Ontario PCs want to weaken unions
By Steve Payne
Labour unions are likely to be a major election issue whenever Ontario voters next go to the polls. Last week, Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak unveiled a 20-page “white paper” that recommends a major revamping of labour laws to reduce the powers of construction, public sector and other unions.
Hudak says that unions are costing too many jobs in Ontario. “It’s a debate we need to have in this country because I’m worried about the jobs we’re losing and I’m worried about a decline into Rust Belt status… We need to actually modernize our labour laws to get them out of the 1940s and 1950s and to 2012 and beyond,” he said.
Hudak claims that many Ontario employees have “two bosses”: their actual employer and the people who run their union. His white paper foresees an end to compulsory union membership and, in addition, forced political contributions through those same unions.
The Ontario PCs also want an end to “the artificial restriction on the number of our youth able to enter the skilled trades.” He says he would do this by major changes to apprenticeship system.
Ontario Federation of Labour president Sid Ryan said in a prepared statment that Hudak’s scheme is “nothing but sour grapes” over the election result of last Oct. 6. Hudak’s party failed to make the major gains it had expected and Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals squeaked out a narrow minority government.