The teachers’ dispute and the war on wages

By Thomas Walkom | Published December 19, 2012 by The Toronto Star

The one-day teachers’ strikes are coming to an end. What’s next?

For teachers, the new year will almost certainly include government-imposed contracts and the suspension of their right to strike for 24 months.

For other public sector workers, this is their likely future as well. The Liberal government didn’t have time to eliminate their bargaining rights before Premier Dalton McGuinty abruptly prorogued the Legislature this fall.

But barring an ideological conversion of Biblical proportions, whoever replaces McGuinty is likely to follow his lead.

For unionized workers who are not employed by government, the attack on public sector unions is a moment of truth.

When Bob Rae’s New Democratic Party government overrode collective agreements in 1993, many private sector unions — including the Steelworkers and my union, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers — broke with their public sector counterparts to support the NDP regime.

The essence of their argument would be familiar today: private sector workers had already suffered from what was, at the time, the biggest recession since the 1930s; therefore, public sector workers had to sacrifice as well.

Read more: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1304788–walkom-the-teachers-dispute-and-the-war-on-wages

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