The nonunion employees of the City of Toronto should be buying the unionized employees a drink.
Did you catch the story today that has Mayor Ford and his buddies on Council stumbling to try and explain why, despite his promise to cut and slash and “remove all the gravy” from City employees, they intend to give employees a 2.25 % raise, costing “taxpayers” nearly $ 9 million dollars this year alone? Outrageous!! Those lazy City bastards getting a raise! Don’t they know that in the private sector people are all losing their jobs. Time to get rid of Ford, dammit. Time to contract out all the City employees…
Oh, wait a minute… these are nonunion employees. I take that all back. It’s only unionized public employees who are lazy, gravy slurping, pigs. I don’t mind my tax dollars going to hard-working, nonunion employees. Glad we got that sorted out.
Actually, the nonunion employees owe their raise directly to the efforts of the unionized employees. That is one of the important things that unions do. When they win improvements for their members, those benefits often trickle down to nonunion employees. Industrial relations scholars call this the “indirect” union effects. Nonunion Toyota workers earn good wages because unionized workers at GM, Ford, and Chrysler do. A real threat of unionization encouraged nonunion employers to match or come close to matching unionized rates in the industry.
“The non-union people have taken their lumps over the years,” Holyday said. “I think it will be difficult for council not to give the non-union the same increase as the union people are getting.”
When the unionized City employees bargained a raise above 2% last year, the City (under Mayor Miller… I wonder how Ford voted on that move?) froze wages of the nonunion staff (or in some cases gave a smaller raise), because he could. [Just like Premier McGuinty froze nonunion provincial employee wages last year, but not unionized provincial workers]
Do you think the wage freeze at the City of Toronto pissed off the nonunion workers? You betta ya. In fact, they began seriously exploring unionizing themselves, as I noted before. So Ford and his cronies have to do something to throw water on that idea. A nice big raise for the nonunion staff might just put an end to whatever momentum that campaign has.
That’s why the nonunion staff should give CUPE a nice big kiss!
[P.S. For labour law students: Is it unlawful for an employer to grant a raise to nonunion workers if the objective is to discourage them from supporting a union organizing campaign? Hmmm. Take a look at Section 70 and 72 of the Labour Relations Act. Does this cover an employer giving a raise during an organizing campaign? How would you prove that part of the motivation for the raise is to influence the organizing campaign?]