With rising inequality challenging economies in developed countries, it is hard to understand why Ontario’s Tories would pursue a labour agenda that would only serve to further widen levels of inequality.
PC leader Tim Hudak’s promise to scrap the Rand Formula and wage war on labour is based on the badly misnamed “right to work” (RTW) movement in the United States. Hudak ignores the fact that Scandinavian Countries, with much higher rates of unionization than Canada or the United States, have far surpassed North America in raising living standards for its citizens over the last 30 years. Yet even in today’s difficult economic environment Sweden is second only to Germany among European countries in attracting new business investment.
Yesterday we discussed the lack of evidence to suggest RTW States had any economic advantage over their free-bargaining counterparts. In the case of Oklahoma, it appears to have had the reverse effect.
When Michigan debated whether to adopt similar RTW laws, the State of Mississippi was offered up as a RTW model of economic growth. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce suggested that if Michigan were more like Mississippi, it would gain more jobs and experience lower unemployment.
The U.S. Economic Policy Institute points out that citizens of formerly free-bargaining Michigan were already far better off than their Mississippi counterparts despite the downturn in the auto industry. Mississippi’s constitution entrenched RTW and the State has among the lowest rates of unionization in the U.S. Mississippi is also dead last in median household income and is first in poverty – a rate that is a shocking 50 per cent higher than Michigan’s. It is also first in infant mortality and 48th out of 50 States in the number of doctors per capita.