Our friend David Musyj is mellowing.
The CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital, once a vocal advocate for wage freezes, now says either freeze all wages or none at all.
Musyj told the Windsor Star that it’s a morale breaker when the government freezes wages for just one group.
He says the impact of extending the freeze will be negative because further penalizing this group for “political gain” is grossly unfair.
We agree. As public sector workers, it is a morale breaker to see calls for more austerity when our wage increases are already well below the private sector.
No doubt Musyj is also standing up for women – after all, they make up 82 per cent of workers in his health care sector. In the public sector it’s 60 per cent.
Why should we make predominantly one gender pay for a recession they didn’t create? If we are all in this together, then dammit, we should ALL be in this together. We’re glad that the hospital CEO is standing up and showing he can be a man.
It’s true during the depth of our recession (2008-09) private sector wages suffered compared to the public sector. However, private sector wages always bounce back much faster. Between recessions (1992-2008) private sector wages actually increased 4 per cent more than the public sector.
Federal government data shows that public sector wage increases for the past two years have been below those of the private sector – 1.6 per cent compared to 2.1 per cent.
When you look at those mostly male CEOs, the differential is even greater. In 2010 Canada’s top 100 private sector CEOs saw their compensation jump by 13 per cent. We have yet to learn what great heights they have lifted off to in 2011.
Across Canada in November, the most recent month for which reporting is available, the average wage increase for public sector employees went up by 1.4 per cent, compared to 2 per cent in the private sector.
Worst still, wage increases in Ontario have been lagging behind many of the other provinces. In 2011 overall wages (public and private) increased by an average of 1.6 per cent in Ontario compared to 2.5 per cent in Alberta and 2.7 per cent in Quebec and Saskatchewan.
Meanwhile, none of these wages, private or public, is keeping up with the Consumer Price Index, which in November was at 2.9 per cent.
With the exception of the corporate CEOs, all of us are seeing a real decline in our standard of living.
Remarkably, the Windsor Star has not seen Musyj’s statement in the same light. They believe he was only referring to a small group of non-union workers, including managers and CEOs like him, who have taken two years of wage freezes already.
They suggest his “all-or-none” challenge wasn’t really a choice, but a suggestion that government should freeze the wages of all public sector workers, not all workers.
The Windsor Star frets that while it might be more possible to go to war with the teachers over their wage demands, the health care world “seems far more civil.”
Musyj proves it. He shows you can be a man and defend the rights of women to a fair wage.
David – if you’re reading this – please write to the Windsor Star and clarify your position. We know how you really feel.