Lowering Our Standards

Reposted from http://behindthenumbers.ca/2013/09/03/lowering-our-standards/

September 3rd, 2013 Trish Hennessy ·

The right-wing Fraser Institute has released a paper that, if implemented, would dramatically lower our standards for worker pay, workers’ rights and workplace protections.

It urges governments in Ontario and B.C. to adopt American-style “right-to-work” (RTW) laws which violate a core principle upheld in Canadian law: if a majority of workers in a workplace vote to form a union, everyone should be a member and pay dues – because all workers in that workplace benefit from the gains made by the union in their workplace.

Effectively, it would undermine unions’ right to organize in Canada.

It also promotes the right-wing frame of the day: “worker choice”. That’s the language the Fraser Institute is touting in its latest paper. The frame is an American import; an expression of the oft-touted freedom values in that country. It’s Orwellian language, really, because what we’ve witnessed under similar anti-worker laws in the U.S. is that workers there have far fewer options, worse working conditions and lower pay.

Here’s the harsh reality of workers who live in American states that have implemented such anti-worker laws:

  • The average worker in RTW states earns $1,540 less a year than workers who live in states with more robust worker protection laws;
  • Median household income is $6,437 less ($46,402 vs. $52,839);
  • The percentage of jobs in low-wage occupations is higher (26.7 percent vs. 19.5 percent);
  • Poverty rates are higher (15.3 percent vs. 13.1 percent);
  • More infants die (infant mortality rates are 15 percent higher);
  • And more workers die in the workplace (36 percent higher).

Learn more about the harmful effects of RTW laws in the U.S. here.

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