(This is an update to an e-mail sent to Society members Oct.16.)
Premier Dalton McGuinty's decision to resign and adjourn the Ontario legislature until the Liberals pick a new leader raises all sorts of questions including the status of labour negotiations in the Province
McGuinty told his caucus and the media October 15 that adjourning the legislature will allow for a "cooling off period" and give the Liberals time to negotiate with unions and the opposition parties on a wage freeze for public sector workers.
Liberals delegates will chose the next premier on the weekend of Jan. 25. The city has yet to be determined. It is also expected that the Legislature will be called back Feb. 18.
So what happens now to the Government’s agenda and specifically their plans to freeze wages in the broader public sector?
The short answer is everything is now only on hold.
With the Legislature not in session, no bills can be introduced and no previously introduced legislation can be passed including Bill 75 which would have merged the IESO with the OPA and dramatically altered the electricity planning process in the Province.
So what does the current situation mean for Society members?
First it means we can use the time between now and when the legislature resumes doing what we have always done best and that is negotiate good solid bargained agreements.
We must also begin the process of mobilizing the membership for what may lie ahead. A budget by law has to be introduced in the spring. There’s a good likelihood that it won’t get the required support which would mean an election sometime in the spring and if not then certainly before 2013 year end.
We must between now and then prepare ourselves to be able to meaningfully engage in the next provincial election campaign making sure that our views and concerns are taken into account.
We know there are those who would harm us more, much more than just freeze wages for a couple of years.
A look at what the Leader of the Official Opposition has to say confirms this:
So we are in for a tumultuous period. Let’s get back to negotiating agreements and getting ourselves ready for campaign 2013.
I’ll keep you posted as new developments occur.