This chart in the Ontario budget could have very well been directed at PC leader Tim Hudak.
Hudak has found a new found love for jobs, and feels the only way to achieve that is for Ontarians to drop their standard of living and make less.
One of the ways to do this is to undermine labour by changing the rules and adopting what some U.S. States like to call the horribly misnamed “Right-To-Work” laws.
Hudak would like to free dissenting workers from the democratic choices being made in their workplace and allow individuals to undertake their own personal negotiations with their employer. When the majority votes to have a union, the minority would be still be able to opt out and go it alone.
Of course what would happen is what Justice Ivan Rand once described as the free rider situation. Employers would not set up separate bargaining tables with each opt out employee, instead they would just give them what their union colleagues had already bargained. That means one group pays dues and does the heavy lifting, the other benefits. Some would say that’s not fair.
Hudak argues Ontario is losing jobs to jurisdictions like Indiana that have such laws.
Unfortunately the data the Ontario government presents regarding employment in neighbouring jurisdictions doesn’t really support Hudak’s view.
Charting employment since the recession, Ontario has seen a 6.2 per cent rise in job growth since June 2009. Indiana has seen a 1 per cent rise. What about Wisconsin, where in 2011 workers took to the streets in the thousands against new right-to-work laws? The new anti-worker laws passed but they didn’t help create jobs – in fact the chart shows Wisconsin has had a net loss of jobs (0.2 percent) since the recession. The best performer among Ontario’s neighbouring jurisdictions is Minnesota, which had a 4.2 per cent increase. Minnesota is among the roughly half of U.S. States that maintain democratic free collective bargaining, and is above the U.S. average of 3.5 per cent. The Canadian average is 4.7 per cent.