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Showing posts from April, 2015

Collective bargaining in Ontario: New trends, new possibilities

New militancy: Recent strikes in the broader provincial public sector by 13,000 university teaching assistants and Community Care Access Centre employees (mostly RNs) suggest increased willingness of some broader public sector employees to strike to maintain and improve their working conditions.  Moreover the workers achieved some success in their strikes.  In the health care sector, the Health Minister, Eric Hoskins, felt it necessary to publicly call for the negotiations to be settled by interest arbitration.  Shortly after this, a leading arbitrator awarded both of the proposals (wage proposals) demanded by the union.
Both of the recent Teaching Assistant strikes at York and the University of Toronto put paid to the government's idea of "net zero" compensation increases, at least in the university sector, as the strikes made progress for those workers. Provincially coordinated teacher strikes are now underway to deal with the government's demands as well.  

Clearly …

Ontario's economy improves. Will collective bargaining follow?

The Ontario Economy:  The 2015 Ontario Budget has revised the government's real growth estimate up significantly from its 2014 Fall Economic Fiscal Outlook.  Real growth for 2014 is now put at 2.2% for 2014, up from the fall forecast of 1.9% and real growth for 2015 is forecast at 2.7%, up from their fall forecast of 2.4%.  Both of these forecasts are slightly lower than the forecasts from the banks and other private sector forecasters. 

With lower oil prices and a lower dollar, Ontario is now growing faster than the rest of Canada.

Substantial Real Growth -- but who benefits?  Seven years ago (starting the latter half of 2008) there was a recession in Ontario.  It ended six years ago when economic growth began again in the third quarter of 2009 (i.e. July-Sept 2009).  Since that time there has been significant economic growth, placing the Ontario economy well above its pre-recession high.

Ontario, Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
($ Billions)
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Real GDP (chained …