Sunday, September 2, 2007

Trust, Disdain & Acrimony

Picketing allows interaction with civic employees you would otherwise never meet. City Hall, Park, Library and Service yards. The breadth of the City of Vancouver's workforce, 5000 in total, and the many micro-cultures that exist within it is amazing.

The opinions I've been fortunate to hear while picketing and receive online support what many media commentators reported. The extent of relationships between staff and some senior managers apparently extends from disdain to acrimony.

Commentators wonder how the city will get back to normal when this strike ends. I would hope aspirations are higher then what has passed as normal for the past 5 years. That would include both the COPE/Vision and the current NPA council terms.

The Human Resources manager is consistently mentioned in negative terms. Condescension towards staff in lower pay grades is the consistent theme.

I have vented about my opposition to the "no layoffs" and "auxiliary seniority" within the CUPE 15 context (libraries are a different creature and it is passing strange that 49% of library staff are auxiliary) but it becomes understandable when relationships, or the lack thereof, are factored in.

How can staff be expected trust the city's offer when there is such distrust of the Human Resources manager?

The same is said of certain new young managers in engineering. Similar to the movie "In Good Company," where the new manager is half the age of those he supervises, it appears older staff have difficulty accepting advice from a young manager and whom they feel treats them in a condescending manner.

Certainly this is a two way relationship and I am only hearing one side. If a manager is responsible for taking disciplinary actions or must make a tough decision someone will disagree or personalize the issue.

The latter two comments, however, are consistently mentioned by a large cross section of staff.


Anonymous said...

Picket Boy I think the reason for this strike is the poor relationship the workers have with the City. There doen't seem to be any trust and certainly no respect so how can anyone expect a settlement. I think the Union wants everything written in black and white while perhaps in other municipalities there is a trust which means they can work through things.

City management and whoever is in power had better make this a priority because even with a settlement productivity will be poor. It will take a lot of time to heal this one.

Anonymous said...

That’s why you have a collective agreement, so issues become contractual instead of simply relying on “trust” between the two parties. I don’t see the City relenting on seniority over merit; or no layoffs for life. Think about it; how can you possibly have a situation where you have no control over your workforce because of seniority and then cannot affect a layoff? The public will not support this either and CUPE leaders would have to know that. So the question is; what are they really hoping for and is putting CUPE’s special interests and a very small amount of seniors workers interests ahead of the vast majority like Picket Boy’s ? I think CUPE is proving that their 1920 era mentality has grown old and needs to change.

Anonymous said...

ON the Bill Good show today Mr.Dobrovolny clearly stated that there has been only five layoffs in the past 8 years. So unless they have a hidden agenda why wouldnt you guarantee that if your job is contracted out you will be given another posistion?

Unless there is a hidden agenda f course

Anonymous said...

Could someone please explain to me how it is that when a Union member is let go they get 26 weeks severance yet when management is let go (even with so called just cause) it ends up costing me the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of dollars?????

Anonymous said...

Simple, a manager makes more money.

Anonymous said...

You wonder in your post why 49% of library staff are auxiliaries. As I commented to an earlier post, if you make your wage and work demands too rich for the market to bear, you'll disappear. Even if it looks like you're winning.

Anonymous said...

If only the "wage and work demands" of city managers followed this logic, we'd all be better off.