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Betwixt amusement and outrage: boss & worker wages

It is, perhaps, amusing to see the various top public sector bosses and  mucky-mucks caught with their hands in the cookie jar: the $81,250 bonus for the e-Health boss approved by the eHealth board (and then turned down when the public looked like it might be ready for a lynching), the new $428,000 annual contract for the Deputy Minister of Health and LTC, the $1.4 million salary for the former boss of ORNGE air ambulance, the revelation yesterday that 98% of Ontario Public Services managers are also getting a bonus, with the average bonus equal to $4,091.95, or 3.6% of salary.  (And one does wonder about boss bonuses in the hospital sector too...)

It's less amusing when you recall that these same people are ramming contract concessions and compensation freezes down the throats of their subordinates.

Despite the protestations otherwise, many top public sector bosses have managed to wheedle  themselves an awful lot more gold in the last decade or two -- just as the captains of private industry have done.   Meanwhile, real wages for workers have stagnated for the last 30 years.  In the last few years, collective agreement settlements haven't kept pace with inflation, and now employers (government included) are demanding  takeaways from workers.

The result?  Dramatically increased social inequality, reaching record levels probably not seen since before the unionization of industrial workers in the 1940s.  Between 1997 and 2007, 32% of all income growth went to the top 1%.  In the 1950s and 1960s, the top 1% only got 8% of income growth.

Apparently, the push working people face is not to depress incomes in general, it's to drive down the wages of workers.   This while The Few see their take rise and rise -- be they top public sector bosses or private sector owners.

It's good to see the top public sector bosses are under a little bit of heat right now for their salaries and perks, but much larger private sector CEO incomes have faced not much opposition (even when  they layoff workers and run down wages).

We will see if the top bosses, public and private, can maintain their drive to grab more and more.  Or if working people and their unions can force a fairer distribution.


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