Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Higgs trying to play rigged game with workers

There’s a reason people shouldn’t play three-card monte.
The card game is one that often uses sleight of hand to rig the game in favour of the dealer. A rigged game is not a fair one, so why would anyone want to play?
However, that’s exactly what Premier Blaine Higgs is trying to do to nursing home workers with his latest proposal – get them to play a rigged game.
The Premier has suggested binding arbitration as a solution, but wants limits placed on the arbitrator. This isn’t binding arbitration and it’s decidedly one-sided. The province gets to put parameters in place which the arbiter must abide by and the union doesn’t.
So the Premier is saying we will let a neutral third party long as they decide what we want.
Keep in mind this government has already used the court system to try and prevent the members’ ability to strike and you get the picture this isn’t a level playing field.
The Premier’s plan is not without its supporters. The Telegraph-Journal applauds the plan and states in an editorial, “In the private sector, wages are suppressed by economic factors; it makes sense for public sector salaries to grow no faster than their private counterparts – after all, it is those private sector salaries that pay, in part, for public employees.”
First and foremost, the wording of the last sentence seems to imply that private sector employees are the ones footing the tax bill for public employees. It weakly hedges the statement by using “in part” to represent public sector employees. Here’s a news flash, public sector pay taxes too. In fact, their taxes are also used to fund public services.
As for holding up the private sector as the model to be followed, private industry is not without its flaws. Perhaps income inequality is one the economic factors to which the editorial is referring. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) found in a 2016 study, “On the first working day of the New Year, Canada’s highest paid 100 CEOs are seriously power lunching: by 12:18 pm today, their average pay is already $48,636 — what it takes the average full-time, full-year worker all of 2016 to earn.
In the CCPA annual examination of CEO pay in Canada, the country’s top 100 CEOs pocketed, on average, $8.96 million in 2014 — 184 times more than the average wage in Canada.”
Seems like a fair system to hold up as the model. Just so we’re clear, this is sarcasm.
The New Brunswick Union believes binding arbitration – without the rigged rules the Premier wants applied – is a fair way to decide this dispute.