11/6/12

Tiny cracks appear in Liberal attack on collective bargaining

After the architects of the Liberal attack on collective bargaining (Premier McGuinty and Finance Minister Dwight Duncan) announced their exit from provincial politics, the first, very modest, move away from their policy has appeared.

Kathleen Wynne
The Globe reports that leadership candidate Kathleen Wynne says she will not introduce broader public sector legislation:

“She distanced herself from Premier Dalton McGuinty, who has spent much of this year fighting with the province’s teachers and doctors, by saying she would not pursue his plans to introduce legislation that would freeze wages for public-sector workers for two years.”
Albeit, they quote her saying:

“My hope is we would see more negotiated settlements, and that the imposition of collective agreements wouldn’t be necessary. It would be moot.”

McGunity had unveiled (but had not introduced to the legislature) legislation in late September that would have stopped free collective bargaining in the broader public sector (the so-called "Protecting Public Services Act").  After that proposal failed to gain traction, McGuinty and Duncan announced they would go.

Less encouragingly, Wynne says she won’t withdraw the recently passed legislation which attacks collective bargaining in the school board sector. She says of the school board legislation:

"The legislation is in place, and there are conversations going on between teachers and boards right now...What I know is that we need to rebuild those relationships, and if I'm lucky enough to be the leader of the party, then that is something that I will be focusing on is rebuilding those relationships."

Also less encouraging, Glen Murray released a five point program at his leadership campaign launch, but none dealt with collective bargaining.  While the media focused on collective bargaining with Wynne's campaign launch, there was no comment in the coverage of Murray's launch.  Perhaps no one asked.

CUPE health care workers are currently lobbying dozens of MPPs to support free collective bargaining and a balanced interest arbitration system in health care.

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