No country has ever achieved widespread prosperity and created a large middle class without strong unions.
If the Ontario government goes through with its plan to wipe out Slots at Racetracks, putting 51,000 people out of work, it will result in further reducing the impact of unions in Ontario. It's a form of union-busting.
Union density in falling in Canada, the gap is widening between rich and the poor. The fallout from losing Slots at the Racetracks will be felt across Ontario but in particular our rural communities: trainers, breeders, growers, farmers, retailers, wholesalers, seed companies,veterinarians, farriers, fencing, transport, harness and saddle makers, trucks and trailers, building supplies, etc.
Since 1975, OLG lotteries, OLG Slots & Casinos and Resort Casinos have generated more than $28 billion for the benefit of the Province of Ontario. That sentence was taken right from OLG's website. Twenty-eight billion dollars.
"Generations of hard-fought union struggles brought Canadians the eight-hour day and the weekend; workplace health and safety legislation and employment standards; income supports for new parents and training for unemployed workers; public pensions and minimum wages; protections for injured workers and equal pay for equal work.
"The international evidence shows unequivocally that where unions are strong they reduce the pay gap between workers and management, men and women, racial minorities and other workers. All over the world unions are a major force in reducing inequality and poverty, and broadening access to basic supports for everyone.
"But decades of watering down rules for capital investment and eroding workers’ statutory rights, combined with rapid globalization and technological change, has steadily shifted the balance of power towards employers.
"As a result, median wages and incomes of those working full-time full-year are today no further ahead than they were in the late 1970s, taking inflation into account. The economy may have more than doubled since, but many workers without a collective voice have lost ground. Their numbers are rising.
Today, CEO pay packages swell by double digit increases every year – in good times and bad – even while Canada’s bosses put downward pressure on wages, pensions and benefits.
The future of the middle class is anything but assured, particularly for younger workers and newcomers who work in parts of the economy where unions have made little headway in organizing.
The stakes are huge, the path ahead uncertain.
(For the full article, go to: http://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/commentary/why-unions-matter)