Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Open Letter to Premier McGuinty and Mayor Miller

Mr. Dalton McGuinty & Mr. David Miller:

It is time to take a stand against the work stoppage that is turning this city into a post-apocalyptic landscape. How dare these unions hold us hostage for pay increases and extravagant benefits that are so completely out of step with the economic times? How dare the two of you let them?

Mr. McGuinty’s CBC interview July 7th where he is quoted to have said: "The garage is starting to stink a little bit, but it's not the end of the world." sounds more than a little bourgeois to voters who don't have garages, and are having raccoons drag garbage all over their yards and streets. This is a politician who has clearly lost touch with the circumstances of the people he represents. Let them eat cake, indeed.

Garbage isn't the only issue;

Toronto parents and their children are having their precious and short Canadian summer ruined by closed pools and other facilities. Cancelled day camps which many parents had counted on as an enriching alternative to daycare (as well as the daycares themselves being shut) are causing parents to use precious vacation (not banked sick days) to care for kids who have no place else to go. Who is going to take responsibility for the kids who have been forced into hastily assembled unlicensed daycares as a result of this strike?

Summer students who were hired by the city at Centreville or as lifeguards are losing out on the short window they have to earn some money. Will they be comforted by the fact that city workers get to bank sick days while they wait tables to pay off massive student loans until 2025?

Where will the public sector unions’ stranglehold over taxpayers end? How long will people tolerate their RRSPs being eviscerated by falling markets, and suffering pay cuts and layoffs while taxes are increasing to pay for outlandish benefits such as banked sick days and indexed pensions for the ‘labour elite’?

Unionized workers in the private sector know that their earnings are somewhat limited by the earnings of the company they work for, and are bound by self interest to ensure that company stays in business. Governments don’t go out of business; they just keep raising taxes… What kind of counterbalance is there against public sector unions? How much will the property taxes of semi-employed and under-employed Torontonians increase in order to pay for a lavish guaranteed retirement income for CUPE members?

Toronto isn’t just wealthy Rosedale, Riverdale, Chaplin and Allenby… It’s also St. James Town, Regent Park and Parkdale where poor immigrants first settle. It’s also Danforth-Lumsden with its tiny insulbrick bungalows where many young families start out, struggling to live within the city limits. It is those people – the people who elected you, and are counting on you – who you are letting down.

It is time to represent the voters of Toronto who put you both where you are today. Take a stand against public sector union greed. Legislating CUPE back to work and ordering them to accept what’s on the table is certainly an option, though given how many unemployed people would be thrilled to accept a job under the terms offered by the city, why not draw one name at random every 15 minutes from the list of the 24000 striking workers, fire that person, and replace them with someone who needs the work. I’m sure the strike would end in no time.

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