The Ottawa Sun routinely jams sharp sticks in the eyes of public sector unions so when I saw them do it again through an ill-researched editorial, I was tempted to let it go.

I waited a day and changed my mind. So I wrote a short letter to the editor. I am a member of OPSEU but have never been its apologist, and am often healthily skeptical of its claims, having sat on the opposite side of the bargaining table during my publisher days. But the Sun’s far-right agenda was too lazy to ignore.

Interestingly, SunMedia is a unionized company, whose editorial and support staff are represented by the CEP, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union of Canada (the same union I tangled with in the 90s). Their members got 2 % raises in each of the years between 2007 and 2010 according to the collective agreement listed at http://www.song.on.ca/files/OttawaSunJan12007-Dec312010.pdf . In the next agreement, which expires in September 2012, they bargained to no increase in the first year, one per cent in the second and 1.5 in the third. Members receive $250 in lieu of the second-year increase being retroactive.

But back to my letter. They didn’t print it, so here it is below. Self-explanatory I think.

It’s a rare day when your Toronto-based editorial writer does
not, with predictable tedium, put a crusading boot to public sector unionized
workers, and he did it again in the Oct. 16 issue. He writes both the NDP and
Conservatives “risk becoming McGuinty’s rubber stamp whenever he wants to throw more of our money at public sector unionized workers.”

This is a tired theme and worse, it’s wrong.  Across the province, the average overall increase in public sector wages July, the last reported tally, was 1.2 per cent compared to 1.3 per cent in the private sector. The month before, public employees got 1.3 per cent compared to 1.8 per cent in the same month by private sector. These numbers are easily obtained at the website http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/lr/pdf/cbh2011-07.pdf
and your editorial writer should know that.

I hope SunMedia’s unionized employees take note.

Joe Banks,

Osgoode, Ontario. K0A-2W0

613-826-1868

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