Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Happy May Day, chumps!

Canadian workers woke up to news headlines announcing that the Harper gang was taking a "more direct role" in contract negotiations with supposedly arms-length crown corporations.

Treasury Board President Tony Clement announced the initiative would "align public sector compensation and benefits to private sector norms and expectations."

Let me unpack that one for you.

Private sector norms are that at contract time the employer will threaten and intimidate and cajole employees into settling for less by threatening to move your job to Mexico, China, Bangladesh, or one of the "right-to-work-for-less" States.

Private sector expectations are that you will roll over in the face of that threat, because sooner or later your employer will make good on it.

That's the full-on load of shitbaggery that NAFTA brought the North American worker.

Oddly enough, after a generation of that kind of blackmail and intimidation, private sector wages have indeed gone down.

Most public sector employment, in case you haven't noticed, lies in fields not conducive to out-sourcing. You can't use those private-sector intimidation tactics on teachers because it's not readily feasible to send your kids to China for their education.

You can't send your community's snow-plowing and sewer repair contracts to China either, because the snow and the sewers are right here.

Same with cops, by-law enforcement officers, building inspectors, and so on.

But you can wave around the "fact" that compared to private sector workers, the public sector workers have it relatively good.

Well, enough of that!

Let's exploit the resentment of the private sector folks who have been getting a screw-over for the past 30 years by taking their eyes off their screw-over and onto the relatively un-screwed-over public sector workers.

Let's, in the interest of fairness, grind everybody's wages down to the same dismal poverty level!

Happy May Day!

By the way, the reason "Labour Day" was invented for the North American audience was to draw attention from the socialist-inflected May Day. By creating a new celebration of workers that came later in the year, the ruling class ensured that we'd done most of our work before we were allowed to celebrate.

Powerful bit of symbolism in that fact.

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