Recently CBC news carried an article that spoke of wages being paid today relative to the past. The article stated that todays minimum wage earners are making as much as people did in 1975. This is not surprising as the shift to non-union jobs has been evident. If unions are not present to set wage standards, wages take a beating. Sadly most non-union workers are not aware that unions and union wages drive wage settings for the non-union workers.
It is our various Provincial and Federal Governments that have failed us at this level. In the drive to be "competitive" and to have "Free markets" and "Free Trading Agreements" our wages and benefits have taken a backseat. Yes, we need more open trade, but at what cost? And what does this do to our ability to be self-standing and to support our local economy? We also need to remember that when our dollar is weak we sell our resources at less than their true value. When our dollar was strong against the American dollar our exporters cried foul. They claimed their markets were decreasing and at peril. Whatever happened to the notion that during good times (when our dollar is weaker than the US $) manufacturers retooled in order to be competitive during bad times? Sadly all these notions have fallen prey to the idea that profit margins be maximized at all times. Just look at Corporate profits since the bank crash of 2008. While claiming poor market conditions were the cause of lay-offs and wage cut-backs, corporate profits have been at an all-time high.
Here in BC, the government has yet again failed in their negotiations with the teachers union. To some degree they have public support in that a lot of folk envy teachers and their summer holidays. What they are not aware of is the time teachers put in during the school year. But mostly the sad part is that BC teachers rank amongst the most poorly paid teachers in Canada! And they are the only people that stand between your kids and a promising future. Is this what good governance is all about, saving money at all costs?