Monday, September 10, 2007

Issues - Job Classification

CUPE and the City are very close on this issue.

Originally CUPE sought to have jobs classified and valued as compared to positions of equal responsibility within the private sector. The City balked at this proposal as this would "whipsaw" wages upwards to unsustainable levels.

CUPE has revised their offer limiting comparisons to the public sector. The City wishes to limit comparisons internal City jobs.

The City, however, has been opposed to internal comparisons between the City and Park Board. Now it is willing. Park Board is represented by the same union local as City staff and the Park Board general manager sits on the City's senior management team. The lack of job comparisons has resulted in single task City clerks being paid more than multi-tasking Park clerks. (Only in the public sector.)

Britannia Community Services Centre and Ray-Cam Cooperative Community Centre, though listed as community centres, have separate civic agreements.


The Vancouver Sun, on Saturday September 8, did a great story which focussed on Ron Suzuki, programmer at Strathcona Community Centre. Ron and other programmers have been working for 10 years to reach an agreement with the City's Human Resources department to develop a job description that better classifies the position.

Eight weeks on strike begins to pale in comparison to glacial pace of job reviews by the City.

Mr. Suzuki, in 2007, has raised over $250.000.00 for hot breakfast programs, kids sports and other benefits for low income families. Strathcona is listed as the poorest postal code in Canada.

Unfortunately, the City's Scrooge like argument is:
the job description, including running community centres, is clear and any extra work they chose to do is volunteer.

"[Suzuki's] job requirements have not changed," said Dubrovolny.
(Vancouver Sun. Job reclassification is a sticky wicket. Jonathan Woodward. Saturday Sept 8, 2007)
Leave it to an engineer to not comprehend shades of gray.

The Park programmer job descriptions is the same for Dunbar or Kerrisdale as it is for Strathcona and Thunderbird. What Mr. Dubrovolny, the City and the Park Board fail to understand is that lower income residents give up recreation for food and other necessities. Park Board will argue that they provide a Leisure Access Card providing 50% discounts to recreational services. Problem is not all programs are sponsored by the Park Board.

Each centre has a non-profit board that oversees spending and programming. Most programs are sponsored by the non-profit board. Staff must balance between the demands of Parks management and their non-profit board of directors.

Mr. Suzuki has successfully balanced the demands of both Parks and his Board. Who should pay for the additional work and recognize the success of his efforts?

The City could offer incentive pay based on merit steps which could be negotiatiable with CUPE. Oops, I forgot, CUPE doesn't recognize merit and such rewards run counter it's dogma.

The non-profit association could provide supplement pay based upon the percentage of the amount raised. This would raise eyebrows as funders would question if it is only the writer who benefits.

The City can not develop a person specific job classification, but, it can recognize the challenges of working in a low income neighbourhood and the additional work required to ensure recreation programs are a success.

Too bad CUPE does not believe in incentive merit based bonuses.

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