Friday, September 14, 2007

Bargaining Obstacles - No Layoffs

Day 5 of the media black out and the rumour mill was in overdrive.

Bargaining is progressing on most points except one. “No Layoffs Due to Contracting Out.” Adding to CUPE’s concern is the City not stating whether the new/rebuilt ice rinks (Killarney, Riley/Hillcrest and Trout Lake) will be designated as CUPE worksites.

If I were City management I would not tip my hand.

The City is facing a fiscal challenge. (I know CUPE disagrees on this point.)

City Council is considering a further 2% transfer of property taxes from business to residential property owners. Vancouver is losing its small and medium businesses to the suburbs (Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey). Vancouver, not being a corporate hub, (Calgary has more corporate headquarters) is dependant upon small and medium sized business. The tax transfer is an attempt to stem this loss. Operating costs are quickly eroding Vancouver's desirability as a location for small business.

Residential taxpayers will simply note the successive tax increases, no comparable increase in services and the memory of an extended civic strike.

The City must develop a new labour mix, public and private, which provides affordable quality services for its taxpayers while staff wages cover Vancouver’s cost of living.

Vancouver must avoid the recruitment challenges of the West Vancouver police department. New officers can not afford homes on the North Shore. Langley or Squamish are the only options but the hellish commute is a disincentive.

Exclusively public or private is a reactionary response. Neither should have the monopoly on serving the public. The City’s job is to find that balance. That is the role of the City’s elected representatives whether CUPE likes it or not.

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