Monday, September 10, 2007

Peter Ladner - Mischief Maker

Peter Ladner, in the Monday September 07, 2007 Vancouver Sun, presents the city's case:
As for the 2010 Olympics Partnership Agreement, CUPE wants to limit opportunities for employees and volunteers to participate, and to claim exclusive union jurisdiction over all Olympic sites.

We're also fighting the expectation that the 2010 Olympics will open the door to a better-than-expected deal, as witnessed by a leaked union memo saying that the city workers deserve a 2010 signing bonus.

The first paragraph is an accurate presentation of CUPE 15's offer to the City. It does, however, gloss over the City's proposal of a revised work week.

The second paragraph is an astounding fabrication matched only by the entitlement mindset of certain picketers.

Olympic linkage to a signing bonus was not ever made.

Mr. Ladner refers to a memo sent by Mike Jackson, CUPE 1004 president, to his bargaining committee. It stated or proposed, depending on the story, that CUPE would require a signing bonus, to return to work, and that the amount would increase as the strike lengthened. I have heard this sentiment expressed on the picket line.

I no more understand the entitlement logic then I do Mr. Ladner's mischief making.

If Mr. Ladner wished to question CUPE's intentions it would have been wiser to utilize CUPE's factsheet titled " 'Fiscal Reality' at the City of Vancouver."
Economy Booming
The Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board Housing Price index for all types of housing is up more than 10% . . .
A questions Mr. Ladner could have posed:
  • Is CUPE suggesting property taxes should always increase by the same percentage as their assessed value?
Residential Taxpayers Pay for Freeze on Business Taxes
Vancouver is shifting 2% of the tax levy away from business property taxes and towards homeowners,
Mr. Ladner could have simply implied:
  • CUPE, it seems, is opposed to small business. For all CUPE's anti-Wal Mart bluster about protecting small business they don't wish to give that same small business a a tax break
Contracting Out
$6.7 million to Haebler Construction Projects Inc.
Mr. Ladner could have asked:
  • Since when is CUPE in the contstruction business?
  • IS CUPE opposed to the new Sunset Community Centre or the new ice rinks?
Reserves
In 2006, the value of Vancouver's Property Fund was $1.83 billion. At the end of 2006, city of Vancouver had $339.1 million set aside in special purpose reserves. These reserves increased by 15% ($44.3 million) over the year.
Mr. Ladner could have challenged CUPE:
  • Which property should be sold to access profit from the property fund?
  • The special purposes reserves are a rainy day fund. Funds required for emergency services and reconstruction following a natural disaster. Does CUPE truly believe that this strike is a natural diaster?
Finally, a question for Mr. Ladner.

You consistently state:
Bear in mind that the above-inflation salary increases that both sides have already agreed upon will cost the average Vancouver homeowner around $300 over the five-year term of the contract, and an average business owner $3,290. This is without adding the cost of benefits still being negotiated.
Following in the spirit of Benjamin Disraeli, "There are three types of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."

You consistently state the above noted costs without ever explaining how they were determined. I sent you an email September 5th requesting the process to determine these average costs and also what the cost of the proposed contract terms, 17.5% over 5 years, would be.

No answer so far.

It appears you wish to repeat these costs enough times anticipating that taxpayers will eventually accept it as fact while avoiding any quantifiable challenge to prove it's accuracy.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, not to put words in Mr Ladner's mouth, but StatsCan says the BC inflation rate is (http://www40.statcan.ca/l01/cst01/econ09k.htm)

2006 - 1.7%

2005 - 2.0%

2004 - 2.0%

2003 - 2.2%

2002 - 2.4%

If you're willing to believe those numbers, then 18% (compounded) over 5 years is certainly considerably above the rate of inflation. And most workers will be getting their annual pay grade increase on top of that, so it's very far above inflation.

Good luck to you all for getting it, but you have to realize it's going to cost the people who live in Vancouver.

Picket Boy said...

I have no doubt that the contract will cost. The wage increases over the next 5 years are as follows.

2007 3%
2008 3%
2009 3.5%
2010 4%
2011 4%

Compounded over 5 years this is 18.76%.

What I would like to know is how the cost / taxpayer ( residential & business ) is reached.

After Mr. Ladner's misquote regarding using the Olympics as leverage for a signing bonus I'm just seeking quantifiable supports.

Anonymous said...

It would help me believe the Councillor's point if he were even slightly correct in some of the other facts he states in that opinion piece:

- Like all but 4 CUPE 15 workers being on a compressed work week/9 day fortnight schedule

- 51 paid days off per year (including 18 days worked for and all the statutory holidays)

- insinuating that telecommuting options are readily available and supported throughout the city

And all of these have been correctly dealt with already through various news articles and new releases

The Blackbird said...

Why is it assumed that workers' wage increases must be on a par with the rate of inflation? If the society is prosperous, why should the workers not share in that prosperity?

The assumption is insulting.

spartikus said...

Exactly, blackbird.

I'll repeat a point I posted earlier: Cupe391 took 2 3-year contracts of 0,0,1% in the 90's (yes even when the NPA had power). Now times are good...this city is contiually rated at the top of international surveys...and civic workers helped achieved that.

Perhaps Mr. Ladner could come out from behind the shield of email and defend his editorial on this forum?

He should have faith that his argument and his facts will stand scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

Blackbird,

Climb down off your high horse. The only point to be made about public sector workers getting increases above the rate of inflation is that it will cost everyone tax increases above the rate of inflation.

That's a trade-off for the people paying the taxes to decide on, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

And another thing - I don't have any problem with people getting increases above the rate of inflation. In fact, the higher increase you can get, the better for you. Good luck.

What I do have a problem with is people getting such large increases, at the same time as they get "jobs-for-life". In any sustainable society, if you want higher rewards, you have to take higher risks.

Higher pay increases - accept that you may lose your job. Absolute job security - accept lower wages.

It's completely inappropriate for public sector workers, who enjoy a monopoly on the provision of essential services to hold everyone to ransom for wage increases, job benefits and guarantees that are completely out of line with what's available in the private sector. If you all were being paid lousy wages with lousy working conditions, you might have a point. But you already have better conditions than anyone in the private sector.
We can have this conversation in 5 years time again, and you will see that NO private sector workers will have enjoyed 18+% increases with no job losses.

Maybe it's time to stop whining about how hard life is for you at your city job, and try working in the private sector. Maybe you'll start getting an appreciation for what life is like in the real world.

QBert said...

It should be noted that the "official" BC inflation rate is skewed because cost of living in Vancouver increases at a much faster rate than elsewhere in the province due to skyrocketing land values.

Additionally, the wage settlement is not really at issue. The real issues, speaking with respect to local 391, are pay equity, job security, part-time/auxiliary rights, and benefits.