Monday, August 20, 2007

Strike could last for months - Dubrovolny says

Strike could last months, city official says
City, union making no progress toward settlement, spokesman says

Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun
Published: Monday, August 20, 2007
Breaking striker's morale is the City of Vancouver's goal with this article. It is a great headline and sure to have some impact. The content is simply recycled press releases and interviews.

Surprisingly Mr. Dubrovolny does admits that the 39 month - 9.75% wage increase - contract would still be on the table if not for Richmond's agreement. Mayor Sullivan's questionable claim that a five year deal had been offered prior to the Richmond deal becomes simply disingenuous.

Published the same week that strike coordinators and negotiators are visiting picketers the timing of the article is questionable. It appears planned to sway the discussion at the grassroots in favour of the city.


Anonymous said...

I guess the main thing that makes me unsympathetic to the union position is the scope of the demands. It seems like the union is demanding (and getting) wages that are comparable to the private sector. At the same time, they (you?) are demanding benefits that far exceed anything that's even remotely possible in the private sector. Extended medical and dental benefits that the rest of us can only dream about. 39 paid days off a year! Defined benefit pension plan! 9 day fortnights! To say nothing of jobs for life. And then you'll be getting 17.5% increases over the next 5 years. I'm willing to be the average private sector worker will be nowhere near that in the coming 5 years.

As someone whose taxes will be paying for those plush jobs, it really frustrates me to hear you all say that you're not being treated fairly. Even on your existing contract with no wage increases you're doing better than the private sector.

Maybe if you all spent a little time in jobs outside of government, you'd see just how cushy your current employment is.

Anonymous said...

The union should take the five year deal and declare victory. Lengthening the strike over non-monetary issues isn't good negotiation tactics and it isn't good public/media management. The truth is that the public a)doesn't recognize excellence in the municipal work force and b) wouldn't pay extra for it if it did. Add to that, that the Union is trying to actually make it harder for merit bumps like skipping steps in the vacation grid and not allowing any other advancement besides seniorty. That may have made sense in old-tyme trade unions in days of yore, but it would help the union make better gains if the city could attract better-qualified employees rather than making them all get on the seniority escalator. Does that mean some older members would be passed over for promotion? Yes, it probably would, and the city should have the power to make those hires and decisions. Municipal workers have larger than average wages and much better than average benefit packages; the public is never going to sympathize with the strikers. One positive for the Union though, is that Sam Sullivan has been politically damaged as being seen to be incompetent. Voters don't particulary mind City managers negotiating hard for every dime, afterall taxpayers are going to have to pay those wage bills, I damn well expect my City to negotiate to the bone over ALL contracts; but Sullivan has looked weak and disorganized. One wonders what would have happened if Christy Clark would have won the NPA nomination last cycle.