Monday, August 6, 2007

Spin Control Step 3

Thankfully both sides are still talking. Ideally a settlement will be offer by Wednesday with ratification votes Thursday and people back to work Friday.

Suzanne Anton and Mayor Sam Sullivan have been the face / voice of Vancouver City Council during the last week of this strike. The script developed is a substantial change in tone from the lead up to and the first week of the strike.

Initially, the impromptu press conferences by Mayor Sullivan entailed a rigid adherence to the 39 month contract combined with the misinformation that CUPE staff sought to hold the 2010 Olympics hostage. The goodwill engendered by Mayor Sullivan brought Vancouver civic services to a standstill.

Municipal settlements, especially Richmond, have introduced Councillor Suzanne Anton as the new N.P.A. tag team partner for the Mayor. Their diplomatic script includes the following points:

  1. Comment on how they should not comment due to the sensitive nature of negotiations.
  2. Comment on how impressed they are with patience of the citizens of Vancouver.
  3. Comment on how much they appreciate the hard work and professionalism of city staff.
The approach is working as city politicians have removed themselves from centre stage of this labour dispute.

Credit for this change in direction extends beyond 6 municipal settlements to the effective media campaign by COPE/VISION councillors. The sound bite of "Sam's Strike" stuck. It was then that Councillor Anton became the Mayor's defender and the three media points were introduced and have been maintained since.

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