by putting choice back in the hands of members. In particular, it recommends ensuring workers are not forced to join a union and pay dues – or be fired. “The Premier needs to tell Ontarians where he stands on this issue: does he side with the worker or the union bosses?” said Clark.
“Judging by the responses of people like Sid Ryan, our paper is making them nervous,” Clark continued. “They’re fear mongering by saying our proposals will drive Ontarians into poverty. But the public knows better. Under the status quo, we’ve lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs in the last nine years, and Ontario had the worst wage growth among the provinces at just 0.1 per cent last year. We need a new path.”
“Unions now contribute their members’ hard-earned dues to fringe causes like student protesters in Quebec, regardless of whether or not their workers agree.” Union leaders, not employers, should be responsible for collecting dues from members, and must fully disclose how they spend their funds.”
McGuinty can no longer hide from the facts, Clark said. The U.S. states that adopted similar labour reforms saw 11 per cent higher income growth, 11 per cent higher economic growth and a three per cent increase in employment growth between 2001 and 2010.
“In jurisdictions like the U.K. and Australia, we’ve seen how workers benefit when union membership is voluntary,” stated Clark. “Often, there are multiple unions competing to represent workers at one workplace, resulting in better service for workers and their money.
“Our province is in a jobs crisis. We need an integrated, pro-growth plan that reduces the size and cost of government and gets the economy going again.” Clark concluded. “If the Premier is out of ideas, the Ontario PCs will continue to bring forward our own proposals to create jobs.”