Transcript: OPSEAU Strike | Feb 11, 1996

(music plays)

The opening sequence rolls.
In animation, the title "Fourth Reading" spins against a red background.
Then, snippets from the current episode play.

Steve says THIS WEEK, CIVIL
SERVICE CONTRACT TALKS
BREAK DOWN.

A clip shows a demonstration.

A woman says IF THE EMPLOYER IS ALLOWED
TO REPLACE THAT WITH SCABS,
THEN THAT UNDERCUTS
OUR STRENGTH.
SO WE WOULD BE REMOVING OUR
SERVICES AT THAT POINT.

In another clip, a man in a conference says WE'RE TRYING TO TREAT THE
TAXPAYERS FAIRLY, THE PEOPLE
WHO WILL BE STAYING
HERE FAIRLY.
WE'RE TRYING TO DEAL WITH
THOSE WHO WILL BE LEAVING
THE CIVIL SERVICE
AS FAIRLY AS WE CAN.

Now, a demonstration appears on screen.

Steve says IS ONTARIO HEADED
FOR A GOVERNMENT STRIKE?

(music plays)

Steve and two guests sit around a table in the shape of a number 4.

Steve is in his early thirties, clean-shaven, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, patterned tie and a white shirt.

He says AFTERNOON, EVERYONE.
GLAD YOU COULD BE WITH US
FOR ANOTHER EDITION OF
4th READING.
THESE PAST COUPLE OF YEARS
HAVE BEEN ESPECIALLY
DIFFICULT FOR THE 80,000
PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR AND ARE
PAID BY THE
PEOPLE OF ONTARIO.
FIRST, THE NDP SOCIAL
CONTRACT SAW PUBLIC SERVANT
SALARIES CUT BY 2 BILLION DOLLARS.
AND NOW FOR THE FIRST TIME
EVER, THE PROSPECT OF AT
LEAST 13,000 LAY-OFFS
AND A GENERAL STRIKE BY
GOVERNMENT WORKERS,
IT'S ON THE HORIZON.
IN A MOMENT, THE TWO KEY
PLAYERS IN THIS DISPUTE
WILL BE HERE.
THE CHAIRMAN OF THE
MANAGEMENT BOARD OF
CABINET, AND THE HEAD OF
THE EMPLOYEES' UNION.
LET'S LOOK FIRST AT HOW
THIS SITUATION DEVELOPED.

[cheering]

A clip shows Mike Harris in a room full of people greeting at him. In the walls of the room, there are blue posters with white letters that reads "Mike Harris."

Steve says DURING THE ELECTION
CAMPAIGN, TORIES VOWED TO
CUT 13,000 CIVIL SERVANTS.

Now, a clip shows Mike Harris standing behind a lectern. He wears a black suit, light blue shirt and patterned tie.

He says YOUR MANDATE IS A DIRECT
ACTION TO FIX A GOVERNMENT
THAT ISN'T WORKING
FOR YOU ANYMORE.

[applause]

Steve says NOW, THEY'RE
READY TO DELIVER.

Now, a clip shows a man and a woman entering a room. The room is full of journalists sitting in rows. In front of them, two men sit at a long desk.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Dave Johnson, Chair, Management Board of Cabinet."

Dave is in his mid-thirties, clean-shaven and with short brown hair. He wears a dark suit, white shirt and dotted tie.

He says IN LIGHT OF THE SITUATION
IN THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO,
IT'S A VERY FAIR OFFER.
WE'RE TRYING TO TREAT THE
TAXPAYERS FAIRLY, THE PEOPLE
WHO WILL BE STAYING
HERE FAIRLY.
WE'RE TRYING TO DEAL WITH
THOSE WHO WILL BE LEAVING
THE CIVIL SERVICE
AS FAIRLY AS WE CAN.
I HOPE IT'LL BE
VIEWED THAT WAY.

Now, a clip shows people in a demonstration blocking a road and preventing a truck from moving. Then, a man kicks the truck, opens the door of the truck and tries to grab the driver. A police officer stops him.

Steve says IF THERE IS A
PUBLIC SERVANT STRIKE,
IT COULD GET VERY NASTY.
THAT'S BECAUSE THE
GOVERNMENT HAS INDICATED
IT MIGHT USE
REPLACEMENT WORKERS.
THAT'S NOW LEGAL SINCE THE
TORIES REVEALED THE NDP'S
ANTI-STRIKEBREAKER
LAW, BILL 40.

Now, a clip shows the parliament in session.

Steve continues THE TORIES ALSO MADE
CHANGES TO THE CIVIL
SERVICE UNION'S PENSION
THROUGH THE OMNIBUS BILL.
THE GOVERNMENT NOW HAS THE
POWER TO DECIDE WHETHER A
LAID OFF CIVIL SERVANT,
CLOSE TO RETIREMENT AGE,
CAN GET AN EARLY PENSION.

Now, a clip shows a woman in a red blazer surrounded by people.

Steve continues BUT THE ONTARIO PUBLIC
SERVICE EMPLOYEES' UNION IS
FIGHTING BACK.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Leah Casselman, President OPSEU."

Leah is in his thirties, with dark hair in a bob. She wears a red blazer over a black shirt.

Leah says THE IDEA OF WORKERS HAVING
THE RIGHT TO STRIKE AS TO
BE ABLE TO WITHDRAW THEIR
LABOUR, IF THE EMPLOYER IS
ALLOWED TO REPLACE
THAT WITH SCABS,
THEN THAT UNDERCUTS
OUR STRENGTH.
SO WE WOULD BE REMOVING OUR
SERVICES AT THAT POINT.

Now, a room full of people sitting in rows appears on screen. Two men stand in front of them. Behind the men, a sign reads "OPSEU- SEFPO Strike headquarters."

Steve says FOR THE FIRST TIME,
OPSEU MEMBERS HAVE THE
RIGHT TO STRIKE.
THE NDP GOVERNMENT
GAVE THEM THAT RIGHT.

Now, a room full of people rooting appears on screen.

Steve continues CONTRACT TALKS BROKE OFF
EARLIER
THIS WEEK WHEN THE UNION
REJECTED WHAT THE GOVERNMENT
CALLED ITS FINAL OFFER.
THAT OFFER INCLUDED ALMOST
DOUBLING THE SEVERANCE
PACKAGE, AND WHAT THE UNION
CONSIDERS TOO VAGUE A
PROMISE OF TRANSITION
ASSISTANCE.

Now, several clips show images of a conference room full of journalists, and images of the workers on strike.

Steve says OPSEU WANTS RETRAINING FOR
LAID OFF WORKERS AND FULL
PENSIONS FOR WORKERS
CLOSE TO RETIREMENT AGE.
IF THERE IS A STRIKE,
GOVERNMENT SERVICES SUCH AS
LICENSING OFFICES AND
INSPECTION STATIONS WILL
GRIND TO A HALT.
BUT THE GOVERNMENT IS
BETTING THAT THE UNION IS
WEAK AND WORKERS DON'T HAVE THE
STOMACH TO HIT THE PAVEMENT.

Now, a woman wearing a blue overcoat appears on screen.

She says FROM THE QUICK LOOK I HAD
AT IT, I THOUGHT IT LOOKED
REASONABLE, GIVEN OUR TIMES.

Now, an image of the city centre and the Ontario government building appear on screen.

Steve says THEY'RE ALWAYS HOPING
THAT THE PUBLIC WILL AGREE
THAT THE BUREAUCRACY IS
TOO BIG AND TOO EXPENSIVE.

Now, a leaflet with a newspaper appearance appears on screen. Several titles read "Harris's 'common sense' revolution." "Tories' axe swings again." "Bosses get 18 percent raises." "Get mad, fight back."

Steve continues
STILL, THE UNION IS
MOBILIZING ITS MEMBERS FOR
A STRIKE.

Now, a woman in her late thirties with short auburn hair appears on screen.

She says THIS STRIKE WILL GO ON
DEFINITELY BECAUSE WE'RE NOT
ACCEPTING HIS OFFER AT ALL.
IT'S JUST LIKE WHAT HE'S
OFFERING IS POISON WRAPPED
UP IN SUGAR, THAT'S IT.

Now, an image of a highway with lots of snowplow trucks on it appears on screen.

Steve says THE UNION IS ALSO
HOPING THE PUBLIC WON'T
TOLERATE REDUCED ESSENTIAL
SERVICES SUCH AS SNOWPLOWING
AND AMBULANCES.

Now, people in a demonstration appear on screen.

Steve continues THE UNION STRENGTH
HAS NEVER BEEN TESTED
IN A STRIKE SITUATION.
A RALLY HELD EARLIER THIS
WEEK DREW ONLY A SMALL CROWD.

The clips end.

Now, back in the studio Steve says OKAY, LET'S TAKE A LOOK
INSIDE THE FACT FILE AND
SEE JUST HOW THE PUBLIC
WOULD BE AFFECTED BY A
POSSIBLE STRIKE.

Now, a slate appears on screen with the title "Minimum Staff."

Steve reads the information on the slate and says MANY SERVICES WILL BE
OPERATED WITH JUST A
MINIMUM STAFF.
FOR EXAMPLE: JAILS, PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITALS,
PUBLIC HEALTH LABS,
ONLY A HANDFUL OF MEAT INSPECTORS
WILL BE ON THE JOB,
AND HIGHWAY SNOWPLOWING WILL BE CUT WAY BACK.

The slate changes.

Steve continues SERVICES THAT WILL BE SHUT DOWN COMPLETELY
WILL BE, FOR EXAMPLE,
THE LAND REGISTRY OFFICES,
OFFICES ISSUING OHIP CARDS
AND THOSE INVOLVED IN DRIVERS TESTING
AND LICENSES.
BY THE WAY, THE ONTARIO
PROVINCIAL POLICE WILL STILL
BE ON THE JOB, AS WILL
AMBULANCE DISPATCHERS.
OKAY, JOINING US TO
NEGOTIATE, AND PRESUMABLY
RESOLVE THIS DISPUTE
BEFORE OUR VERY EYES,
THE TWO MAIN PLAYERS.
DAVE JOHNSON IS THE CHAIRMAN
OF THE MANAGEMENT BOARD
OF CABINET.

Now, Dave Johnson appears on screen. He wears a dark blue suit, white shirt and red patterned tie.

Steve continues HE IS THE GOVERNMENT'S LEAD
MINISTER IN THESE NEGOTIATIONS.
AND LEAH CASSELMAN IS HERE.

Now, Leah Casselman appears on screen. She wears a dark pink blazer over a white blouse.

Steve continues SHE IS PRESIDENT OF THE
ONTARIO PUBLIC SERVICE
EMPLOYEES' UNION.
AND I THANK BOTH OF
YOU FOR BEING HERE.
I THINK THIS IS THE FIRST
TIME YOU TWO HAVE ACTUALLY
BEEN FACE TO
FACE IN PUBLIC.
SO LET'S SEE WHAT
WE CAN DO HERE.
PHILOSOPHICALLY, WHAT
ARE YOU STRIVING FOR
IN THESE NEGOTIATIONS.
DON'T GIVE ME SPECIFICS.
WHERE ARE YOU COMING FROM?

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Leah Casselman, President OPSEU."

Leah says FAIR TREATMENT
FOR WORKERS.
WE HAVE A GOVERNMENT THAT
WAS ELECTED LAST JUNE, PART
OF THEIR PLATFORM WAS TO
DOWNSIZE THE CIVIL SERVICE.
THE NUMBER THEY TALKED
ABOUT BACK THEN WAS 13,000.
WE'VE NOW HAD TRIAL
BALLOONS FOR 27,000.
WE'RE CONCERNED THAT THE
PEOPLE WHO WILL BE AFFECTED
BY THOSE CUTS NEED
TO BE TREATED FAIRLY.
WE DON'T WANT THEM, QUITE
FRANKLY, BOOTED OUT THE DOOR
INTO AN ECONOMY WHERE
THERE ARE NO JOBS.
AND WE WANT THEM TREATED
FAIRLY, WITH RESPECT.

Steve says PHILOSOPHICALLY, WHERE'S
THE GOVERNMENT COMING FROM?

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Dave Johnson, Chair, Management Board Of Cabinet."

Dave says PHILOSOPHICALLY,
FAIR TREATMENT.
FAIR TREATMENT
FOR EMPLOYEES.
THOSE WHO ARE STAYING,
THOSE WHO ARE LEAVING.
FAIR TREATMENT
FOR THE TAXPAYERS.
BUT WE DO HAVE TO DOWNSIZE.
I THINK IT'S WELL KNOWN
THAT THE GOVERNMENT, THE
PROVINCE OF ONTARIO IS
SPENDING A MILLION DOLLARS
AN HOUR MORE THAN
THE REVENUES.
THAT HAS TO BE DEALT WITH.
WE CAN'T KEEP PASSING
THAT ALONG TO THE FUTURE.
WITHIN THAT CONTEXT...

Steve interrupts and says WHY DO WE HAVE TO DOWNSIZE
THE CIVIL SERVICE?

Dave says WE HAVE TO REDUCE ALL COSTS.
CERTAINLY, TRANSFER PAYMENTS
ARE BEING REDUCED TO
HOSPITALS, TO SCHOOLS,
TO MUNICIPALITIES.
THE MEMBERS OF PROVINCIAL
PARLIAMENT ARE HAVING THEIR
BUDGETS REDUCED.
EVERYBODY IS HAVING TO BE
REDUCED, AND WE NEED TO
DOWNSIZE THE CIVIL SERVICE
IN THE CONTEXT OF OUR
OVERALL RESTRUCTURING TO
DELIVER THE SERVICES...
I'LL TELL YOU WHY IT'S MOST
IMPORTANT, STEVE BECAUSE WE
HAVE TO LOOK AT A
LONGER TIMEFRAME.
YOU TALK ABOUT
PHILOSOPHICALLY.
WE NEED TO DELIVER SERVICES
TODAY TO PEOPLE... HEALTH,
EDUCATION, THE KIND OF
SERVICES THAT THE VIEWERS
HAVE SEEN ON THE TV, BUT WE
NEED TO BE ABLE TO HAVE THE
MONEY TO DELIVER THOSE SAME
SERVICES FIVE YEARS FROM
NOW, TEN YEARS FROM NOW.
AND AT THE RATE WE'RE GOING,
WE'RE NOT PAYING FOR THEM.
WE'RE PASSING THE COSTS
ALONG TO FUTURE GENERATIONS.
THOSE FUTURE GENERATIONS
WILL NOT BE ABLE TO AFFORD
THE SERVICES
THAT THEY NEED.

Steve says ARE THE TWO VIEWS THAT WE'RE
HEARING TODAY, ARE THEY
INCOMPATIBLE IN
YOUR JUDGMENT?

Leah says WELL, I GUESS THE FIRST
POINT I'D LIKE TO MAKE IS
THAT LAYING OFF 13,000
MINIMUM TAXPAYERS, IS GOING
TO HAVE AN IMPACT, NOT
ONLY ON THE GOVERNMENT'S
REVENUE, BUT ALSO
ON THE ECONOMY.
THESE WORKERS LIVE
ACROSS THE PROVINCE.
THEY LIVE IN COMMUNITIES,
WORK IN COMMUNITIES, THEY
ADD VALUE TO THOSE
COMMUNITIES THROUGH THE
SERVICES THEY PROVIDE, AND
THE LOCAL TAXES THEY PAY,
AND THE PROVINCIAL
TAXES THEY PAY.
WHAT THEY'RE LOOKING AT IS
TAKING DECENT PAY JOBS,
ACROSS THIS PROVINCE,
ELIMINATING THAT TAX BASE
FOR THEMSELVES, AND HOPING
THAT THE PRIVATE SECTOR
WILL PICK UP
AND CREATE JOBS.

Steve says I WAS GOING TO SAY,
YOU'RE ASSUMING THAT ALL
13,000 END UP ON POGEY,
WHICH IS NOT GOING TO
BE THE CASE, RIGHT?
THEY WILL GET JOBS
ELSEWHERE, MANY OF THEM.

Leah says WHERE?
WITH WHAT?
I MEAN, LOOK AT THE
ECONOMY THESE DAYS.
WHO'S OUT THERE
CREATING JOBS?
WHO'S OUT THERE CREATING
JOBS THAT WILL HELP WITH
THE TAX BASE THEY'RE
NOW GOING TO ELIMINATE?
THAT'S THE ISSUE WE'RE
TRYING TO ADDRESS AS WELL.

Dave says CAN EVERYBODY
BE GUARANTEED A JOB?
OBVIOUSLY NOT.
BUT SOME WILL BE
RETIRING EARLY.
WE HAVE WHAT'S CALLED
AN 80 FACTOR, OF COURSE.
AND THAT MEANS IF YOUR YEARS
OF SERVICE AND AGE ADD UP
TO 80, THAT YOU'RE ELIGIBLE
FOR AN EARLY PENSION.
THROUGH THE OFFER, WE'VE
OFFERED A BRIDGING MECHANISM
FOR THOSE WHO ARE VERY CLOSE
TO THE 80 FACTOR TO RECEIVE
THAT BENEFIT.
OTHER PEOPLE WILL, IN FACT,
FIND OTHER JOBS, AND SOME
PEOPLE WILL HAVE DIFFICULTY.

Steve says BUT SHE'S RIGHT.
IN THE SHORT RUN,
THIS COSTS MORE.
IN THE SHORT RUN, IT'S GOING
TO COST WHAT, 150 MILLION DOLLARS
MORE TO BUY
THESE PEOPLE OUT?

Dave says WELL, IN THE SHORT RUN, THE
COSTS WE RECKON ASSOCIATED
WITH THIS CONTRACT OF 150 MILLION
TO 200 MILLION DOLLARS.
OF COURSE WE'RE LOOKING
AT THE LONG RUN.

Steve says BUT HOW DOES
THAT SAVE MONEY?
IF YOU NEED SHORT-TERM
SAVINGS, AS THIS GOVERNMENT
CLEARLY HAS SAID THAT IT
WANTS, HOW DOES THIS HELP
YOU GET THERE?

Dave says THAT COSTING IS ASSOCIATED
WITH SEVERAL COMPONENTS.
ONE OF THE COMPONENTS, FOR
EXAMPLE, IS THE FACT THAT
WITH THE LIFTING OF THE
SOCIAL CONTRACT, WE ARE
PERMITTING THE EMPLOYEES
TO WORK THE EXTRA DAYS
ASSOCIATED WITH THE SOCIAL
CONTRACT DAYS, FORMERLY
CALLED RAE DAYS, I GUESS,
THEY'LL BE PAID FOR IT, AS WELL.
THEIR TAKE-HOME PAY WILL
THEN BE UP BY ABOUT 2 PERCENT.
THAT'S PART OF
THE COMPONENT.
MERIT INCREASES
WILL BE RESTORED.
THAT'S ANOTHER 3 PERCENT,
FOR ABOUT A THIRD OF THE
UNION MEMBERSHIP WHO
WOULD BE ELIGIBLE FOR IT.
THAT'S ANOTHER
COMPONENT OF IT.
WE FEEL FOR THOSE WHO ARE
LEAVING IT'S ONLY FAIR THAT
THE SEVERANCE PAYMENTS BE
ENHANCED, SO WE HAVE DOUBLED
THE SEVERANCE PAYMENT FOR
THOSE PEOPLE LEAVING.

Steve says THIS SOUNDS LIKE FOR
THE FIRST TIME IN SEVERAL
YEARS, MANY OF YOUR MEMBERS
WILL BE GETTING, AND YOU
REPRESENT ABOUT 67,000 OF
THE 80,000 CIVIL SERVANTS
WHO WORK FOR THE PUBLIC,
SOUNDS LIKE MANY OF THEM
ARE GOING TO GET
A SALARY INCREASE.

Leah says WE'RE NOT ARGUING, NOR WOULD
WE ARGUE THAT THE HARRIS
GOVERNMENT HAS SAID IN THEIR
LITERATURE, WHEN THE SOCIAL
CONTRACT ENDS, IT WILL END.
WE WILL NOT CONTINUE
THE SOCIAL CONTRACT.
THEY HAVE ALSO SAID THEY
ARE COMMITTED TO FREE
COLLECTIVE BARGAINING.
SO WE'RE GOING TO HOLD
THEM TO THAT, AS WELL.
BUT WHAT YOU'VE GOT TO
UNDERSTAND IS THE 2 PERCENT
THEY'RE GETTING BACK IS
JUST UP TO THE SALARY THEY
BARGAINED FOR IN THE PAST.
WHAT WE'RE SAYING IS
THAT'S AN INTERESTING SELL
MECHANISM FOR THIS
CONTRACT, BUT HAVING YOUR
WAGES WHERE THEY SHOULD BE
IN YOUR POCKET ISN'T GOING
TO HELP YOU WHEN YOU'RE OUT
THE DOOR IN THREE MONTHS OR
SIX MONTHS.

Steve says OKAY, BUT WOULD YOU BE
EXPECTING THIS GOVERNMENT TO
COMPENSATE YOU FOR THE MONEY
LOST DURING THE RAE DAY YEARS?

Leah says NO, WE'RE NOT
ASKING FOR THAT.
OUR DEMANDS ARE
VERY SENSIBLE.
WHAT WE DID LAST WEEK WAS
WE TOOK 95 DEMANDS OFF THE
TABLE TO GET DOWN TO THE
NITTY-GRITTY TO GET A CONTRACT.
IT TOOK THE EMPLOYER 24
HOURS TO GET PERMISSION TO
COME BACK TO THE
BARGAINING TABLE.
SAID YES WE'LL
BARGAIN THOSE ISSUES.
WHEN WE GOT INTO BARGAINING,
IT WAS CLEAR THEY DIDN'T
HAVE A MANDATE TO
MOVE AS QUICKLY.
WE EVEN WROTE A HUMAN
RESOURCES PACKAGE FOR THIS
GOVERNMENT WHICH WOULD
ADDRESS THEIR CONCERNS AND
ALSO PROTECT OUR MEMBERS.
JUST ONE MORE POINT, THE
PENSION BRIDGING THAT
Mr. JOHNSON'S TALKING
ABOUT, WE ALREADY HAVE.
WE NEGOTIATED THAT WHEN WE
SPLIT OUR PENSION PLAN AWAY
FROM THE MANAGER'S AND MPP'S
PENSION PLAN, SO THAT WE COULD
INVEST IT AND MAKE SOME
REAL MONEY FOR OUR MEMBERS.
THAT'S ALREADY
PART OF THAT PLAN.
SO THEY'RE GIVING US
SOMETHING WE ALREADY HAVE.

Dave says IN ACTUAL FACT,
THERE IS A DISTINCTION.
THE DISTINCTION IS WHAT
YOU'VE NEGOTIATED TO THIS
POINT IS THAT IF THE
POSITION IS STILL THERE,
THEN PEOPLE CAN TAKE
ADVANTAGE OF IT TODAY.
AND WHAT WE'RE OFFERED IS
EVEN WITH THE POSITION
BEING SURPLUS, WE'VE
OFFERED TO PUT IN PLACE
THIS PART-TIME WORK TO THE
DEGREE THAT IT EXIST
AND TO BRIDGE BETWEEN.
SO IT IS, IN FACT,
AN ENHANCEMENT.
I AGREE IT'S BUILDING
ON WHAT YOU HAVE.
BUT IT IS...

Leah says THAT'S A VERY, VERY
POOR SUBSTITUTE FOR
WHAT YOU'VE EXEMPTED
YOURSELF FROM UNDER THE LAW
WITH BILL 26.

Dave says BUT YOU'LL HAVE TO
ADMIT IT'S BETTER THAN
WHAT'S IN THE
CONTRACT TODAY.
THERE'S NO QUESTION
ABOUT THAT.
IN TERMS OF BILL 26...

Leah says UNDER THE LAW, AS AN
EMPLOYER, YOU WERE BOUND
TO PROVIDE MONEYS INTO
THE PENSION FUND IF
OLDER WORKERS WERE
GOING TO BE LAID OFF CLOSE
TO THEIR RETIREMENT.
YOU TRIED TO DO THAT THROUGH
A REGULATORY CHANGE IN YOUR
CABINET IN JULY.
WE FOUND OUT ABOUT IT, WE
TOOK YOU TO COURT, YOU
LOST, WE WON BECAUSE
IT WAS ILLEGAL.
UNDER BILL 26 BECAUSE YOU
ARE THE ONLY EMPLOYER IN
THE PROVINCE WHO CAN CHANGE
THE LAW, YOU CHANGED THE
LAW TO SAY IT IS NOW
ILLEGAL FOR US TO TAKE YOU
TO COURT FOR DOING
SOMETHING THAT IS ILLEGAL.
AND YOU HAVE EXEMPTED
YOURSELF, AS AN EMPLOYER IN
THIS PROVINCE, FROM HAVING
TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR
ACTIONS IN ENSURING THAT
OLDER WORKERS CAN RETIRE
WHEN THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO
WITH DIGNITY AND NOT END
UP ON UNEMPLOYMENT
OR WELFARE.

Dave says THE COURTS ON A BASIC
TECHNICALITY, THREW IT BACK.
BUT I THINK THE BASIC POINT
HERE IS THAT THE PENSION
PLAN THAT'S IN PLACE FOR
THE CIVIL SERVANTS OF THE
PROVINCE OF ONTARIO
IS SECOND TO NONE.
I THINK IT'S PROBABLY...

Leah says AND WE PAY 50
PERCENT OF IT.

Dave says I THINK IT'S PROBABLY
EQUIVALENT TO THE PENSION
PLAN IN THE FEDERAL CIVIL
SERVICE, FOR EXAMPLE.
BUT IT'S BETTER THAN THE
PENSION PLAN THAT MUNICIPAL
EMPLOYEES WOULD GET, OR
HOSPITAL EMPLOYEES WOULD GET.
IT'S INDEXED.
IT'S DEFINED.
IT'S ONE OF THE BEST PENSION
PLANS THAT REMAINED...

Leah says AND WE'VE PAID FOR IT.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Dave says WELL, WE'VE ALL
PAID FOR IT.
THE TAXPAYERS HAVE PAID FOR
IT, OPSEU HAS PAID FOR IT,
BUT LET'S NOT
MISLEAD ANYBODY.
THIS IS AN EXCELLENT PENSION
PLAN, AND IT REMAINS
AN EXCELLENT PLAN.
AND WE'RE HAPPY TO
BE A PART OF IT.

Steve says LET ME JUMP IN FOR
A SECOND AND JUST FIND OUT
WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE.
BECAUSE THERE MAY BE A SENSE
AMONG THE PUBLIC WE'RE
TALKING ABOUT DEPUTY
MINISTERS MAKING 150 GRAND
A YEAR HERE.

Leah says WITH DOUBLE
PENSION CREDITS?
NO, THOSE AREN'T
OUR MEMBERS.

Steve says WHO ARE THE PEOPLE
THAT YOU'RE REPRESENTING?
HOW MUCH DO THEY
MAKE ON AVERAGE?

Leah says ON AVERAGE THEY
MAKE ABOUT 38,000 DOLLARS.
THEY ARE NURSES IN
PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITALS.
THEY ARE CLEANERS IN
PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITALS.
THEY ARE JAIL
GUARDS IN JAILS.
THEY ARE CLERICAL
STAFF IN JAILS.
THEY'RE THE CLERKS THAT
HELP ISSUE THE OHIP CARDS.
THEY ARE AMBULANCE OFFICES,
AIR AMBULANCE
OFFICES UP NORTH.
WE KNOW THE GOVERNMENT
THINKS NORTHERN ONTARIO
STOPS AT NORTH BAY, BUT
WE HAVE AN INCREDIBLE AIR
AMBULANCE SYSTEM UP NORTH.
THOSE ARE OUR WORKERS.

Steve says CAN WE GET
BY WITHOUT THEM?
IF THERE'S A STRIKE, COULD
WE GET BY WITHOUT THEM?
THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
HAS SHUT DOWN TWICE IN THE
LAST SEVERAL MONTHS AND
PEOPLE COMPLAINED A LOT,
BUT I GUESS BASICALLY THEY
GOT BY UNTIL THEY FOUND A DEAL.
IS THAT GOING
TO HAPPEN HERE?

Leah says YOU'RE TALKING THE
EQUIVALENT OF THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT WORKERS IN THE
UNITED STATES VERSUS WHAT
WE HAVE HERE IN ONTARIO,
WHICH ARE PROVINCIAL
GOVERNMENT WORKERS.
SO OUR WORKERS ARE THE ONES
WHO INSPECT THE TRUCKS.
THE WHEELS DON'T FLY OFF
AND KILL MORE PEOPLE.
WE'RE WAITING FOR THE
GOVERNMENT TO FOLLOW THROUGH
ON THEIR PROMISE TO
HIRE BACK THE NUMBER OF
INSPECTORS THAT SHOULD BE THERE
SO THE WHEELS DON'T FLY OFF.
THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO DO
THE HANDS-ON PROTECTION OF
WORKERS, OF OTHER WORKERS,
MINISTRY OF LABOUR
INSPECTORS, EMPLOYMENT
STANDARD OFFICERS, SO YOU
DON'T HAVE SWEAT SHOPS.

Steve says WOULD YOU AGREE WE CANNOT
OPERATE OUR DAILY LIVES
IN THIS PROVINCE WITHOUT
THESE JOBS BEING FILLED?

Dave says ABSOLUTELY.
AND WE HAVE NEGOTIATED AN
ESSENTIAL SERVICE AGREEMENT
WITH OPSEU, THAT'S SOMETHING
WE HAVE JOINTLY AGREED
UPON, AS TO THOSE PEOPLE
WHO ARE ABSOLUTELY
ESSENTIAL ON A DAY BY
DAY BASIS TO BE THERE.
SOME OF THE SNOWPLOWS,
SOME OF THE PEOPLE IN
THE CORRECTIONAL...

Steve says THAT'S WHAT,
ABOUT 20 PERCENT
OF THE TOTAL JOBS?

Dave says I BELIEVE THAT'S
SOMEWHERE IN THAT VICINITY.
AND WE NEED THEM THERE.
THE AGREEMENT CALLS WE WON'T
USE REPLACEMENT WORKERS IN
POSITIONS IDENTIFIED
AS ESSENTIAL.
WE WILL LIVE UP
TO THAT AGREEMENT.

Steve says BUT YOU WILL USE REPLACEMENT
WORKERS IN OTHER JOBS?

Dave says I HAVEN'T SAID THAT.
I'VE SAID...

Steve says I THOUGHT YOU
SAID YOU'D CONSIDER IT.

Dave says I SAID IT WOULD HAVE
TO BE A CONSIDERATION.
WE'RE ELIGIBLE TO DO THAT.
BUT IT'S NOT OUR GAME PLAN
GOING INTO THIS SITUATION.

Steve says TELL ME THIS, Mr. JOHNSON
BECAUSE YOUR GOVERNMENT, ONE
OF THE FIRST AND MOST
PROMINENT THINGS IT DID
WAS TO GET RID OF THE
ANTI-STRIKEBREAKER LAW WHICH
MEANS REPLACEMENT WORKERS
ARE ALLOWED TO BE BROUGHT
IN NOW IN THE
MIDDLE OF A DISPUTE.
WHERE'S THE INCENTIVE
FOR YOU TO SETTLE THIS?
IF THESE FOLKS GO OUT, YOUR
POLL NUMBERS PROBABLY GO
UP, WHICH YOU COULD
USE THESE DAYS.
BECAUSE TAKING ON THE UNIONS
IS A POPULAR THING TO DO.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY THE
SALARIES TO THESE FOLKS.
YOU BRING IN REPLACEMENT
WORKERS MAYBE WHO WILL DO
SOME OF THE WORK BUT
PROBABLY NOT ALL OF THE
WORK, SO YOU
SAVE MONEY THERE.
WHAT'S THE INCENTIVE
FOR YOU TO SETTLE?

Dave says I THINK THE INCENTIVE IS
TO BE A FAIR EMPLOYER.
I'VE BEEN IN POLITICS NOW
FOR OVER 20 YEARS, AND I'VE
NEVER LOOKED AT IT THAT
WAY, THAT WE GAIN BY HAVING
A STRIKE IN THE POLLS.
I THINK THAT'S AN IMPROPER
WAY TO LOOK AT IT.
THE EMPLOYEES ARE
GOOD EMPLOYEES.
THEY PERFORM AN
EXCELLENT SERVICE.
THE SERVICES THEY PERFORM
ARE NEEDED BY THE PEOPLE OF
THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO.
WE WANT THE GOVERNMENT TO
BE RUN MOST EFFECTIVELY
AND EFFICIENTLY.
I THINK THAT CAN BE
ACCOMPLISHED WITH THE
EMPLOYEES WORKING, NOT
BEING OUT ON STRIKE.

Steve says WOULD YOU LEGISLATE THEM
BACK TO WORK IF NECESSARY?

Dave says WELL, YOU ASK ME WHAT
ARE THE OPTIONS THAT ARE
AVAILABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT?
AND LEGISLATION
IS AN OPTION.
THE USE OF REPLACEMENT
WORKERS IN NON-ESSENTIAL
AREAS WOULD BE AN OPTION.
IN ESSENTIAL SERVICES, WE
ALSO HAVE THE OPTION, IF
THE SERVICES AREN'T BEING
PERFORMED UP TO THE LEVEL TO
PROTECT HEALTH AND SAFETY,
THEN WE CAN WORK WITH OPSEU,
WE CAN WORK WITH THE LABOUR
BOARD TO ENSURE THAT THE
EMPLOYEES ARE THERE.
BUT MY FIRST OPTION IS
TO REACH AN AGREEMENT
WITH THE UNION.
THAT'S WHAT I
WANT TO DO.

Steve says DOES HE... YOU'RE BOTH,
INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, YOU'RE
BOTH POLITICIANS CAUGHT IN A
CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE THERE'S
A LOT GOING ON RIGHT NOW.
THERE ARE MANY CONTRACTS IN
THIS PROVINCE THAT EXPIRE
THIS YEAR, AND THIS ONE
EVERYBODY IS LOOKING TO
TO SEE HOW IT SETTLES BECAUSE
EVERYBODY IS GOING TO TAKE
THEIR SIGNAL FROM THIS ONE.
SO THE QUESTION, I MEAN, THE
GOVERNMENT AND ITS SCHOOL
BOARDS, MUNICIPALITIES, AND
SO ON, HAVE NEGOTIATIONS
WITH 800,000 WORKERS COMING
UP SOMETIME THIS YEAR.

Steve looks at Leah and says HOW INCUMBENT IS IT UPON YOU
TO MAKE SURE YOU DON'T CRACK?

Then he looks at Dave and says HOW INCUMBENT IS IT UPON YOU
TO MAKE SURE YOU DON'T PAY
A NICKEL MORE THAN YOU HAVE
TO BECAUSE 800,000 OTHERS
ARE WATCHING?
YOU FIRST.

Leah says WELL, WHAT YOU HAVE TO
UNDERSTAND IS IN THIS SET OF
NEGOTIATIONS, THIS EMPLOYER
CAN CHANGE THE LAWS AT WILL.
SO THERE'S NO OTHER EMPLOYER
IN THE PROVINCE WHO CAN
JUST GO TO THE HOUSE AND
PASS LEGISLATION TO ORDER
WORKERS BACK TO WORK.
OTHER EMPLOYERS HAVE TO
APPROACH THE GOVERNMENT
AND ASK THEM TO DO
THAT FOR THEM.
THIS EMPLOYER DOESN'T HAVE TO
ASK ANYONE TO DO IT FOR THEM.
THEY CAN DO IT THEMSELVES.

Steve says THEY CAN DO IT.

Leah says THAT'S THE MAJOR DIFFERENCE.
WE ARE BARGAINING WITH
GOVERNMENT AS EMPLOYER.
350 MORE OF OUR COLLECTIVE
AGREEMENTS COME UP AT THE
END OF THE SOCIAL CONTRACT.

Steve says THAT'S THE END
OF MARCH, RIGHT?

Leah says END OF MARCH.
CHILDREN'S AID
SOCIETIES, AMBULANCES.
CLEARLY, THEY WATCH WHAT
HAPPENS IN NEGOTIATIONS WITH
THE ONTARIO PUBLIC SERVICE.
WE'RE VERY
CONSCIOUS OF THAT.
WE'RE NOT LETTING THAT
DETRACT US FROM WHAT OUR
JOB IS AT THE BARGAINING
TABLE TO PROTECT THE
WORKERS UNDER THIS
COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT.
SO WHEN WE HAVE A GOVERNMENT
WHO TELLS US AT ANOTHER
TABLE THAT THEY WILL LOSE
13,000 POSITIONS THROUGH
ATTRITION BY THE YEAR 2000,
WE'RE SAYING, WELL, LET'S SIT
DOWN AND WORK THAT OUT
BECAUSE WE WANT TO MAKE
SURE THAT THERE'S A CIVIL
SERVICE LEFT THAT'S FUNCTIONING.
MY EXAMPLE I USE IS I
DETERMINE THAT I WEIGH TOO
MUCH, AND THE NUMBERS ON
THE SCALE ARE TOO HIGH, AND
IT'S DRIVING ME CRAZY, SO I
CUT OFF MY LEG TO GET THE
NUMBERS DOWN.
WELL, WHY DON'T I JUST LOOK
AT MY DIET AND MY EXERCISE
PROGRAM, AND MAKE SURE
THERE'S SOMETHING WHOLE
THERE AT THE END OF IT.
THAT'S WHAT I
WANT TO SIT DOWN.
THAT'S WHAT WE'VE
OFFERED AT THE TABLE.
A HUMAN RESOURCES PLAN
THAT'S VERY BUSINESS-LIKE,
VERY PROFESSIONAL.
SITTING DOWN AND WORKING
WITH THE UNION ON THIS.

Steve says WHAT, Mr. JOHNSON, WHAT
PRESSURE ARE YOU FEELING
RIGHT NOW TO MAKE SURE, AS
AN EXAMPLE TO THE OTHERS,
YOU DON'T GIVE
AWAY TOO MUCH?

Dave says THE CIRCUMSTANCES, EXCUSE
ME, ARE DIFFERENT.
BUT THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT
THE BROADER PUBLIC SECTOR IS
WATCHING WHAT'S
HAPPENING HERE.
WE HEAR IN THE NEWS JUST
RECENTLY THAT SOME OF THE
UNIVERSITIES ARE LOOKING
FOR ROLL-BACKS, ACTUALLY,
IN TERMS OF WAGES.
WHEREAS AT THE END OF THE
SOCIAL CONTRACT, THE TAKE-HOME
PAY WILL INCREASE BY 2
PERCENT IN THE ONTARIO
CIVIL SERVICE, AND THE
MERIT KICKS IN, AND WE'VE
HEARD BACK FROM SOME
UNIVERSITIES SAYING,
WHAT'S GOING ON?
THIS IS GOING TO MAKE IT A
LITTLE MORE DIFFICULT FOR US.
WHAT YOU'RE GIVING
LOOKS GENEROUS.
THERE ARE RUMOURS, TALK,
THAT THE TTC, ONTARIO
HYDRO, I THINK, ARE ALSO
LOOKING FOR ROLL-BACKS.
SO THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES
ARE DIFFERENT, THOUGH.
WE HAVE TO DEAL IN LIGHT OF
FAIRNESS IN TERMS OF OUR
CIRCUMSTANCES, AND TRY TO
STRIKE A DEAL, AND THEY HAVE
TO DEAL IN THEIR
CIRCUMSTANCES.

Steve says CAN I FOLLOW UP AND
ASK YOU ABOUT STRATEGY?
BECAUSE HERE'S MY POLI-SCI
101 ANALYSIS OF THE THING.
WHAT THE RAE GOVERNMENT
TRIED TO DO WAS TRY TO
SHARE THE PAIN ALL
ACROSS THE BOARD.
EVERYBODY IS GOING TO GIVE
UP A LITTLE BIT, AND THAT
WAY EVERYBODY GETS
TO KEEP THEIR JOBS.
YOU'RE GOING ABOUT
IT VERY DIFFERENTLY.
YOU'RE SAYING, THOSE OF YOU
WHO KEEP YOUR JOBS, YOU'RE
GOING TO DO BETTER.
BUT THERE ARE GOING TO BE
TENS OF THOUSANDS OF YOU
WHO AREN'T GOING TO KEEP
YOUR JOBS, AND YOU'RE
CLEARLY GOING TO DO WORSE.
IS THERE A BIT OF DIVIDE
AND CONQUER GOING ON HERE?

Dave says I WOULDN'T CALL
IT DIVIDE AND CONQUER.
WE'RE TRYING TO BE FAIR TO
BOTH PEOPLE, BUT I THINK WE
CLEARLY HAVE TO BE FAIR TO
THE PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO
STAY WITHIN THE CIVIL
SERVICE BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE
ARE GOING TO STAY IN THE
CIVIL SERVICE, BY FAR THE
MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE WILL
STILL BE HERE AFTER WE'VE
BEEN ABLE TO DOWNSIZE AND
RESTRUCTURE AND HAVE A
GOVERNMENT THAT'S
SUSTAINABLE.
AND WE NEED THOSE PEOPLE TO
BE HAPPY IN THEIR WORK, AND
BE EFFECTIVE AND
TO BE EFFICIENT.
SO CLEARLY WE'RE TRYING
TO BE FAIR TO THEM.

Steve looks at Leah and says WHAT DO YOU THINK
OF MY ANALYSIS?

Leah says THE ECONOMICS, JUST TO MOVE
TO ECONOMICS 101, A DOLLAR
SPENT BY A PUBLIC SECTOR
WORKER IS JUST AS IMPORTANT
AS A DOLLAR SPENT BY A
PRIVATE SECTOR WORKER.
PUBLIC SECTOR IS THE OTHER
ENGINE THAT DRIVES THIS
ECONOMY IN THIS PROVINCE.
CLEARLY OUR MEMBERS ARE
LIVING OUT IN COMMUNITIES.
IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT'S
HAPPENING IN THE ECONOMY,
HOUSING STARTS ARE DOWN,
CAR SALES ARE DOWN.
YOU'VE GOT, OF THE OPSEU
MEMBERS, THE 65,000 WHO ARE
COLLECTIVE BARGAINING RIGHT
NOW ARE WONDERING WHAT'S
GOING TO HAPPEN.
BUT YOU ALSO HAVE THE NUMBER
YOU TALKED ABOUT, WHICH IS
THE OTHER 800,000 PUBLIC
SECTOR WORKER...

Steve says BROADER PUBLIC SECTOR.

Leah says WHO AREN'T SPENDING EITHER.
THAT'S GOT TO HAVE INCREDIBLE
IMPACT ON THE ECONOMY.
THESE PEOPLE SPEND MONEY
IN THEIR COMMUNITIES.
SO I STILL HAVE YET TO BE
EDUCATED BY THIS GOVERNMENT,
BY THIS EMPLOYER, AS TO
WHAT THE VALUE IS TO THEIR
ECONOMIC STRATEGY TO HAVE
MORE PEOPLE UNEMPLOYED THAN
EMPLOYED WHILE WE'RE
TRYING TO BRING INDUSTRY
INTO THE PROVINCE.
THERE'S NO COMMON
SENSE THERE AT ALL.

Dave interrupts and says CAN I JUST SAY, STEVE, MAYBE
JUST A COUPLE OF THINGS.
THERE ARE TENS OF THOUSANDS
OF JOBS BEING CREATED IN
THE ECONOMY.
MANY OF THEM ARE PART-TIME,
SOME OF THEM ARE FULL-TIME,
BUT THERE'S NO QUESTION WE
RELY, PRIMARILY, ON THE
PRIVATE SECTOR
FOR JOB CREATION.
THE AVERAGE PERSON, IF THEY
EARNED 45,000 DOLLARS, TAKE HOME
PAY OF 45,000 AND SPENT
55,000 IN A YEAR, WOULD
KNOW THEY WOULD
HAVE A PROBLEM.
IF THEY DID THAT FOR FIVE
YEARS IN A ROW, THEY WOULD
BE IN BIG TROUBLE.
WELL, THE PROVINCE OF
ONTARIO HAS DONE THAT FOR
FIVE YEARS IN A ROW NOW,
EXCEPT ADD SIX MORE ZEROS ON.
INCOME 45 BILLION,
SPENDING 55 BILLION.
THAT'S THE KIND OF PROBLEM
WE HAVE TO COME TO GRIPS WITH.
THAT WON'T BE GOOD FOR THE
CIVIL SERVICE, THAT'S NOT
GOOD FOR THE
PEOPLE OF ONTARIO.
WE HAVE TO COME TO
GRIPS WITH THAT.
THERE MAY BE SOME SHORT-TERM
PAIN, THERE'S NO QUESTION
ABOUT THAT, BUT IF WE DON'T
COME TO GRIPS WITH THAT
PROBLEM, THE SITUATION IS
GOING TO BE WORSE IN THE
FUTURE IN TERMS OF BEING
ABLE TO SUSTAIN...

Steve says GIVE ME SOME INSIGHT ON THAT
BECAUSE YOUR MEMBERS ARE
TAXPAYERS, TOO, AND THEY
OBVIOUS DON'T WANT TO SEE
THE DEDUCTIONS FROM THEIR
WEEKLY PAY CHEQUES GOING
DOWN, AS WELL... OR
GOING UP, RATHER.

Leah says THE QUICK EXAMPLE IS
APARTMENT LIVING VERSUS HOMES.
YOU SPEND MONEY IN
APARTMENTS AND YOU DON'T
HAVE ANYTHING TO SHOW
FOR THE END OF IT.
SO PEOPLE DON'T HAVE THE
100,000, OR 120,000 OR
150,000 DOLLARS TO GO OUT
AND BUY A HOME.
THEY GET INTO A
MORTGAGE SITUATION.
THEY HAVE A CERTAIN LIMIT
WHICH THEY ARE INTO.
SO THEY'RE INVESTING IN
THE ECONOMY, THEY'RE DOING
ALL THOSE KIND OF THING, AND
THEY'RE WATCHING HOW THEY
ARE SPENDING THEIR MONEY.
NOW CLEARLY WHAT THE
GOVERNMENT HAS TO DO ALSO IS
LOOK AT THE REVENUE SIDE.
ALL THEY'RE DOING IS
FOCUSSING ON THE
EXPENDITURE SIDE.

Steve says HE'S SAYING THEY'VE JUST
TAKEN OUT OUR THIRD MORTGAGE,
THOUGH, AND THE HOUSE
CAN'T SUSTAIN IT ANYMORE.

Leah says I KNOW, BUT WHAT YOU'VE GOT
TO UNDERSTAND IS THAT LAYING OFF
A WHOLE BUNCH OF CIVIL
SERVANTS WHO ARE
CONTRIBUTING TO THAT TO PAY
THAT MONEY DOWN HAS AN IMPACT.
AND YOU ARE LOSING
A LOT OF REVENUE.
YOU'RE NOT DEALING
WITH INTEREST RATES.
YOU'RE NOT TAKING THE
FEDS ON IN THAT ISSUE.
THEY'RE NOT SITTING DOWN
AND TALKING TO US AS THEY
ACTUALLY SAY IN THE
COMMON SENSE REVOLUTION.
WE HAVE GOOD IDEAS.

Dave says YOU KNOW, LEAH, I AGREE WITH
YOU TO A CERTAIN EXTENT.
BUT YOU KNOW THE ECONOMISTS
TELL US, IF YOU WANT TO
GROW THE ECONOMY,
CREATE JOBS.
HERE ARE THE THINGS
YOU HAVE TO DO.
NUMBER ONE IS BALANCE THE
BUDGET, TACKLE THE DEFICITS,
GET RID OF THE DEFICITS
AND TACKLE THE DEBT.
AND THAT'S NOT ONLY FOR THE
PROVINCE OF ONTARIO BUT FOR
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.
NUMBER TWO, YOU HAVE TO LOOK
AT THE REGULATIONS THAT
ARE IN PLACE
IMPEDING BUSINESS.
AND THE LABOUR BILL, BILL
40, WAS CLEARLY THE KEY ONE
THAT THEY POINTED TO.
WE REPEALED THAT.
NUMBER THREE, YOU HAVE TO
LOOK AT ALL OF THE OTHER
TAXING SITUATIONS.
THE EMPLOYERS' HEALTH TAX,
WCB, ALL OF THOSE SITUATIONS.
NOW, THOSE ARE THE THINGS
WE ARE TRYING TO ADDRESS.
THAT'S HOW THE JOBS
WILL BE CREATED.

Steve says AS LONG AS YOU'RE ON
A ROLE WITH LABOUR REFORM HERE,
WHY DON'T YOU REMOVE
THEIR RIGHT TO STRIKE?
WHY DON'T YOU
TAKE THAT AWAY?
THE NDP GAVE IT TO THEM,
WHY DON'T YOU TAKE IT AWAY?

Leah says I'VE WORKED WITH UNIONS FOR
OVER 20 YEARS NOW THAT HAVE
HAD THE RIGHT TO STRIKE.
AND I THINK THERE'S
A GOOD BALANCE THERE.
I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH UNIONS
HAVING THE RIGHT TO STRIKE.
THERE'S A CERTAIN TENSION IN
IT, NO QUESTION ABOUT IT,
BUT I THINK IT'S ONLY FAIR
THAT, OBVIOUSLY, THAT UNIONS
HAVE RIGHTS.

Steve says YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A
STRIKE VOTE SOON, RIGHT?

Leah says JUST TO GET BACK TO
HIS COMMENTS EARLIER.
I MEAN, WE'RE TALKING, THE
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE
DISCUSSIONS WE'RE HAVING IS
THE GOVERNMENT IS TALKING
RAW NUMBERS, AND LISTENING
TO ECONOMISTS, I GUESS FROM
THE STATES AND GREAT
BRITAIN AND NEW ZEALAND,
WHO TELL THEM ABOUT HOW TO
OPEN UP CANADA OR ONTARIO
FOR BUSINESS.
WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT,
WHAT'S THE HUMAN COST OF THAT?
WE'RE LOOKING AT
PEOPLE AND SERVICES.
SO IF YOU WANT TO HAVE MORE
PEOPLE DEAD ON THE STREETS
IN TORONTO, GO RIGHT AHEAD.
IF YOU WANT TO HAVE MORE
ACCIDENTS ON THE TTC,
CUT BACK SOME MORE.
THESE ARE SERIOUS, SERIOUS
IMPLICATIONS OF CUTTING BACK
TO WORSHIP AT THE ALTAR
OF THE ALMIGHTY DOLLAR.
WE RECOGNIZE THERE'S A
PROBLEM WITH THE DEBT AND
THE DEFICIT.
SLASHING AND CUTTING PUBLIC
SERVICES WHICH IMPACT
DIRECTLY ON PEOPLE'S LIVES
ISN'T GOING TO HELP.
THAT'S NOT THE
ONLY SOLUTION.
WE WANT TO SIT DOWN AND WORK
WITH THEM TO TALK ABOUT
OTHER SOLUTIONS.
WE HAVE IDEAS TO DO THAT.
BUT WE NEED TO HAVE SOMEONE
ACROSS THE TABLE FROM US.

Dave says BUT, UNFORTUNATELY,
LEAH, THE SOLUTIONS YOU PUT
FORWARD, AND WE'VE LOOKED
AT THEM, AND THE SOLUTIONS
ARE TO EXTEND THE JOB
SECURITY TO ALL OF THE
CIVIL SERVICE, WHICH WOULD
MAKE IT TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE
TO DOWNSIZE, AND BE INVOLVED
IN A SERIES OF DISCUSSIONS.
THE PROBLEM IS WE HAVE A
10 BILLION DOLLARS SHORTFALL.
WE NEED TO TAKE
ACTION TO ADDRESS THAT.
WE DON'T HAVE THE LUXURY OF
YEARS AND YEARS OF DEBATE.
AND WE DON'T HAVE THE LUXURY OF
PROVIDING A JOB FOR EVERYBODY.
WE MUST RESTRUCTURE
THE CIVIL SERVICE.

Steve says WITH JUST A COUPLE
OF MINUTES LEFT HERE,
WHEN IS YOUR STRIKE
VOTE TAKING PLACE?

Leah says FEBRUARY 15th,
16th, AND 17th.

Steve says WHAT DO
YOU EXPECT TO GET?
WHAT KIND OF ENDORSEMENT
WOULD YOU EXPECT YOUR
MEMBERS TO GIVE YOU?

Leah says WE EXPECT A MANDATE FOR OUR
BARGAINING TEAMS TO GO BACK
TO THE TABLE AND SETTLE THIS
AGREEMENT WITH THE EMPLOYER.

Steve says 51 PERCENT?

Leah says NO, WE'RE ANTICIPATING A
MUCH HIGHER NUMBER THAN THAT.

Steve says THAT'S WHAT
I'M GETTING AT.

Leah says LEGALLY, WE
NEED 51 PERCENT.
WE'RE ANTICIPATING
MUCH HIGHER NUMBERS.
ONCE OUR MEMBERS SEE WHAT
THEY ARE OFFERING DOESN'T
HELP THEM EVEN IF THEY DO
END UP OUT IN THE PRIVATE
SECTOR BECAUSE A LOT OF THE
PIECES THAT THE GOVERNMENT
IS OFFERING DOESN'T APPLY
TO THEM IF THEY GO INTO THE
PRIVATE SECTOR.
THEY'RE GOING TO SAY, NO,
NO, THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH,
YOU'VE GOT TO TREAT US
FAIRLY, YOU'VE GOT TO TREAT
US WITH RESPECT,
PARTICULARLY IF WE'RE OLDER
WORKERS GOING OUT THE DOOR.

Steve says HERE'S
THE KEY QUESTION.
ARE YOU REALLY
READY FOR A STRIKE?

Leah says YES, WE ARE.

Steve says YOU'RE REALLY
READY TO HIT THE BRICKS?

Leah says YEAH, WE ARE.
WE DON'T...

Steve says IN THIS ECONOMY?

Leah says WELL, YOU CAN'T... THERE ARE
SITUATIONS WHERE YOU CAN'T
HAVE EVERYTHING THE
WAY YOU WANT IT, RIGHT?
WE KNOW WHAT THE
ECONOMY IS LIKE.
WE KNOW OUR WORKERS ARE
CONTRIBUTING TAXES TO KEEP
THE ECONOMY AS STABLE AS IT
POSSIBLY CAN BE RIGHT NOW
UNTIL THE POLITICIANS STOP
THINKING ABOUT HOW THEY ARE
GOING TO DEAL WITH QUEBEC,
AND PARTITIONING THIS, AND
PARTITIONING THAT, AND GET
INTO WORKING ON JOB CREATION.
WE HAVE GOVERNMENTS
FEDERALLY AND PROVINCIALLY
WHO SEEM TO HAVE SLID OFF
THAT PART OF THEIR AGENDA
TO MAKE THE ECONOMY BUILD.
SO WE'RE READY, YEAH.

Steve says IN MY
LAST 30 SECONDS,
HERE'S YOUR
KEY QUESTION.
ARE YOU READY... I MEAN,
YOUR POLL NUMBERS HAVE
DROPPED 20 PERCENT
ACCORDING TO ENVIRONICS.
ARE
YOU
READY FOR THE
KIND OF LABOUR UNREST AND
POSSIBLE, YOU KNOW, FURTHER
DECLINE OF YOUR POPULARITY?

Dave says DO I WANT A STRIKE?
NO, I DON'T WANT A STRIKE.
DO I WANT A SETTLEMENT?
YES, ABSOLUTELY.
DO WE HAVE... IT'S NOT
IN OUR HANDS, THOUGH.
WE'VE OFFERED A FAIR
SETTLEMENT, A FAIR OFFER.
WE THINK THAT THE MEMBERSHIP
SHOULD ACCEPT IT.
IF THEY DON'T,
WE'LL DEAL WITH IT.

Steve says MANY THANKS
TO YOU BOTH.
LEAH CASSELMAN FROM OPSEU.
DAVE JOHNSON, CHAIR OF THE
MANAGEMENT BOARD OF CABINET.

Leah and Dave appear on screen.

Then, he faces the screen and says OKAY, WE THANK YOU VERY
MUCH FOR WATCHING
AND ARE INTERESTED
IN YOUR VIEW.
SO PLEASE WRITE TO US AT…

A slate reads "Fourth Reading. Box 200, Station Q, Toronto, Ontario. M4T 2T1."

Steve continues OR YOU CAN REACH US
THROUGH CYBER SPACE…

A new slate reads "Internet address, studio2@tvo.org."

Steve says I'M STEVE PAIKIN.
SEE YOU NEXT WEEK.

Music plays and the end credits roll, as Steve and the rest continue the conversation.

A production of TVOntario. Copyright 1995, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: OPSEAU Strike