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Tue Jan 22, 2013, 07:52 AM


Michigan's right-to-work law = a dagger pointed at Canadian unions

When Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed right-to-work bills into law last month, he gladdened the hearts of anti-union politicians next door in Ontario. Could our province, a union stronghold, be next?

The more unions are beaten back in the United States, the worse it is for Canadian workers, whose jobs can easily be shipped south. One need only look at Caterpillar’s Electro-Motive Diesel jobs being moved from London, Ontario, down to Indiana in 2012, after that state passed right-to-work legislation. Such laws outlaw contracts that require all those represented by a union to pay dues, thus breaking up solidarity.

Just last month, GM announced it would be moving jobs from Oshawa, Ontario, to Michigan—coincidentally, just after Michigan’s right-to-work law was passed.

An opening is forming for right-to-work in Ontario. The Liberal provincial government is in disarray, after the premier resigned this past fall. Current polling puts the Conservatives first, followed closely by the union-backed New Democratic Party (NDP). It is quite possible that a new election could occur this summer and that the Conservatives could be forming the next government of Ontario.

Tim Hudak, the Conservative provincial leader, has openly called for right-to-work laws, supposedly to help solve the provincial deficit. But the Liberals are already moving on a similar track. The current provincial Liberal government passed the draconian Bill 115 this past fall, which hinders teachers’ collective bargaining rights by mandating wage freezes, banning strikes, and giving the government the power to impose contracts.

The Liberals also tried to pass another bill that would have curbed most Ontario public sector workers’ collective bargaining rights by imposing wage freezes and giving the government a final say over all contracts. They were unable to move that bill through the legislature because it wasn’t harsh enough for the Conservatives...


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