Should Doctors Form a Union?

Sports fans love to see an angry coach shove his belly into an umpire’s equally large gut, screaming F-bombs.

The Toronto Star loves to watch doctors and government shove each other, too.

It’s good for business.

After months of media writing about “fat-cat doctors” screaming at an inept, “Walking Dead” government, social media has moved on to other things.  Articles dribble into print, but I doubt anyone has met with MPPs in the last few weeks.

When the majority stands against freedom and responsibility, those values, once lost, cannot be regained without major upheaval or catastrophe.

Doctors’ best hope lies in unionization. (Heaven forefend!) It lies in becoming salaried clock-watchers. It rests in becoming collectivized seekers of uniformity, mediocrity.

A leftist colleague said once, “No one likes a union until you need one.”

Government wins when doctors work as driven, small business owners. Doctors toil under an illusion of freedom and control. Fee cuts make them run faster to keep their clinics open. This shortens wait times. Government saves money and saves face.

As more and more regulation turns doctors into serfs, only stubborn ignorance keeps doctors from embracing government and lining up with all the other public sector unions.

Doctors should align themselves with the vision of a fully socialized system advanced by the unions and government. Deficits be damned.

OMA council, doctors’ governing body in Ontario, believes that a binding dispute resolution process will fix things with government.  It might. It hasn’t always worked. Government can overturn an arbitrator’s opinion.

Form a Union?

Others call for unionization. Currently, doctors are explicitly excluded, in the Labour Relations Act, from forming a union.

Another public sector union is the last thing Ontario needs financially. But it might be the only hope for doctors in the face of tyranny and usurpation.

Another big, powerful public sector union would leapfrog the welfare state to its financial destiny. That might be a good thing.

Ronald Reagan used the same Machiavellian tactic with the Soviets. He embraced the arms race and bankrupted the Russians.

Doctors might force change, faster, by embracing unionization in healthcare.

Whitaker Chambers was convinced that he joined the losing side when he defected from the underground Communist party. He saw the end of freedom.

Doctors want to be on the winning side. Unions win in Ontario. Government ignores doctors. The Liberal government has cut fees in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. The police, nurses and teachers all got raises during the same period.

Despite the potential tyranny, inefficiency, arrogance and greed of union bosses, doctors might benefit from a bossy, arrogant union to fight for them.

Doctors could hire union reps to fight every little hospital grievance.

A union could enforce discipline and conformity.

Given the current political climate, a doctors’ union could fight politicians, hospitals, nurses…anyone who dares to engage.

Maybe patients need a nasty doctors’ union so that doctors don’t leave Ontario?

It’s time for doctors to reconsider their principled fight for freedom.

Healthcare workers feed from the same trough. If unions get to feed first, doctors will always get left overs. As Premier Wynne runs out of other people’s money to buy votes, the leftovers get smaller and smaller.

Pyrrhic Victory?

The easiest way to win a shoving match is to give in. Grab your opponent’s shoulders and pull them into his shove.

The Ontario Liberals have attacked doctors for five years, and doctors have lost. Doctors could win if they let government have its way.

Doctors should agree with Premier Wynne and her progressivist agenda. Give her the politics she wants.

Become a union: the only political entity she respects. Pull the government into the only political scheme they admire and watch the government fall headlong.

Doctors would win, but healthcare would be in a terrible mess. Who would clean it up?

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8 Replies to “Should Doctors Form a Union?”

  1. As an anti-union, past president of a union I have been on the horns of this dilemma before. I ran for and took control of a union that had been hijacked by special interests. This union had a structure of smaller unions all paying dues to the larger but negotiating separately. I was able to get the contract but when I asked the national union for money for a strike, they just shrugged their shoulders and said there was no money. When I tried to get our union to break away from the useless overarching union and use the dues to pay for benefits of our members, the big union suddenly found money for lawyers to bully me into resigning. I didnt have resources to defend myself so I gave in. I laugh last though because that union was overthrown by the membership and now they belong to a better big union.

    I would point out that unions can have layers for better effectiveness. We the OMA could learn that lesson and have not one union but one for each section and all belonging to the big union OMA. This interdicts the government game of getting us to play each other off in the this relativity BS. None of the sections can be ignored and each section can bargain for their fee codes. This is a nightmare for the government, the last time is was tried was in the early 90’s and the government capitulated immediately but the OMA sold us all out and dropped the format. Just one of many times that OMA stabbed us all in the back with its twisted agenda of self-preservation of the OMA at the expense of the membership. No wonder the vast majority of docs dont trust and dont listen to the OMA. The new OMA has to offer something new or the majority will simply whimper along until they can retire in their 70’s.

    1. Great comments, Ernest!

      Most people do not have your experience working in unions, or your insight into negotiations. You touch on a number of issues: secondary gain for the unions themselves, condescension towards the membership, OMA selling out MDS, and creativity in future negotiations. I sure hope you raise these ideas at the next council meeting. There’s probably too much for you to raise yourself. We’d need to get a group together to speak to one issue each.

      I think there is real merit in exploring whether we get value for our dues with one gigantic structure. I like you idea of separate branches under one umbrella union. What worked for us when we had 10,000 members probably needs adjusting when we now have 42,000 members (~30,000 working docs).

      Thanks again for taking time to share such a thoughtful comment!

      Talk soon,


  2. I enjoyed the article and comments from Ernest Hajcsar. My brother was a President of WardAir and Canadian Airlines unions; both destroyed by corporate sell offs in an impossible one sided competition with Federally subsidized Air Canada. At least Air Canada is still unionized and rightfully so. His experiences won me over to say for most of my career that our only hope against government interference in health care is unionization. My aunt, a former paediatric cardiologist in the former Yugoslavia, and her colleagues, saw the writing on the wall for us in Canada and said we had to fight government control in health care in every way possible. Trying to sell the idea if unionization to the newer generation may finally be attainable; they will not suffer the abuse that my generation accepted as a right of passage.

    1. Hey Nick,

      As always, I love your comments. You always bring in a detail from outside Canada, which makes your thoughts that much more powerful.

      I generally abhor the concentration of power. It almost always leads to oppression. So I find myself torn in vouching for a union – yet another power structure – to fight the concentration of power. I feel like I am advocating for something that’s not ideal to fight something else that is terrible. I wish there was another way… Actually, there IS another way: We stay on the path we have been on for the last 50 years and watch things crumble over the next 15-20 years. Someone said that socialist schemes usually last 70 years at most. If that’s true, we have another 20 for this scheme. We can already see signs of it being forced to change with the Supreme Court challenges and Brad Wall’s work with public-private collaboration. I think people will look back on this time as one of many historical oddities that started out well but ended poorly.

      Thanks again for taking time to share a comment!

      Talk soon,


  3. Thanks Shawn but I wont be at the council meeting unless asked by the local sgfp rep or the delegate. I did not win my seat and am alternate to the other positions. Feel free to discuss my ideas with other delegates.

    1. Too bad!

      I hope you come as an alternate, for sure.

      Thanks again for sharing your comments!


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