Tim Hudak should remain firm on “Right to Work” option!

Update January 23rd, 2014 — 5pm: Good news! ONPC Leader Tim Hudak is standing firm on the Right To Work option. For proof, check out Dave Brister’s Twitter account. Two days ago, on January 21st, Brister tweeted that he did not support the RTW platform. Subsequently, on the same day, he also tweeted that he was no longer the PC candidate for Essex. Meaning, Hudak acted quickly and fired him. Now, that’s leadership!!

Surely Brister must have known, or should have known, that all candidates are expected to support everything in a party’s platform — and that caucus solidarity and discipline has nothing to do with being followers rather than leaders. Moreover, there is only one leader. So, whether a nominated candidate or an elected MPP, if he didn’t know, he should have known, you don’t question your colleagues or leader publicly. Ever! The phrase that comes to mind regarding Brister’s tweets is “loose cannon.”

However, this post is still relevant as it is a reminder to any other potential naysayers or nervous nellies within the PC Party, why the RTW policy is so important to its future success, not only as a “conservative” party but as a winning party.

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Tell me it isn’t so that Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak is about to do a John Tory and backtrack on a flagship election policy  because some nervous nellies  (*) are concerned that it is controversial and potentially divisive.

In 2007, it was the faith-based funding policy. Tory ticked off the far right in the PC party by introducing the policy in the first place because it was too progressive. Then, he ticked off most of the rest in the party when he changed his mind.  PC voters stayed home in droves.

This time, the policy at stake is the PC flagship Right to Work (RTW) policy — the very idea that has re-motivated thousands of former PCs to return to the fold.

Yes, the one million job plan is positive and a vote getter but it will get lost in the criticisms if Hudak backs down on the PC flagship pro-worker option. As one of my regular commenters wrote earlier today, union members need not fear this potential legislation because it puts them in the driver’s seat.

Yet, unfortunately, Hudak seems to have already started the backtracking. For example, here is a Globe and Mail column from a week ago written by Adam Radwanski that indicates there is some questioning going on, as does this column by Christina Blizzard in today’s Ottawa Sun (H/T Bonefishcove).

Surely, as Radwanski suggests, Hudak learned something from losing in 2011. And all those nervous nellies should think back to 1995. You talk about controversial! The Mike Harris team were loud and clear that if elected with a majority government, the PCs would reduce welfare rates by 21% and insist that recipients either work or go back to school.

The media went nuts. One man followed Harris around to every single press conference dressed as a convict with a ball and chain attached to his foot. Yet, what happened? Did it polarize? Of course. But, the PCs won a huge majority! As John Tory found out in 2007 and Hudak in 2011, if voters want wishy washy, they vote Liberal — with disastrous consequences unfortunately!

Anyway, regarding RTW, what is it about democracy in the workplace that scares union bosses so much? The loss of power? The loss of respect? The loss of solidarity?

Well, we are in a new century. If the shoe no longer fits, they need to come up with a new design that allows more freedom of movement. Need solidarity and unity? Then, unions should be spending their money, not on ways to defeat Tim Hudak and his PCs, but on how to make membership in their unions so desirable that no one will ever want to opt out?

The crux of the matter is that Hudak needs to remain firm on keeping the RTW legislative option in the PC election platform. (5pm: Hudak “is” remaining firm. See update above).

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* Endnote: It was former PM Jean Chretien who made famous the term “nervous nellies” in describing his Liberal caucus just prior to the 1993 federal election campaign.

Why are Ontario media & unions so afraid of “Right To Work” legislation?

Today the Sun’s Christine Blizzard mentions that Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader is having a bad week because there is allegedly disagreement in his PC caucus about the “Right to Work” legislative option in their platform. Why I can’t image given the whole notion of right to work is to give every single member the option in order to get and keep a specific job.

Why would any sensible person disagree with democracy within the labour movement?

Which brings me to the one question I have for union bosses who hate the ONPC policy that proposes “Right to Work legislation for Ontario workersWhat are you so afraid of?

If your union members are happy with what you are doing, why would they ever consider opting out? If, however, they are not happy with what you are doing and how you are spending their dues, why is it that you demand and expect compelled subservience? If solidarity and unity is so important, is there nothing you can do or change that would motivate your membership to want membership in your union?

The crux of the matter is that Ontario, like the rest of Canada, is a democracy. It is a democracy except for union membership. In my opinion, then, I think Hudak, and his PC candidates, should deal with this policy head on in both the Niagara Falls, Thornhill by-elections.

So, I ask again: When it comes to “Right to Work” legislation, what are the unions  bosses afraid of?

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H/T Bonefishcove for the idea for this post.

The notion of “Union Advantage” is simply economic magical thinking!

So, the union movements in both Canada and the U.S. think fast food workers should get increases from minimum wage to $15.00 an hour. In principle, that is not a bad idea given more and more people find themselves working full-time for such employers.

However, where is the extra money going to come from? Private companies are not non-profit. They are in business to make money and profit and there is nothing wrong with that.

That is what stimulates the economy and allows corporations to expand, allowing even more people to be employed.

Look, I am neither an economist or a union hater. I am just an ordinary citizen and taxpayer who has real concerns that unions, be they public or private sector, have lost touch with reality and what their mandate is supposed to be.

Originally, they represented voices of reason because workers needed protection from exploitive and abusive employers and unsafe working conditions. Yet, now, both in Canada and the U.S., they are trying to tell fast food owners and other employers that higher wages will grow the economy.

Talk about magical thinking!

As a retired educator, who belonged to several unions over my career, I was always thankful and appreciative of what union officials did for their members. In fact, for many years I was the union rep for my school.

But, let’s face it, during the 70s, 80s and 90s, union demands and bargaining was reasonable, not over the top as they are now. In fact, I would go so far as to say, the ideology of entitlement and the unwillingness to compromise, has become so out of touch with reality, that it will likely result in the decline of unions — as noted with right to work legislation in the U.S.

I mean, how many companies have gone out of business simply because unions wouldn’t compromise? In fact, I have heard comments from union workers, that they would rather be unemployed than take pay cuts.

Yet, it seems that union officials and union hard liners are in minority given that more and more union members are dropping their memberships when given the chance?

Terence Corcoran hits the nail on the head today with his excellent column in the Financial Post. He is right. When union officials and union economists start making claims that higher wages will bring about social and economic growth, you have to know they are out of touch with reality. They can call it the “union advantage” all they want, as Corcoran says, such an idea is simply a perversion of economic theory.