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Defend Public Healthcare: Collective bargaining in Ontario: New trends, new possibilities

New militancy: Recent strikes in the broader provincial public sector by 13,000 university teaching assistants and Community Care Access Centre employees (mostly RNs) suggest increased willingness of some broader public sector employees to strike to maintain and improve their working conditions.  Moreover the workers achieved some success in their strikes.  In the health care . . . → Read More: Defend Public Healthcare: Collective bargaining in Ontario: New trends, new possibilities

Defend Public Healthcare: Ontario’s economy improves. Will collective bargaining follow?

The Ontario Economy:  The 2015 Ontario Budget has revised the government’s real growth estimate up significantly from its 2014 Fall Economic Fiscal Outlook.  Real growth for 2014 is now put at 2.2% for 2014, up from the fall forecast of 1.9% and real growth for 2015 is forecast at 2.7%, up from from their fall . . . → Read More: Defend Public Healthcare: Ontario’s economy improves. Will collective bargaining follow?

Defending Public Healthcare: Provincial public sector wage increases less than private sector for fourth year

For the fourth consecutive year in a row, wage settlements in the broader provincial public sector (i.e. public sector workers, like hospital employees, who do not work for federal or municipal governments) fell below the wage settlements in the private sector.  In 2013, provincial public sector wage settlements averaged about 0.3% annually compared to . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Provincial public sector wage increases less than private sector for fourth year

Defending Public Healthcare: Public sector wages lag private sector

Conservatives often suggest that public sector settlements are out of whack with private sector settlements.

In fact, the evidence from Ontario over the last couple of decades proves the opposite. Public sector settlements have fallen behind private sector settlements.  Here is the data from the Ontario Ministry of Labour:

Percent increase Annual average . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Public sector wages lag private sector

Defending Public Healthcare: Public sector wages lag private sector

Conservatives often suggest that public sector settlements are out of whack with private sector settlements.

In fact, the evidence from Ontario over the last couple of decades proves the opposite. Public sector settlements have fallen behind private sector settlements.  Here is the data from the Ontario Ministry of Labour:

Percent increase Annual average . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Public sector wages lag private sector

Defending Public Healthcare: Management wage increases dwarf others

Earlier I noted that while the provincial government was imposing concessions (and wage freezes) on unionized public sector workers, the Conference Board of Canada was predicting 2.7% increases for non-union employees in Ontario in 2013 (up from 2.6% actual increases in 2012).

Now, Statistics Canada data suggests this may be part of a long . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Management wage increases dwarf others

Defending Public Healthcare: Attack on free collective bargaining political, not fiscal

In December, it was predicted that outgoing finance minister Dwight Duncan would   reduce his deficit forecast just before his departure (for Bay Street).  Duncan had somehow estimated in his fall economic statement that the 2012-3 deficit would be  $14.4 billion, i.e. higher than the 2011-12 deficit  — and even higher than the 2010-11 deficit!

Sure . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Attack on free collective bargaining political, not fiscal

Defending Public Healthcare: What’s $1.4 B? Well, it all depends who you are…

Auditor General Jim McCarter

The $1.4 billion in, mostly corporate, taxes that the Ontario Liberal government plans to walk away from (according to Auditor General), is exactly equal to the amount of money Finance Minister Dwight Duncan claims he absolutely has to save in the in the first year of the so called “provincial compensation . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: What’s $1.4 B? Well, it all depends who you are…

Defending Public Healthcare: Docs up $8,300 each in recent negotiations?

Dr. Michael Rachlis, a well known expert on the health care system, suggests there is more to the recent deal the province hatched with the Ontario Medical Association than has been reported. He estimates that increased utilization and “fee… . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Docs up $8,300 each in recent negotiations?

OPSEU Diablogue: OMA Deal: Surprise! Bargaining works

It’s a sign of our times when a simple labour agreement can be framed as a political triumph. The latest is news the Ontario Medical Association reached a deal with the provincial government this week on behalf of 25,000 doctors. … Continue rea… . . . → Read More: OPSEU Diablogue: OMA Deal: Surprise! Bargaining works

Defending Public Healthcare: OSSTF bargaining stops as OPSEU talks start

Negotiations between the government and OSSTF (the union representing public secondary school teachers) have ended.  Harvey Bischof, vice president for the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, told the Ottawa Citizen that t… . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: OSSTF bargaining stops as OPSEU talks start

Defending Public Healthcare: Liberal excuse for ending collective bargaining in tatters

September was a big month for collective agreement settlements in Ontario and the wage settlements fell, according to the government of Ontario.  Public sector settlements for 36,348 workers saw annual average wage increases of 0.6%.  This o… . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Liberal excuse for ending collective bargaining in tatters

Defending Public Healthcare: Will Liberal leadership candidates support free collective bargaining?

Both of the key architects of the Liberal government’s attack on free collective bargaining are as good as gone.  McGuinty will be gone January 26 and Finance Minister Dwight Duncan has indicated he will likely be gone from the Finance Ministry right about the same time.

The Liberal party has badly stumbled over its attack . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Will Liberal leadership candidates support free collective bargaining?

Defending Public Healthcare: Politics, not deficits, behind attack on collective bargaining

Before the Liberals started attacking collective bargaining, they proposed a wage freeze in the summer of 2010.  The unions duly met with the government over the summer of 2010 to discuss this. While there was no agreement, settlements funded by the province have now moderated significantly. But since that time the Liberals have sharpened their . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Politics, not deficits, behind attack on collective bargaining

Defending Public Healthcare: Are public sector cuts ‘tame’ compared to private sector?

Dwight Duncan claimed yesterday that compared to the belt-tightening endured by workers in the private sector, his legislation restricting collective bargaining in the public sector “is tame stuff”.

Sounds like a claim worth investigating.

Wages are the most important single item bargained — for both workers and employers. So it’s a pretty good way . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Are public sector cuts ‘tame’ compared to private sector?

Defending Public Healthcare: Corporate bosses excluded from cuts. But not their employees

No surprise here — but the bosses of the for-profit corporations that provide long term care and home care services funded by the public sector are excluded from the Protecting Public Services legislation proposed today by the Liberal government (as set out in schedule 1 of the Public Sector Compensation Restraint Act, 2012).

Also no surprise . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Corporate bosses excluded from cuts. But not their employees

Defending Public Healthcare: Ontario hospitals oppose wage cap

It’s not often that Ontario hospitals express opposition to government policy publicly. But the government’s new cap on public sector executive pay of $418,000 (annually) has caused them to come out and release a public statement expressing their “extreme disappointment.”

“This is another example of the Government of Ontario and legislators devaluing the work and . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Ontario hospitals oppose wage cap

Defending Public Healthcare: Liberals threaten to bring back interest arbitration legislation

A senior Liberal official has said the government will bring back the interest arbitration legislation that was defeated when the government brought in its Budget bill earlier this year.  “We’ll be taking action and reintroducing the sections of the budget bill that Hudak instructed his party’s members to vote against, even though it was in . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Liberals threaten to bring back interest arbitration legislation

Defending Public Healthcare: Is the Ontario government fiscal crisis phony?

The Ontario government claimed in July that the first year of its so-called “compensation freeze” would save $1.4 billion. It now claims  that the province’s results for the 2011-12 fiscal year were $3.3 billion ahead of the plan projected in the 2011 Budget.  This, the government says, will result in absolutely no change in their . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Is the Ontario government fiscal crisis phony?

Defending Public Healthcare: Liberal threat to broader public sector remains vague

Last week Dalton McGuinty hinted that he would bring in legislation affecting collective bargaining across the public sector and now the Globe and Mail reports the government “plans to introduce legislation that would freeze wages for all workers who bargain collectively in the public sector.”

The government has been reasonably clear that it will legislate . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Liberal threat to broader public sector remains vague

Defending Public Healthcare: McGuinty: more legislation targeting public sector coming

The Liberal plan to obtain a majority by targeting public sector workers went askew last night, with the Liberals falling to a distant third place in the Kitchener-Waterloo by-election.

But they are not deterred in their chosen path. After the defeat, Dalton McGuinty promised to continue pushing his current bill imposing concessions on school . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: McGuinty: more legislation targeting public sector coming

Defending Public Healthcare: McGuinty: a second legislative attack on collective bargaining?

Dalton McGuinty has once again inserted himself into the collective bargaining process and given the union representing over 11,000 “professional” and “supervisory” civil servants until September 9th to settle their collective agreement.    Or else.  The government and the union, AMAPCEO, have been in bargaining since July 3.  Apparently, the government believes two months is enough . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: McGuinty: a second legislative attack on collective bargaining?

Defending Public Healthcare: McGuinty neatly stokes interest arbitration campaign

Dalton McGuinty has craftily stoked his campaign to change the rules for interest arbitration — the system imposed on essential service workers who are forbidden by law from striking to settle collective bargaining disputes.

The Liberals had tried to tilt the system in favour of the employers in their Budget Bill in early summer.  But . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: McGuinty neatly stokes interest arbitration campaign

Defending Public Healthcare: Another McGuinty fib? Restraint "just for a couple of years"

This morning while touring a french catholic school, Dalton McGunity said that restraint was “just for a couple of years”.

That is not the official Liberal plan. The Liberal finance’s minister’s July statement proposes a compensation freeze (including benefits) for new collective agreements. Even progress through an established wage grid “must be fully offset . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Another McGuinty fib? Restraint "just for a couple of years"

Defending Public Healthcare: When a wage freeze is not a wage freeze

In its dispute with teachers, the Ontario Liberal government sometimes tries to claim that one union’s offer of a wage freeze is not in fact a wage freeze.

The rationale here is that even though no teacher would get a general wage increase for two years, some junior teachers would progress up the wage grid . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: When a wage freeze is not a wage freeze