Public Values

Website calculates real cost of wage freeze

Ontario union develops website so workers can calculate how much they will lose if their pay is frozen.

Website calculates real cost of wage freezeTORONTO, Oct. 18, 2010: The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) has launched a special website to draw attention to the devastating impact a wage freeze would have on average Ontario workers and families.

"The McGuinty wage freeze is not a 'freeze' at all," says OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas.

"Even though the number on your pay cheque stays the same, the buying power of your dollars is falling. The wage freeze is really a cut equal to the rate of inflation. And the money you lose during a two-year wage freeze is a permanent reduction that will cost you money every year you work."

The union has created a Wage Loss Calculator to show how rapidly inflation eats into the true value of a salary (and its purchasing power) if wage levels are not offset by increases to make up for the constant ravages of inflation.

"It's easy to find out how much income you will lose if your workplace is affected by the wage freeze," Thomas says. "But not many members have actually sat down to figure out how much the freeze will cost them and their families."

By year two of the proposed Ontario freeze, an employee earning $25,000 a year will experience a purchasing power loss of $490 and because the loss is permanent it is repeated and escalates year after year, OPSEU calculates. By the 10th year, the employee will have lost a cumulative total of $9,229.

For an employee earning $50,000, the loss by year two would be $980, rising to $18,449 by year 10, and for a worker earning $75,000 a year the comparative losses would be $1,471 and $27,668.

"Please visit " Thomas urges. "You'll find information on how much you'll pay and where your money is really going. Once you know how much you'll lose, you can send the result in an e-mail to your MPP. Just type in your postal code and hit 'send.' The time is now to send a strong message to Dalton McGuinty that his unfair wage freeze is just plain wrong."

Thomas says the two-year wage freeze is being proposed by the Liberal government at Queen's Park to save the government approximately $1.8 billion. However, it would be imposed at the same time that the province is implementing $2.4 billion in new tax corporate income cuts for wealthy companies.

"In other words, every single dollar provincial public employees give up will go straight to the profits of companies like the Royal Bank of Canada, Rogers and Imperial Oil," Thomas says.

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Posted: October 21, 2010


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