Saturday, November 08, 2014

DO UNIONS INFLUENCE ELECTIONS?

COPY OF POST CARD MAILED OUT BY CUPE

The above is a copy of a post card direct mailed to Nanaimo residents by CUPE which recommends their choices for the upcoming elections in Nanaimo. Fair enough, I am sure they are registered as a third party sponsor and promoting their dogs in this fight is all fair and good. But it does raise a few questions worth the asking.

Given that 80% of your tax dollar is used to pay wages and benefits at city hall, and given that city council decides on the 'negotiated' increases enjoyed by city staff you have to wonder if there isn't at least the appearance of a conflict of interest here.

Why does a union have an interest in which candidates get elected to council, unless they feel those candidates will be sympathetic to their wage settlements that are decided every year.

UNION DONATIONS TO CANDIDATES CAMPAIGN FUNDS

Of course we will have no idea how much money was donated to different candidates funds until 90 days after the election (something that should be changed) we can at least look back to 2011 to see how many dollars unions contributed to council candidates campaigns.



Bill Bestwick
$5000 CUPE
$1500 IAFF
Total Union contribution = $6,500.


Diane Brennan
$2,000 CUPE 401
$4,000 CUPE BC
$1500 Nanaimo Firefighters
$0500 BCGEU
Total Union contribution = $8,000 


Ted Greves
(By-election)
$2,500 CUPE
$2,000 FIREPAC
$2,000 IAFF
(General Election)
$5,000 CUPE
$0500 IAFF
$2500 CUPE 4012
$5,000 CUPE
$3,000 IAFF
Total Union contribution = $22,500

It would be far more democratic if all candidates were required to disclose the source of their campaign funds before the election rather than 90 days after the fact. It might also be worthy of consideration to limit any single donation to $500 from any one source.

Do these large campaign contributions mean that elected councilors will not act in the best interest of the community as a whole? Does it appear that unions are trying to load council with candidates that will be sympathetic to generous wage settlements?

A FEW FACTS ABOUT WAGES AT CITY HALL

CUPE negotiated a 16.5% wage increase between 2007 - 2012 while the firefighters negotiated a 14% wage increase in 2007 - 2009. There are many firefighters (not officers) earning in excess of $95,000/yr and many earning in excess of $105,000/yr. This is based on a contract which expired in 2009 which means current levels will be considerably higher when their new contract is finally settled.

Given the nearly obscene wage increases some of the senior managers have given themselves it would seem easy for union staff to feel justified with their demands. In the meantime if you consider nearly 40% of Nanaimo is not earning a living income you have to wonder how much longer this system can sustain itself. Perhaps it has already passed the tipping point and we are just slowly sliding to chaos and no one is paying attention.

TO BE CLEAR CUPE ENDORSES THE FOLLOWING CANDIDATES
  • Bill Bestwick
  • Diane Brennan
  • Jim Goldsack
  • Ted Greves
  • Diana Johnstone
  • Jim Kipp
  • Fred Pattje
  • Bill Yoachim
With the exception of candidates Jim Goldsack and  Bill Yoachim, CUPE seems to be endorsing all of the incumbents with the exception of Bill McKay, I presume that is because the union is happy with the status quo. The question you must ask yourself --- are you?

Remember a 1% wage increase means a .8% tax increase.

allvoices

3 comments:

  1. About the CUPE BC postcard - Interesting how two surnames in the list of councillor candidates are spelled incorrectly and that one name (Johnstone), is not even a candidate in this election! And it does not appear to include a choice for Mayor.
    On another note, as a member of the Nanaimo Ratepayers Association, I would appreciate it if you could let me know who the current administrator of the NRA’s facebook is. Thanks – Janet

    ReplyDelete
  2. Someone at CUPE asked someone else to check for typos and other errors. The person said, "Not my job".

    ReplyDelete
  3. Would it be politically incorrect to call these candidates "CUPE DOLLS"?

    ReplyDelete

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