“As Tory MPP Peter Shurman rightly quipped following the latest union attacks on Hudak’s plan, ‘when (they) say we’re wrong, you know we’re on the right path.’ Exactly.”
- Toronto Sun editorial, July 6, 2012
QUEEN’S PARK – Ontarians will thrive in a future of balanced budgets, lower taxes, affordable energy and a well-educated, competitive workforce, but to get there, we must modernize Ontario’s antiquated workplace laws and regulations – starting by making public sector union officials more financially accountable, Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak said today.
“Public sector unions have grown too big and powerful,” Hudak said. “It’s as though government has become its own special interest group at the expense of the broader economy. As evidence, we’ve lost 300, 000 manufacturing jobs while adding 300, 000 bureaucratic gorvernment jobs.
“While that’s bad news for taxpayers who have to foot the bill for this continued overspending, it is a boon for the union bosses who are only interested in protecting their privileges and raking in more mandatory dues,” Hudak added.
Worse, Hudak said, taxpayers are on the hook to subsidize public sector union activities because the government collects their dues for them through automatic payroll deductions.
That’s why Path to Prosperity: Flexible Labour Markets proposes that union bosses, not employers, should collect dues from the workers they represent. The provincial government should lead the way by ending these automatic paycheque deductions. Private sector employers should have the option.
“Taxpayers currently have to pay for the administrative overhead required to handle paycheque deductions for a million-strong public sector workforce. We need to get rid of this taxpayer subsidy which enables unions to finance fringe causes that their own members may strongly disagree with.”
“In the face of a $30-billion deficit – while spending $10.6 billion each year on debt interest payments alone – every dollar we spend helping union bosses skim public sector employees’ paycheques is a dollar we can’t spend on health care, education and infrastructure,” Hudak noted, adding that the United Kingdom, Michigan and Florida have all passed laws prohibiting the taxpayer-funded collection of union dues.
The system amounts to letting unions levy their own tax – unique outside of government – while allowing union bosses to avoid accountability for the use of their members’ dues by not having to collect the money themselves, Hudak added.
“The world has changed, and our economy has changed, but old public sector union attitudes – sheltered from competition and business risk – have not. Judging by the response to our white paper from some union bosses, that’s the way they want to keep it.
“Well, it’s not what Ontarians want. They want modernized workplace rules that put competitiveness and job creation ahead of union featherbedding,” Hudak concluded.