Today striking Red Cross Care Partners personal support workers are at the door step of three government ministers – Deb Matthews (Health), Yasir Naqvi (Labour) and Charles Sousa (Finance).
In recent days Health Minister Deb Matthews has said she wants to let collective bargaining run its process.
It’s a little like the Tories saying they won’t get involved in the collective bargaining process but would be willing to legislate an additional two-year across-the-board wage freeze.
What is a wage freeze other than direct interference in the bargaining process?
In this case, recognizing the 2007 Supreme Court of Canada decision that struck down British Columbia’s attempt to restrict bargaining rights, the Wynne government has instead cleverly restricted funding for compensation increases to agencies such as Red Cross Care Partners. That is expected to continue until the government balances its budget – officially projected to be 2018 (but likely to happen much sooner).
But don’t say they are interfering in the bargaining process!
The problem with this approach has been evident from the start – an across the board freeze on funding for wage compensation doesn’t separate the highly compensated CEOs from those earning poverty-level wages. The ability to endure a period of freeze is much different between the two.