Abolish public unions

Posted By: Jerry Agar · 12/10/2012 10:09:00 PM

Here is a solution to the teachers’ strikes — abolish public unions.

It isn’t a new idea, nor is it a radical one when you consider that union leaders and politicians once believed it unthinkable that we would have public unions in the first place.

Read why, here.

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  1. Richard Collins posted on 12/11/2012 09:11 AM
    Really, it's the only way we can move forward as a country. As others have pointed out, as long as the unions can hold vital services like garbage collection and education hostage, and say "Give us what we want or we hurt people," it's not negotiation, just extortion.

    The right to organize in unions and the right for those unions to strike is fast approaching the old and thankfully abolished right for Southern landowners to own slaves; it hurts more people than it benefits, and those few who it benefits will fight like rabid dogs to protect it because they simply don't care.
    1. Grumpy Johnson posted on 12/14/2012 06:32 AM
      @Richard Collins With that kind of logic we should abolish the political parties and perhas government for creating these messes and financial boondoggles.

      What non union peole never realize is that if it weren't for unions they wouldn't enjoy some of the perks and priveledges of non-slave labour. Nobody works in a sweatshop these days and everyone enjoys decent hours and holidays. And that, my friend ,is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the working conditions unions have brought to EVERYONE- union and NON UNION.

      Get out a history book and read. !
    2. CB posted on 12/17/2012 11:09 AM
      @Richard Collins 'Really, it's the only way we can move forward as a country. ... "Give us what we want or we hurt people," it's not negotiation, just extortion.'

      I absolutely agree Richard. It's interesting that when companies merge or acquire one another, it has to be approved by the competition bureau to ensure that no one gets a monopoly. Yet, a union is basically a monopoly on labour, a monopoly that can bring the provision of a vital service if they so choose. How is that justifiable?

      And, let's face it, over the years the unions have been so unreasonable in their demands that we know have a private sector that slaves away and pays taxes so that public employees who assume very little risk can earn more than they do. It's an outrage.
  2. James Peter posted on 12/11/2012 02:09 PM
    Jerry I appreciate your opinion on unions even if it is uninformed. This is because you have a right to an opinion and you have a right to present that opinion on the right wing biased radio station you work for. That is the beauty of this country. We have rights and we have free speech and we have democracy. However the situation with the teachers is a perfect example of why we need unions. The Ontario government has decided to impose a contract on teachers without negotiations. This goes against the rights of teachers according to the Labour Relations Act. Regardless of your anti-union views you cannot dispute that fact because it is a fact. An Act which is Law is being contravened so that the budget can be balanced. It astounds me that at a radio station which is so right wing, that you are so blinded by your anger towards unions that you cannot see that. You are constantly talking on your show about how people have been wronged in some way. Yet you cannot see that situation here. You do have some of your facts right though. McGuinty has thrown lots of money for education. That money has lead to Ontario schools being ranked among the best in the world.
    You cannot remove money from a system and expect it to improve as Mike Harris did. I have taught in schools during both the Harris years and the McGuinty years. Harris did hurt teacher moral and their paychecks. However put that aside. He forced us due to funding cuts to teach without textbooks, without basic science consumable resources, without workbooks for students and without time to effectively prepare lessons and setup labs. As a Harris supporter you may find this hard to swallow, but he damaged the education system in Ontario and it has taken 9 years to get it back on track. You may want to dismiss my opinion but I have taught high school science in those classes. What upset me the most is that Harris prevented me from being able to create an exceptional science learning environment for my students.
    If governements have done this with unions in place I cannot imagine what Mike Harris Junior, AKA Hudak will do to the public sector workers without unions.
    Is the loss of extra curriculars, rotating strikes etc. bad for education and students? Obviously it is. However our hands are being tied by the removal of our rights. When those rights are gone our democracy will follow. Even our students get this. This is because they have learned to critically analyze issues with an open mind. Unfortunately it seems that you Jim Richards and John Tory have had many years to close your mind so you cannot see it. As you disagree with my last point, enjoy that right while you still have it.
    1. Tom posted on 12/12/2012 12:15 AM
      @James Peter JP: “The Ontario government has decided to impose a contract on teachers without negotiations.”

      Me: Welcome to the real world, where employers decide how much an employee will be paid, not the employee. In the real world, the employee has no leverage, because there are others who will happily take the job for the same amount of pay and perhaps even less.

      JP: “McGuinty has thrown lots of money for education. That money has lead to Ontario schools being ranked among the best in the world.”

      Me: So if we double the amount of money spent on education, students will do twice as well? Of course not. That’s because there are a plethora of other factors involved. It does not follow that an increase in a teacher’s pay results in better performance by the students.

      JP: “What upset me the most is that Harris prevented me from being able to create an exceptional science learning environment for my students.”

      Me: Mike Harris balanced the budget and grew Ontario’s economy.

      JP: “Is the loss of extra curriculars, rotating strikes etc. bad for education and students? Obviously it is.”

      Me: God bless those public sector unions. They’ll stop at nothing to ensure that students get their extra curricular activities.

      JP: “However our hands are being tied by the removal of our rights.”

      Striking is not a right. If people in the private sector decide not to show up for work they get fired.
    2. proton posted on 12/12/2012 10:41 AM
      @James Peter "You cannot remove money from a system and expect it to improve" is a common cry of free-spenders. In actual fact, so long as the system is inefficient, you can improve it by removing money, so long as you remove the inefficiencies. It would be very easy to remove the inefficiencies with the majority of public unions.

      It takes REAL leadership to do so.
  3. Stephen Smith posted on 12/11/2012 02:48 PM
    I say we go this way, then we can pay teachers what we can afford on a district to district basis. So up north, because the tax base so so low, well you make less, down south, where there are more people and hence more competition, you can pay less, basic supply and demand economics.

    In this way we can all pay less taxes and still a really inferior education, much like the public system in the states where some teachers make 30 grand a year.

    Now that we accomplished this we can move on to create a private education system so only the well off can afford a decent education for their kids.

    Count me in Jerry.
    1. James Peter posted on 12/13/2012 04:09 PM
      @Stephen Smith Can you imagine that. Jerry Agar liking an American system of education.
    2. CoffeeCon posted on 12/14/2012 05:37 PM
      @Stephen Smith Up north, where the population is low they will have a high pay in competition for fewer workers, while in the big cities there will be lower pay due to an overabundance of workers. Basic supply and demand.

  4. john posted on 12/11/2012 03:36 PM
    Any time you have a large, (mostly) homogeneous group of workers, you will need some sort of entity to handle disputes between members, between members and managers, and also to determine/negotiate changes in pay. This can be done by a union (paid by union members) or it could be done by the government (paid by taxpayers).

    Unions do serve a purpose. I also agree that they have gone unchecked for far too long. They do not need to be abolished. They need to be brought back down to the same planet the rest of us live on.
  5. Steven posted on 12/11/2012 04:45 PM
    Jerry makes a great point in suggesting public unions be abolished. The European model functions more like our insurance system, where as an employee you might be requested/required to join a union if you feel well served by them, but you choose which one is best matched to your needs. Result? individuals are well served as they feel, no one's rights are trampled, and the paying public is not held hostage by one agenda. Win-Win Thinking, right there.
    1. Grumpy Johnson posted on 12/13/2012 10:16 PM
      @Steven Isn't Europe the place that is going own the toilet in a debt crisis. Get real, dude. I don't want to be like Europe - no way, no how!

      In case you didn't notice - this is Canada -the land of the free- unless you happen to be a teacher!
    2. CoffeeCon posted on 12/14/2012 05:39 PM
      @Steven Great post Steven! We should have the right to free choice in the land of the Free! Since we're flushing down the toilet with this sole-source union contracting situation, we should definitely have a discussion about how the whole thing can be rebuilt from the ground up so that it benefits all of society.
  6. Professor J. posted on 12/11/2012 07:00 PM
    Jerry, you are so off base here it is incredible that your opinion was published. The fact is that unions protect the human rights and collective bargaining powers of regular everyday people, like teachers, police officers, nurses, etc. not those of the mighty and powerful. In this capacity, unions serve a very important purpose in the western world, especially with billionaires like Kevin O'Leary out there who believe that all work should be sent overseas to maximize profits. Your comparison between high priced hockey players and teachers show how little respect you have for public service sector employees. Public service sector employees contribute equally, if not more, to the social fabric of our economy, as well as social morality. Social volunteer organizations, such as a food bank, a food and toy drive, a soup kitchen, a hospice program, or an out of the cold program, are predominantly comprised of public service sector employees, not private sector employees. This is a very crucial aspect of public service sector employees, they are givers. They work in the non for profit sector and are accustomed to contributing in this role in all aspects of their lives. Public service sector employees rely on unions in times of need, not just for collective bargaining purposes every three or four years. These unions provide legal expertise and guidance in times of tumult. They provide members with a framework that is necessary to guarantee that the western world does not revert back a third world country, where human rights are abused consistently and children are illegally pushed into the labour force. It is disheartening to think that there are people in our great country, such as yourself, that believe that public service sector employees should have no rights. It might be worthy to note that there are always two sides to every story. A world with public service sector employees who have no rights is a world that I would never want my children to experience.
    1. Lynne posted on 12/12/2012 10:00 AM
      @Professor J. Hi Jerry, all I have to say is that the teachers are so spolied that they can't see the forest for the trees. I'd love to see them follow an RN arounnd for a shift, maybe the whining would stop.
    2. proton posted on 12/12/2012 10:49 AM
      @Professor J. You remind me of characters in Animal Farm and 1984
  7. levon posted on 12/12/2012 10:43 AM
    Once again Agar's opinion is wrong. Remember folks you're listening to a far right wing tea bagger. So when he says all public unions should be abolished, you know where his mind set comes from. He also was telling us everybody in Canada should own a handgun, we should all be able to to have wild monkeys for pets and there should be no minimum wage. I hope when this guy's contract is up 1010 dumps him. Surely there must be a more representative right wing talk show host out there.
    1. proton posted on 12/12/2012 01:35 PM
      @levon if they fire him he can then work for the taxpayer-funded, overpaid, bloated CBC
    2. CoffeeCon posted on 12/12/2012 05:09 PM
      @levon I'll tea bag ya if ya like, but that's an inappropriate slur to throw on one of the show hosts and the segment of society that doesn't feel entitled to a portion of others' paycheques.
  8. proton posted on 12/12/2012 01:34 PM
    go to the link below for a perfect example of the excesses of our public unions, in this case the ontario teachers union. that says it all
    1. James Peter posted on 12/13/2012 04:24 PM
      @proton Really proton? You are quoting a lawyer talk about excesses. That is a joke even the article fails to address properly. Find me a teacher who only works the school day and does nothing at home. Seriously you speak as if you are an authority but you understand nothing of the work involved in the profession. You would not find me telling you Mr. Proton, how to be a positive subatomic particle. So why would you quote a lawyer telling teachers about the amount of time they work?
  9. Stephen Smith posted on 12/12/2012 02:07 PM
    On and on about the teachers but narry a word ever about the Police or Fire. Apparently they can get everything they want year after year including gold plated pensions that Jerry constantly droans on about, but their ok.

    Everyone gets treated equal, no cop or FF union either then, right to hire exists all places or no places.
  10. Robert Sloan posted on 12/12/2012 06:55 PM
    Wow! I love John Mortimer. You should have him as a regular guest. A couple years ago I was attending an open shop electrical industry conference and he described the relationship between big labour trade unions and the McGuinty Liberals as "The envy of ALL unions in North America". He went so far as to say that "Even the public service unions are envious". Of course they have spent at least 7 million helping him get elected by way of the so called Working Family Coalition Group which is really just a front for Organized labour (so they can respend our tax dollars to their benifit). Now! If the iminent legislation passes and these same special interest groups are forced to show their members the books it is quite likely that their own members will have them incarcerated. Maybe then we can return to fair labour law and get rid of card based certification (democratic). Maybe then open shops can tender government projects. And maybe then we can abolish the College of Trades.
  11. Eli posted on 12/12/2012 08:31 PM
    Besides being mis-informed Jerry, U also appear to be a person who does not support Human Rights and Free Speech (even though you more than many others seem to enjoy excercising this freedom). The reason Unions began was because workers were being exploited, but for someone who only works 3 hours a day, while we put in 8-12 hours just to put food on the table, it is not something that is hard to understand, but something that they do not wish to understand. That is sooo typical of people who are not first generation immigrants. It is sad that people like you, Tim Hudak and Rob Ford want to do away with Unions to try to save money, but will endorse a by election in order to give a man who blatantly violated the law, a second chance. I guess you are the kind of people who indirectly support corruption, because that is what spending $7-15 mioolion on a byelection amounts to. Wast the tax payers money in this way and pretend to help wave by out-sourcing etc, which is exactly how companies like Bell (who are trying to buy Astral) sho profits. How come you and your co-hosts never discuss this very greedy practice that Bell engages in?
    1. Richard Collins posted on 12/12/2012 09:20 PM
      @Eli Workers WERE being exploited, that's true. However, in civilized countries like Canada, we now have laws that protect EVERYONE, whether they're part of a union or an honest worker. The only legitimate purpose unions serve was replaced with legislation long ago, and now they're just bloated criminal organizations with an unsustainable business model and no problem with hurting innocent people in their pursuit of money.

      Think of it like a broken arm. You have a cast put on while your arm heals, but once that happens the cast only gets in the way. You can't keep the cast on your arm forever just because it helped you in the past; you have to cut it off and throw it on the fire.
    2. proton posted on 12/13/2012 09:27 AM
      @Eli and now the taxpayers are the ones being exploited by the public unions. Since we can all likely agree that unions were needed to stop the exploitation a hundred years ago, it should follow that now is the time to stop the union exploitation of the taxpayer.

      after all, fair is fair
  12. Stug posted on 12/13/2012 10:35 AM
    Jerry Agar Toronto's far right narrow minded voice i think only wrote this for a reaction.
    I don't really take Jerry seriously but his opinion amuses me at times. ha..
  13. Grumpy Johnson posted on 12/13/2012 08:36 PM
    Grumpy’s Pissed Again: Jerry Agar has got it all wrong!

    This week when commenting about the current conflict in education, Jerry Agar, (Sun Media, CFRB Radio) said that education/government is not like private business or manufacturing because it doesn’t produce anything. He said because there are no profits, unions shouldn’t be required by teachers because people in education are “being paid with taxpayer’s money”.

    Basically he was saying education is not producing profits, so there are no earned financial resources to share. Today he went on to say schools should be run like a business by business managers. I shudder to think what that would be like.
    Here’s what a pissed off Grumpy has to say about that.


    Well, Mr. Agar, I beg to differ with your view that education does not produce anything. Education produces tremendous profits: profits we all benefit from.
    Mr. Agar, education is a very profitable endeavor.

    It produces free thinking citizens who have learned to distinguish between bovine excrement and the truth. It produces citizens that can read, write, calculate and participate in and work for the greater good of society. It produces our doctors, lawyers, professors, teachers and talk show hosts. And for your information, it produces people who are employable and who pay the taxes from which we all reap benefits.

    As William Haloupek suggests, “Education raises our social consciousness. It makes life more meaningful. It makes better citizens. It’s an investment in our future that is repaid many times over. It repays all of us–not just the ones who get the diplomas.”

    The State of Arizona, in a report on higher education concluded that, “Educated workers make a net positive contribution to government budgets, and they help to raise the wages of all workers in an area.”

    Milton Friedman's position on the role of government in schooling:

    "A stable and democratic society is impossible without widespread acceptance of some common set of values and without a minimum degree of literacy and knowledge on the part of most citizens. Education contributes to both. In consequence, the gain from the education of a child accrues not only to the child or to his parents but to other members of the society; the education of my child contributes to other people's welfare by promoting a stable and democratic society." (Friedman, 1955)

    W. Craig Riddell, Department of Economics, University of British Columbia writes that “the value of the social benefits of education appears to be similar in size to the private market returns to education from higher lifetime earnings. Thus the benefits of education are considerable, and any decisions regarding public support for education should take these social and non-market benefits into account.”

    I guess you are unaware that the 190 000 teachers in Ontario pay one hell of a lot of those Ontario taxes. I’d say more than their fair share. That’s because most hold two or more degrees, have taken additional qualification courses, and have worked their way up through a grid taking as many as 12 years to get where they are financially. My wife paid $14 000 in income tax last year. Multiply that times 190 000 teachers and that’s a $2 600 000 000 (2.6 BILLION) discout off the published cost of education.


    Because, teachers are paid with tax dollars, and they return a good portion of those very same tax dollars back into the coffers of the Province of Ontario.

    Mr. Agar, Education is a key that allows people to move up in the world, seek better jobs, and succeed in life. Education is one factor that affects job positions people hold, advance in their further career, the income they make, and the title they hold.

    The more educated a person is, the more prestige and power that person holds.
    If producing educated people isn’t profitable then I don’t know what is.

    I suggest that corporate profits, taxed at a mere 10% in Ontario (about the lowest in Canada), contribute little to our society. Producing widgets is far less important than producing productive citizens as well as those educated skilled workers and/or professionals that drive this Provinces economy.

    I suppose you were home schooled and learned to be a broadcaster doing a correspondence course. I guess you were never mentored, encouraged, motivated or taught. You’ve done pretty well to be self-educated.

    And, considering you only work three hours a day, that’s a pretty good gig. But getting minimum wage (because you have no formal education) for only 15 hours a week must make it difficult for you to make ends meet.

    And, with all those commercials and breaks I bet you only work 45 minutes or less in an hour. No wonder you didn’t get into teaching. You have it pretty soft over there at good old CFRB! I wonder why you would bother to point fingers at hard working teachers though.

    I think you get my point. If you don’t, may I suggest an advanced course in logic and reasoning? Even better – walk a mile in a teacher’s shoes.

    Mr. Agar, the production values and the profits made from education are immeasurable. I remember learning about “Value added through manufacture” in economic geography a way back when. That’s when the process of milling and fabrication adds to the value of a product from that upon which it was valued as a raw material.

    I say, value added through education is far more important than dollar values added through manufacture, don’t you. Taking a four year old and developing him/her as a useful, functioning participant in society 20 + years later is the kind of “Value added” I want to promote.

    The development of people should be far more important than the development of “things”. And, when push comes to shove, educated people produce taxes at levels where society thrives and all citizens benefit.

    Really, Mr. Agar, all of us profit from a good education: individuals, groups and society as a whole. A strong education system assures that this happens. Funding that system well and respecting those that do the job is an essential precondition for success.

    Investing in education pays huge dividends for society.
    So, when you make remarks about education not being profitable you are way out of line and sadly misinformed.

    Thomas Jefferson said, "Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories. And to render them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree."

    "Above all things I hope the education of the common people will be attended to; convinced that on their good sense we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty."

    Sadly, in Ontario, this is not the case.

    Thank goodness teachers (the educated ones) are fighting for all of our liberties in their battle with Laurel Broten and the Liberal led attack on democratic process. It is unfortunate that you and others sling the arrows that make this noble quest more treacherous and difficult.

    Remember, Mr. Agar, “Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions.” You are what you are today because your teacher/mentors/instructors prepared you for being a decent talk show host.

    So, Jerry, when you are at your next tea party please spread this message. It’s alright to be conservative but it’s dead wrong to spew misinformation and vitriol.
    You know, sometimes I feel a bit like Abe Lincoln who said, “Teach the children so that it will not be necessary to teach the adults.”

    I guess I’m trying to teach adults NOW!

    And do you know what? In my experience, that is a whole lot more difficult than teaching kids.

    All the Best,
    1. CoffeeCon posted on 12/14/2012 03:37 PM
      @Grumpy Johnson Nope. Beyond reading and writing his high-school teacher had nothing to do with his success as a radio show host. That success is attributable to continuing self education, experience gained, and an open mind.

      Also, the teachers are not 'fighting for democracy', they're fighting for their right to strike. We should just declare them Essential Workers and be done with.
    2. ctwr9-11 posted on 12/16/2012 01:48 PM
      @Grumpy Johnson There is a reason for the cliche "Those who can, DO. Those who can't, TEACH. Those who can't teach, run UNIONS."
  14. Enid posted on 12/14/2012 02:26 PM
    I think Jerry wants a conservative dictatorship
  15. taxpayer posted on 12/14/2012 05:39 PM
    Jerry, you can't compare private sector jobs where they are profit based with public sector jobs which are more humanitarian based (health, education).
    1. proton posted on 12/16/2012 12:30 PM
      @taxpayer YOU CALL SCREWING TAXPAYERS HUMANITARIAN?????? I thought i'd heard it all before this.

      When you decide to pull your head out of the sand (or your behind), there are plenty of NON_UNION workers in health and education. It's called free enterprise, also known as the private sector. Hopefully it's still legal in Ontario
  16. Bob Smith posted on 12/16/2012 09:45 AM
    The Challenge to Democracy
    Population: 11,100,000
    Votes 2011: 4,400,000
    Broader Public Service: 1,200,000

    How can any government be elected on a platform of cost control/ reduction?
    Would a government be in a stronger position to negotiate education & health costs if the broader civil service was half the size it is today?
  17. JM posted on 12/16/2012 09:45 AM
    Pro-Union Activist Threatens the Michigan Governor: 'We'll Be at Your Daughter's Soccer Game'
    1. ctwr9-11 posted on 12/16/2012 02:37 PM
      @JM What a bunch of THUGS!! If McGuilty had been a REAL, competent or honest leader and hadn't bribed all the Unions with our taxdollars to get elected & re-elected, we wouldn't be in this mess now! If there had been any integrity, he should have kept his promises. Then these teachers would be living in the REAL world and not feel so entitled to getting all their demands met. Now McLiar jumps ships like the weasely rat he's always been, sailing off into the sunset with his gold plated pension in hand, and that stupid smirk on his face, knowing that he has totally SCREWED UP worse than any provincial premier in history. He's been caught with his pants down taking a dump on everyone. His cabinet ministers, the opposition, the teachers, the parents, the students, the taxpayers & all future generations who will be holding the r noses & cleaning up his $#i+ for a long time to come. Sugar Daddy Dalton is the worst kind of criminal, lying to everyone while picking your pocket, blaming everyone but himself. He has actually committed HIGH TREASON which used to be punishable by DEATH. Let's bring back the death penalty, or at least some semblance of democracy that empowers taxpayers & voters to recall or impeach these crooks when they lie, steal, waste, overtax, bankrupt & betray the whole province. It was the UNIONS who voted in McSquinty & the Fiberals THREE times, and now it's their turn to pay the piper. McBurglar & his Pro-rogue-bandits may think they've gotten away with all this fraud & theft but I won't mind if the thugs want to make him pay in REAL terms. We get the gov't we deserve folks. The 'sheeple' of Ontario need to get the wool off ytheir eyes, & wake up!
  18. Geo doc posted on 01/01/2013 08:41 PM
    The unions have run their course. There was a time where they were " needed" but now we have labour laws and structure in place to generally make a fair work place. Take a look at the majority of public union workers, most are unemployable. Dont get me wrong there are some awesome workers and would fair just ine without unions. I am no longer a union worker as I found it frustrating that even though I excelled at my duty my colleagues who basically just put in time received same benifits . Bottom line abolish the unions and watch our country grow!
  19. Cathy posted on 01/16/2013 09:52 AM
    Hey Jerry - you didn't sound too intelligent this morning considering you're all over the teacher's unions and have been for weeks. You didn't know what ETFO stood for...not too impressed Jerry. ETFO duh Education no no ya that's right Elementary duh...Teachers uh Federation of Ontario ya ya that's it. And then the comment about the two workers showing solidarity and something about Karl Marx....really? That's like calling you a white supremist and we all know that's just not true. You have lost a CFRB listener and I have to wonder how many other listeners you've lost due to your verbal diarrea. Well, on second thought maybe I'll still tune in to John Tory, at least he's reasonable and intelligent.
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