Skip to main content

When a wage freeze is not a wage freeze

In its dispute with teachers, the Ontario Liberal government sometimes tries to claim that one union's offer of a wage freeze is not in fact a wage freeze.

The rationale here is that even though no teacher would get a general wage increase for two years, some junior teachers would progress up the wage grid as they accumulate service.

This is an unusual take on wages.  And as noted in an earlier post, it is particularly peculiar point for the Liberals to harp on as they actually have agreed to service based pay increases in their deal with the catholic teachers association.

But the Liberal argument is also a rather one-sided interpretation of a wage freeze.

Pay based on service doesn't just go up -- it also goes down.  Pay based on service gradually increases as junior workers gain experience, but it also falls sharply when senior workers retire or quit and are replaced by a new worker.  The "gradual increase" and the "sharp fall" in pay is especially true for professions (like teaching) which have long, multi-year pay grids with a large wage differentiation between junior and senior employees.

If changes in service based pay don't even out for an employer in any given year, it will even out over time: older workers will sooner or later be replaced by younger workers.  The government knows this.  But that doesn't stop the Liberals.

If they want to freeze wages, one could just as easily ask why don't they freeze wages at the rates of the teachers who are retiring, rather than bring in teachers earning much less. But no, the Liberals only want to freeze the increases, not the decreases.

One might also ask why the Liberals think it is right to pay workers doing the same job so much less based largely on the age of the workers.

Finally it is interesting to note that the Liberal approach did not hamper the brand new tentative agreement between the colleges and their teachers, which  -- according to the colleges -- continues service based pay increases and imposes no concessions on the teachers.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Health care funding falls, again

Real provincial government health care funding per-person has fallen again this year in Ontario, the third year in a row.  Since 2009 real funding per-person has fallen 2.6% -- $63 per person. 

Across Canada real per person funding is in its fourth consecutive year of increase. Since 2009, real provincial funding across Canada is up $89 -- 3.6%.
In fact the funding gap between Ontario and Canada as a whole has gown consistently for years (as set out below in current dollars).

Ontario funds health care less than any other province -- indeed, the province that funds health care the second least (B.C.) provides $185 more per person per year, 4.7% more.  
Provincial health care spending in the rest of Canada (excluding Ontario) is now  $574 higher per person annually than in Ontario. 

 Ontario has not always provided lower than average health care funding increases-- but that has been the general pattern since 2005.
Private expenditures on health care have exceeded Ontario government increases …

Ontario long-term care staffing falls far short of other provinces

CUPE and others are campaigning for a legislated minimum average of four worked hours of nursing and personal care per resident per day in long-term care (LTC) facilities.  New research indicates that not only is LTC underfunded in Ontario, it is also understaffed compared to the other provinces. 
LTC staffing falls short:  The latest data published by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (and based on a mandatory survey undertaken by Statistics Canada) indicates that staffing at long-term care (LTC) facilities falls far short of other provinces. 
Part of this is driven by a low level of provincial funding for LTC.





Ontario has 0.575 health care full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) per bed staffed and in operation.[1]  The rest of Canada reports 0.665 health care FTEs.[2] The rest of Canada has 15.7% more health care staff per bed staffed and in operation than Ontario.[3] 


No other province reports fewer LTC health care staff per resident (or per bed) than Ontario.[4]

Occupancy r…

Six more problems with Public Private Partnerships (P3s)

The Auditor General (AG) has again identified issues in her annual reportwhich reflect problems with Ontario health care capacity and privatization.   First, here are six key problems with the maintenance of the 16 privatized P3 ("public private partnership") hospitals in Ontario:
There are long-term ongoing disputes with privatized P3 contractors over the P3 agreements, including about what is covered by the P3  (or “AFP” as the government likes to call them) contract.The hospitals are required to pay higher than reasonable rates tothe P3 contractor for  maintenance work the contractor has deemed to be outside of the P3 contract. Hospitals are almost forced to use P3 contractors to do maintenance work the contractors deem outside of the P3 contract or face the prospect of transferring the risk associated with maintaining the related hospital assets from the private-sector company back to the hospitalP3 companies with poor perf…