When unions first came into being they did a lot to improve the working conditions and wages for their workers.
Now, due to an unfair system of allotting wage increases, the unions have widened the gap between lower and higher paid workers. Wage increases are based on a percentage system which gives the higher paid workers a much higher increase than the lower paid workers. In order for the wage increases to be fairly distributed and stop the widening gap between workers, the increases should be across the board rather than based on percentages.
As an example, in 1975 when I started working for the provincial government, the wage scale was approximately as follows:
• Technician: $15 an hour or $120 a day
• Consultant: $20 an hour or $160 a day
• Engineer: $40 an hour or $320 a day
This is a fair difference based on education and experience. By 2010 the wage scale was approximately as follows:
• Technician: $21.65 an hour or $173.20 a day
• Consultant: $28.75 an hour or $230.96 a day
• Engineer: $57.75 an hour or $461.92 a day
There is no change in education and all workers in each classification had more experience. The extreme difference is due to percentage increases.
In 1975 the technician lived on $200 a day less than the engineer. In 2010, it was $288.72 a day less. In 1975, the difference between a technician and a consultant was $40 a day and in 2010 it was $57.76 a day.
In 1975 there was a difference of $25 an hour between a technician and an engineer and a difference of $5 an hour between a technician and a consultant. This difference should still be the same today. If the wage increases were across the board instead of percentage, all workers would be treated fairly and we wouldn’t have an increasing gap between the lower- and higher-paid employees.
If we do not change the system of allotting wage increases, the worker at the bottom of the scale will have no chance of bettering his living conditions. I do not see how anyone could possibly believe that this is a fair system. We definitely need to change how wage increases are calculated.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 8, 2013