Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Pitfield says take back our public services – on second thought, never mind

I was surprised to hear a report that Toronto councillor and mayoral candidate Jane Pitfield had argued in favour of phasing out the unions that deliver Toronto’s public services such as transit and garbage pickup:

"The unions are stronger than I have ever seen them," Pitfield said. "It's not healthy for the city. Perhaps it's time to start phasing out unions."

Pitfield seems like a smart woman and a common-sense pol, but she has never struck me as particularly visionary or bold – which any politician who dares question the existence of public sector unions would have to be.

By close of business yesterday Pitfield had issued a clarification:

"I wish to state clearly that organized labour can have an important role to play in municipal government and do not believe that they should be decertified or eliminated," she wrote. "However, this is clearly distinguishable from the increasing influence that unions have currently, which in my view is threatening the ability of our city to function to the best of its ability."

One of the few remaining contracts not handled by the unions is garbage pick-up in Etobicoke and York. City staff prepared a report saying it would cost $21 million extra for the city to take over those routes.

Pitfield said she'd like to sit down and speak to the heads of the city's unions about how the union contracts are stressing the city's operating budget. [insert laugh track here]

My regular readers (all five of them) will know that ”taking back our public services” is one of my most cherished hobbyhorses. While I continue to hope that some gutsy politician(s) will take up this fight someday, it’s obvious that Jane Pitfield is not going to be the one to do it.


nomdeblog said...

Joan, it’s all-relative. At least she’s thinking about it. Those thoughts would never enter Miller’s head.

In fact I wouldn’t be surprised to now see Miller and McGuinty ban Pitfields along with pitbulls.

The problem in politics is you need a long run conservative message and philosophy.
Then you need a short run strategy to get elected.
Usually the 2 don’t fully reconcile, particularly with a brainwashed left-wing populace where the MSM is also left.

Anonymous said...

The unions have the freedom to organize the workers of the contractors who could do the city's work much more efficiently.

So it's not like unions would have to be phased out at all, the unions could approach the workers of whatever company won a city contract and ask those workers to pay the union a portion of their wages. It's no problem at all.

Anonymous said...

excuse me, the formation of unions within a workplace contradicts the scope work one once entered into. you do your job as fair as anybody could ask from you therefore no one person can hold you against unfair treatment. this is still not right, then leave.