McGuinty gov’t cuts a secret deal with public sector union

Call it a breach of public trust, dishonesty, desperation, alleged bribery, alleged corruption, or all of the above. The Ontario Progressive Conservative (PC) Party is reporting that the Ontario McGuinty Liberal government has signed a secret deal with the Ontario public sector union, OPSEU, to give their members a guaranteed raise — AFTER the October 6th, 2011 election is over.

So, now we know that most, if not all, of Ontario’s public sector unions will be trashing the PCs at every turn over the next five months. I mean, we already knew that the Ontario teachers’ unions will be spending $3 million dollars to try to get the McGuinty caucus re-elected. We also knew that many of the public sector unions are part of the “Working Families Coalition.”  

However, as far as OPSEU goes, officials and members have been quiet — and isn’t that the point. They can help out simply by not rocking the boat so that McGuinty can brag that there was public sector union peace during both his majority mandates. Of course, what McGuinty won’t say is how his government got that peace —  by giving the unions whatever they wanted — with taxpayers money.

The Ontario PC news release states:

Records from the Ontario Labour Relations Board reveal that Dalton McGuinty cut a secret deal with leaders of the Ontario Public Sector Employees Union (OPSEU) to give 38,000 employees an additional 1 percent top up to their salaries, and then hired lawyers to try to bury the evidence. Yesterday, a Dalton McGuinty spokesperson defended this breach of the public trust saying other unions would have demanded more in their collective agreements too, had they known about the secret sweetheart deal.”

So, now Ontarians will know precisely why the Ontario election is going to be even nastier than the recent federal campaign. PC Leader Tim Hudak, his team and supporters like myself, will be fighting uphill against the wind of an entrenched entitlement culture. 

Meaning that all Ontarians had better remember the old saying: He who pays the piper plays the tune.

Five more months to another Conservative majority government, this time at Queen’s Park. Things come in threes: Doug Ford was elected Mayor of Toronto.  Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party were given a majority mandate this week. And, Tim Hudak will soon be the next Premier of Ontario with a majority government of between 65 and 70 seats.

12 thoughts on “McGuinty gov’t cuts a secret deal with public sector union

  1. I would be curious to know what the BCGEU was promised by Libs or NDP here in B.C. BCGEU sent out 22,000 letters to all members of the British Columbia gov’t employees union, the last week of the election campaign, telling them to vote NDP and were specific to the candidate in each riding. As each was an individually mailed letter, the cost would have been huge to the union. Wonder what their motive was for doing this? It would take some brave and diligent journalist to do the homework that’s been done in Ontario.
    A complaint has already been filed with Elections Canada regarding Randall Garrison’s campaign as the cap for third party support in each riding is $3700.00. It does not appear that BCGEU is a REGISTERED third party. Any comments?


  2. jmw — Interesting allegations. Perhaps other BCrs can comment on this — but carefully — since I know nothing about this and am not a professional journalist. Meaning, I do not have the legal protection of a newspaper or network. So, I would ask commenters to use the word “alleged.”


  3. “Unions supporting the NDP? When did that start? Oh ya 1961.

    Unions simply feel that the NDP vision of public policy is closer to theirs than the other parties. I know that it sticks in the craw of non-NDP union members that the union can spend their dues on the NDP and some even see public sector union dues as public money. The courts as we have said before, have felt otherwise including the Supreme Court.


  4. Can you blame them after Bob Rae and Mike Harris? The PCs and NDP are only now beginning to live down those two governments.


  5. Doug — Give me a break! That is not about supporting the Liberal Party as with the NDP. That is secret deals while saying they expected austerity measures to be taken by OPSEU. That is called breaking the public trust and lying. Pure and simple.

    Pissedoff — Please debate the issues. I will have to edit your comment.


  6. Doug — You ask, can you blame them? Yes, I can. We have a huge deficit. We are now a have-not province. They don’t need a 1% raise across the board. Rather, they could be a part of the solution instead of being part of the problem — the problem being McGuinty can’t say no to them.


  7. McGuinty has a huge deficit and Harper has a huge deficit for exactly the same reason, they both used massive stimulus to fight the total collapse of the economy. They should both get credit for it.

    The unions had nothing to do with the collapse of the system, that was greed on Wall Street. They should not be asked to pay for a crisis they did not instigate.

    Voluntary wage freezes are a joke, legislated wage freezes are now basically illegal as the government can no longer open contracts. There is only one way to slow wage growth, hard bargaining lockouts, strikes, which create chaos and deep seated resentment that is not forgotten when elections come around again. Unions will empty the piggy bank to keep Hudak out as we all know. They believe he hates them and will attempt to control wages pensions etc. That is naturally viewed by union members as an eistential threat to their standard of living. They will naturally turn and fight that with everything they have. Just telling it the way it is with no sugar coating.

    Unions, leaders and members feel totally blameless and scapegoated.


  8. Doug — “They should not be asked to pay for a crisis they did not instigate.” Good lord man, talk about an entitlement attitude. The worst part of it is you actually believe that. Who created the crisis is totally irrelevant. They are public sector employees. They do not automatically have entitlements that no one else has in the private sector. Yikes! It’s called social responsibility. No one is asking them to take pay cuts. Only that they don’t need raises when the money is not there on top of the ELP.

    Scapegoated? Speak to people who have lost their jobs and houses because of the downturn. Yours is truly magical thinking if I ever heard it. I just don’t know how to debate with you because implicit in everything you say is that somehow public sector workers deserve everything they get, no matter what other priorities might be.

    Try as I might Doug, and I like you as a person, I just can’t understand where you are coming from. We obviously live in parallel universes. Better if you started your own blog (apart from your website that doesn’t allow comments) and debated with people on the left of the spectrum because I and most of my readers are in the middle or slightly to the right, at least fiscally.


  9. Public sector workers are blameless in the situation and should not be asked to contribute to the deficit situation even one little bit. They set a fine example in Canada and the USA by cutting the taxes of rich people and corporation in the same breath as wage restraint and then talk about shared sacrifice. If you ask 1000 teachers, OPSEU or CUPE members at random if they feel that they have contributed to the crisis and if they believe that they ought to show wage restraint to help with the deficit you will not get 1% to agree. It is not the union leaders alone. They reflect a membership that feels totally blameless. Most teachers feel profoundly underpaid and overworked.

    Asking them to make a five cent contribution to the problem is asking too much. Luckily we now have the Rob Ford 11% contract with the police as the labour model for the province. Arbitrators will love this one.


  10. Yes, Doug, Torontonians are very disappointed with Ford. But, with the Police Services Board, I don’t know how much influence he has. It’s madness nonetheless. But, yes, I have to agree, Arbitrators are going to be happy with that one.


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