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January 20, 2015

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Fraser Institute gets it wrong—again

BURNABY—The release today of the Fraser Institute’s latest attack on wages and benefits for working people shows how out of touch with economic reality the right-wing organization is, says CUPE BC.

“The Fraser Institute’s own research shows that the so-called ‘premium’ for public sector workers is nowhere near the magnitude they’ve been claiming for the past two years,” said CUPE BC Secretary-Treasurer Paul Faoro. “In 2013, they claimed there was a 37.5 percent premium, and today they’ve admitted that number is actually 90 percent lower—though you won’t find that in their news release.

“But facts have never stood in the Fraser Institute’s way,” said Faoro. “Not only do they not acknowledge how shoddy and flawed their previous study was, they still use their findings to bash wages and benefits for working people, and to advocate for even less retirement security for all workers.”

Having found the wage “premium” is a full 90 percent lower than previously claimed, this year’s report targets pensions in particular.  The Fraser Institute fails to mention that public employees pay for their pensions either directly through payroll deductions or by deferring current wages.

“No serious economist would give this ‘study’ any credence at all,” said Faoro.  “The reality is, we should be doing all we can to ensure that all working people earn a living wage and can retire in dignity.  The Fraser Institute is opposed to that, and this report is yet another example of its ‘greed is good’ vision.”

The Fraser Institute study says that public sector workers earn a “premium” compared to their private sector counterparts, but provides no examples, and their study does not look at wages for visible minorities and people of aboriginal status.  Other studies have shown a significant improvement in pay for workers of colour and aboriginal workers in the public sector. 

Funded in part by the right-wing American Koch Brothers, who also helped found and fund the U.S. Tea Party, the Fraser Institute has long advocated for lower wages and reduced benefits for working people.

“The Fraser Institute’s vision for BC’s economy is bizarre,” said Faoro. “They want all workers to earn less, work more, and retire in poverty. That’s not even good for the super-wealthy backers the Fraser Institute represents, but their ideology blinds them to reality.”


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