Hudak declares war on Ontario workers

July 5, 2012 at 8:11pm

Hudak is taking aim at Ontario workers, whom he blames for his loss in last fall’s provincial election.Recently, Hudak released a 20-page paper calling for more ‘flexible labour markets.’ In the document, Hudak touts right-wing Republican Right to Work legislation that strips workers of their democratic right to bargain with their employers, allowing those employers to drive down wages and working conditions. It also allows workers to benefit from union-negotiated wages and benefits, without having to pay union dues, leading to the erosion of bargaining units and eventually – no more union.

When Hudak calls for a ‘flexible work force’ what he really means is low wages, no benefits and a return to sweatshops. And he isn’t stopping there. He is attacking the WSIB and claiming that private insurance companies would somehow benefit injured workers. But Ontario’s injured workers are already familiar with the deep cuts made to their benefits during Harris’s Conservative regime of the 90s, of which Hudak was a part. Allowing private companies into the mix would only further deny workers their rightful benefits and add hardship to those who are injured or ill.

Even the World Bank confirms that by every meaningful economic indicator, countries with higher rates of unionization have lower unemployment and inflation, higher productivity and speedier adjustments to economic shocks. By raising the bar on wages, benefits and working conditions, Labour Unions establish new and fair standards for all workers. As a result, families have more money to spend on services and small businesses that help the economy thrive.

Hudak revealed his agenda against workers when he blamed Caterpillar’s decision to close its London plant, and move to the now Right to Work state of Indiana, on the higher wages paid to skilled Canadian manufacturing workers at the London plant. Hudak’s solution is to slash the wages of all Ontario workers and dismantle our social safety net.

“Ontarians rejected Hudak/Harris-like policies in the last election and we are not about to accept even worse policies now,” said Shawn Haggerty, president of UFCW Local 175, the largest private sector Local Union in Canada. “Workers in Ontario – unionized or not – are not willing to participate in a race to the bottom – a race to their own destruction. Workers want – and deserve – to maintain a decent standard of living with fair wages, benefits, pension plans and a secure future for their children.”