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WATCH: Tories want to have option to contract out government services

The premier calls it "magical thinking"

He was behind contracting out garbage in Etobicoke when he was a mayor of the then-Toronto suburb, now Tory MPP Doug Holyday wants the province to look into something similar for jobs now held by public sector workers.

He's introducing a private member's bill on the matter.

The Tories say it would save the province money if unions and private companies competed for contracts.

Holyday says there should be an annual report on the matter to show savings. He outlines healthcare, education and police positions would be off the table on this.

That would leave maintenance and administration positions.

The province doesn't seem to be ready to pounce on this, with the Premier calling the proposal vague and anti-union.

Holyday stresses it isn't an anti-union move given private companies are often unionized.

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  1. Frankie posted on 02/19/2014 02:56 PM
    The Liberals can't go along with this because it would deny their prostituting themselves with our tax dollars to public sector unions for their votes.

    Just another example of how corrupt and morally bankrupt the Liberals are.
  2. john posted on 02/19/2014 02:59 PM
    the CONS are bucking for a fight. bring it on boys the people are ready for you.
    gives us your best shot tea party Tim because it's going to be your last shot
    1. Greg posted on 02/19/2014 04:56 PM
      @john Jeez john, what political party DO you support?
  3. Jack posted on 02/19/2014 03:15 PM
    Anti-union means pro-taxpayer, pro-economy, and pro-democracy; no wonder Comrade Wynne is so against it.

    The choice is clear, Hudak for Premier! Right-to-work is what we need, we've had it with that union greed!
    1. Todd posted on 02/19/2014 04:23 PM
      @Jack Yes Jack, and you'll be the first one whining about how long it takes to get your health card, birth certificate or to get through to speak to a "real human" when you contact the government.
      You lack big-picture views of cause and effect.
    2. Angry Bill posted on 02/19/2014 04:29 PM
      @Todd Um, we have that already, Todd. How will we be able to tell the difference?
    3. Jack posted on 02/19/2014 04:34 PM
      @Todd As Bill pointed out, that's the situation we're already in. Do you know why? Because thanks to the "Entitled to everything, accountable for nothing" attitude of the public sector unions, the person on the other side of the Service Ontario desk knows that they will never face any consequences for being slow, rude, or unhelpful.

      Take away the union, and service has nowhere to go but up as the freeloaders get fired and the stars get rewarded.
    4. HP posted on 02/19/2014 04:52 PM
      @Jack This is nothing short of war on the middle class. Replacing workers that make a union wage, as negotiated with their employer, with workers making minimum wage will save taxpayers money, however the ripple effect will be devastating. It was calculated by the financial institutions when everyone was getting bailed out that very union job supports 8 more jobs in the private economy, which support more jobs.

      And the irony is that privatization doesn't save all hat much money because the companies that get the contracts make huge profits off the backs of workers they exploit, paying them half of the workers they replaced. The 407 privatization is a good example.

      Only governments that are owned by corporate, lobbyists, and hedge funds will support privatization...usually the Conservatives. The pay off their friends at the expense of the workers.
    5. Jack posted on 02/19/2014 05:22 PM
      @HP The sky is falling! The sky is falling! You have an awfully warped idea of "negotiation," pal. Let me help you out.

      Negotiation goes like this: You want your fence painted, and I offer to do it. I suggest a price for my services, you suggest a lower price that's more appealing to your wallet. I lower my price a little, you raise yours a little, and we either meet in the middle at a price that works for both of us or we go our separate ways and you find someone else to paint the fence.

      Union tactics are more like this: You want your fence painted, and I've got a monopoly on paint. I charge you a ridiculously high fee with no thought for if you can afford it, and block anyone else from ever painting your fence until I get what I want. In the process, I tear up your yard, scare your kids, and empty your fridge.

      See the difference?
    6. Dean posted on 02/19/2014 05:24 PM
      @HP You're right, public sector unions ARE waging a war against the middle class! As long as there is still one person left who can afford rent and groceries in the same month without being part of a union, mouthpieces like Sid Ryan and Bob Kinnear will be throwing tantrums and holding press conferences about their poor, poor, underprivileged members who just aren't being paid what they deserve.
    7. HP posted on 02/20/2014 07:40 AM
      @Jack No, I don't. The free market system you describe is called compromise...the union rates are negotiated well in advance of work being done. If you sign a contract to paint your fence at a negotiated cost, you can't go back and change your mind...the reverse would be that the union worker would ask or more after you signing the contract.

      No different than you buying a car, signing up for mobile service, contracting out home renovations...you sign a contract, you honour the contract, as do the workers you hire (that's why they're called civil SERVANTS...they work for you).

      The only issues that come up are when contracts need to be renewed...strikes often occur, but employers have the right to strike as well...lockouts, plant closings, privatization are all negotiating tools that employers use...both sides now know that there's a limit to what taxpayers can afford, if you have an issue with this you need to work with the people signing these collective agreements, not the workers.

      Replacing a unionized worker making $25/hr ($50k/yr) with a worker willing to do the same job for $11/hr ($22k/yr) is a short term solution but a long term disaster (the companies will charge the government $20/hr for these workers anyway)...and eventually contractors will be hired to replace those workers on a $18k/yr contact with no bennies...then they'll find someone to do the job on a piecework bases.

      That's what happened in the Toronto garment and textile industry, once an industrial powerhouse that ruled the garment district and South Riverdale...now gone, except the factories that employed thousands no being turned into condos.

      Your point will lead to more un/underemployment, a reduced GDP, and a lot of misery, A unionized worker has disposable income, a min. wage workers lives paycheque to paycheque, pays minimal or no taxes, then lives off the government in retirement.
    8. Angry Bill posted on 02/20/2014 01:45 PM
      @HP Some of your points make sense, HP. I can even get behind most of them intellectually. Reality, though, is sometimes different.

      Let's briefly look at communism, as envisioned by Marx. Some would call that a Utopian society. So what happened with Russia, China, North Korea? How come they weren't/aren't Utopian societies? Why didn't it work for them? Because communism is an ideal, and does not take into account people or human nature. What sane person would work his arse off, knowing that the harder he worked, the more would be taken away and given to someone else who figured out that he didn't need to work and things would just be given to him by others who did work? That's the one inherent flaw in communism, and extreme socialism.

      Now, let's apply a similar methodology to unions. I guess in this case, we're talking public sector unions in particular. Fair bargaining, contracts, workers being paid a fair wage for fair work, it certainly all looks good on paper. So where does it break down? And I don't expect you to insult my intelligence by suggesting it isn't broken. It breaks down because of several factors.. some of the factors are just hard, economic elements that an original contract may have been too short-sighted to consider. Other factors are the workers themselves.

      Jack's points are valid, too. Back in my day, we used to call union workers "fire proof". It would take an act of God to get them fired. And they knew it. So, now going back to the communist example, how many people would work their arses off when they KNOW they could get by on doing just a minimal fraction of the work and still get a pay cheque? What's the incentive to work hard and do your best? There isn't one. Not unless you are a very rare person who wants to do your best just because of your morals. At which point, you would probably be taken out back by the rest of your union cohorts who you are making look bad.

      A high paying wage just for the sake of a high paying wage cannot exist in a vacuum. Economic factors HAVE to be taken into consideration so the company that actually signs those union pay cheques can continue doing so.

      Very often when I see unions go on strike, what strikes me is how extremely short-sighted they are being. The costs to both themselves and the company that pays them would never be recouped, no matter what sort of agreement was eventually reached. They are being very short sighted, thinking that they are actually gaining anything. For each concession they force a company to give them, that is just one more nail in the coffin for these union workers. Hammer in one too many nails, and that company would reach the point where shutting down and moving elsewhere has just suddenly become more financially feasible for them. Companies are not a charity. If they don't turn a profit, their share holders will tear them a new arse.

      So, ideally speaking, you are correct. Pay people more money, and it will trickle down into a stronger economy. But that model is very broken in the public sector unions. No matter what concessions we throw at them, they still suck. Because they can.
    9. Jack posted on 02/20/2014 02:08 PM
      @Angry Bill Very well said, Bill.
    10. HP posted on 02/20/2014 02:13 PM
      @Angry Bill You have to ask yourself why the public sector is unionized. They were never exploited, always well paid, had great benefits and job security...truth be told, they were the last group of workers that were victims to union organizers, sadly, they have the ability to hold taxpayers hostage, and we have no one but the politicians who cave into their blackmail to get union votes to blame.

      However, privatization can be compared to the Canadian retail scene back in my day. Canada once had national full line, full service retail chains that provided excellent customer service and high quality products at a fair price. They were non-union and offered promotion from within...a stock boy could aand did become CEO...then came Walmart...also non union, they paid minimum wage, promised the lowest price always, sold crap, but the consumer voted with their wallet and all the other retailers are either gone or become mass merchants All of the Canadian manufacturers that supplied them are gone as well with hundreds of thousands manufacturing jobs. Yes, the consumers pay less, but get crap, crummy service, and workers that can't support the economy like the old companies did. I started my career driving a fork lift for a national company, ended up in the executive suite. Can't do that today, especially in a unionized environment. You start driving a fork lift, you retire driving a fork lift.

      Just a long way of saying that you can't blame the unionized workers, they were exploited by their unions, politicians use them to get elected, taxpayers use them as scapegoats. They're just trying to make a living. I feel sorry for the Ontario civil service managers. McGuinty froze their pay, took away their bonuses that they actually contribute towards (part of their base is withheld) and now make less than the unionized staff they supervise. The collective agreement gives the unions an annual raise, the managers haven't got a raise or bonus in 10 years.

      Every company knows exactly how many employees they have to lay off for every 1% increase in operating cost, that doesn't apply to the government because they're not a P/L centre, however, you can't blame the workers, they're victims too. When you privatize their jobs, many get rehired by the contractor at half their original pay...

      Before we start cutting back employees lives, we need to look at the alternatives, and it's the anti-union movement the has created cities like Birmingham and Little Rock down south...we don't want Toronto looking like Port Arthur, Texas.
    11. Angry Bill posted on 02/20/2014 04:00 PM
      @HP I can agree with everything you said, HP. It makes sense.

      I guess my point regarding unions is that the negative image unions have is a result of their short-sighted actions and sense of entitlement that they show. The strike by postal workers a little while ago in an industry that is dying is an example of being short-sighted, and the teachers' union strike is a good example of their inflated sense of entitlement. Unions are their own worst enemy.

      Who among us has not had to suffer through a horrible bureaucracy and "voice mail jail" when we need to deal with just about any government department? Every time I even have to go visit a "Circus Ontario" location to renew my sticker, that's enough for my blood pressure to go up.

      In their current state, I cannot get behind unions. They're broken.

      But your points regarding what happens down south when the pendulum swings in the opposite direction is valid, too. That system is broken, as well. A general strike or popular uprising is probably needed in that situation.
    12. HP posted on 02/20/2014 04:24 PM
      @Angry Bill +1...I would clarify and say that union management is the workers worst enemy. I can't say too much but a close friend was a very senior executive in Canada's largest union...he would play golf weekly in tournaments for union shop stewards, union managers, and union organizers and he prizes were donated by corporate sponsors whose members belonged to the unions. Prizes would include stuff like Nike golf clubs, cases of wine and spirits, trips, cruises, hotel junkets, and more. He always kept the good stuff for himself. He took the clubs, alcohol, cruises...anything he wanted, the people who played got the towels, golf ball, umbrellas, etc.

      When I lived in Leslieville, the Domtar union wnted to strike...Domtar told the union that the plant was losing money, and if they went on strike, they'd close the plant. The union called their bluff, went on strike, Domtar closed the plant...the building is still there at Dundas and Carlaw, but now employs 10 store owners, rather than the 540 that were forced by the union to strike.

      Your examples are public sector workers who are secure, but even the teachers are being encouraged to retire early to allow lower cost newbies to be hired.
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