Leaked Memo Confirms Union's Alarming Political Claims

TORONTO, Feb. 27, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - An apparently leaked memo from Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF)  President Ken Coran to teachers contains claims that should alarm the vast majority of Ontarians.  The February 24, 2013 memo reviewed the union's strategy with the Ontario government during recent months of fractious labour negotiations, and appears to have been sent on a confidential basis to OSSTF teachers.  Mr. Coran lays claim to number of "accomplishments" during this period including, among other things, having:

"Stole the ability of the Liberals to form a majority government through our united actions and hard work in the Kitchener-Waterloo by-election on September 6, 2012"

"Influenced Dalton McGuinty's decision to resign his Premiership"

"Forced a Liberal Leadership Convention which caused a full internal review of the party's political position"

Data from Elections Ontario shows that Teachers Unions in Ontario spent over $5 million in the 2011 general election, partly on their own account and partly through the union front group called the "Working Families", to influence the election results.  All Ontarians are able to contribute to political parties, but the amounts for individuals, employers and unions are severely limited to amounts in the thousands of dollars.  However, changes to Ontario's election laws in 2007 allow so-called "third party advertisers" to spend unlimited amounts on attack ads.  Union bosses have used this scheme and their power to raise and spend millions of dollars from the forced dues of workers - workers they could have fired from their jobs for not paying.

Catherine Swift, spokesperson for the Workplace Democracy Institute (WDI), stated "I doubt most Ontario taxpayers are aware of the massive amounts these government unions spend to sway elections in favour of union-friendly governments.  They clearly believe they are buying influence, which drives up the costs of government to all Ontarians and risks bankrupting such important areas as education and health care".

"At a time when Ontario faces serious financial problems and needs to cut costs, the political activities of these government unions warrant closer scrutiny.  There is no reason why self-interested union bosses should be permitted to spend unlimited amounts to influence political outcomes that sharply increase the cost of government and ultimately harm the vast majority of Ontarians", she added.

The WDI will be working to expose the extent to which government and non-government unions use behind-the-scenes tactics to bring about political and economic results that are not in the best interests of most Canadians.

The Workplace Democracy Institute was established in 2011 as a not-for-profit advocacy group to promote democratic workplace laws and support worker rights to real choice regarding unions.

SOURCE: Workplace Democracy Institute of Canada

For further information:

please call Catherine Swift at 416-816-7248 or Catherine.Swift@wdi-idt.ca

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