Unions Must Adapt the Way Businesses Do: Hudak
24 July 2012
The best argument OFL leader Sid Ryan seemed to offer against the proposed Tory changes was the tired “race to the bottom” slogan. Hudak cracked in a recent op-ed piece for another newspaper: “I regret to advise that we are already in a race to the bottom – and, unfortunately, we’re winning.”
- Chris Vander Doelen, The Windsor Star, July 20, 2012
NEPEAN – Ontario can again lead Canada in competitiveness by getting our economic fundamentals right – and a key step is for union leaders to show the same responsiveness to our modern economy that businesses demonstrate every day, PC Leader Tim Hudak said today.
Hudak made the comments following a For Jobs and Our Economy roundtable meeting with small businesspeople in Nepean. The area has struggled under Ontario’s tough economy, with 46,000 jobless in the Ottawa Region.
Last month, Hudak unveiled Paths to Prosperity: Flexible Labour Markets – the second in a series of PC discussion papers on bold new ideas for creating jobs. The series complements other elements of Hudak’s pro-growth plan for Ontario, which includes lower taxes on job-creating businesses, more affordable energy, reducing the regulatory burden and reining in government overspending with measures like a mandatory, across-the-board public sector wage freeze.
“The world has changed, and our economy has changed with it,” Hudak said. “But the union bosses have not. Their mindset dates back to the 1940s – an age of rotary phones and typewriters – when we faced little competition and investment capital wasn’t nearly as mobile as it is now. Today’s workforce is also better educated and trained, more mobile, and faces greater time pressures and a need for more flexible work arrangements.”
Yet Ontario public sector unions especially remain resistant to change, Hudak said, and are sheltered by a government that refuses to get serious about wage restraint: “A leading example is the deal reached with the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association, which the Liberals falsely suggest includes a wage freeze. In fact they have not frozen the salary grid – allowing continued upward movement on their pay scale – as much as $7,000 in two years.”
Hudak said if the Liberals replicated this failure across all teachers’ unions, it would cost taxpayers $438 million over two years. “This is why we have pushed hard for a mandatory, legislated public sector wage freeze that would save Ontarians $2 billion a year.”
Hudak acknowledged that his wage freeze plan, together with Paths to Prosperity: Flexible Labour Markets, are controversial ideas. “But under the status quo, 600,000 Ontarians are unemployed. We’ve lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs in nine years. And wage growth is dead last among all provinces. It’s time for a new direction for Ontario.”