Thursday, September 27, 2018

Nanaimo City Council Union Connection

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An article appearing in the Sept. 2 News Bulletin reveals the level of influence the local unions can exercise over the outcome of the next Nanaimo civic election.

The article notes the labour council represents 13,000 unionized members which in itself is a potential block of votes that can determine the face of Nanaimo governance for the next four years.

City of Nanaimo very friendly with CUPE 401

You could argue that for the past decades there has never been a serious 'negotiation' with the city and CUPE 401. From what I have seen and heard the union basically tells the city what they will settle for and the city agrees. The proof of that suspicion is evidenced by the contracts the union has signed with the last four city councils.

The last time I looked into the union contract with the city a level 1 CUPE worker which does not qualify for the classification of being a labourer will start at $24.45/hr. with 3 weeks holiday and health and dental benefits to die for.

Compared with the private sector which would likely pay minimum wage (and rightly so) for similar job skills it clearly shows the huge unfairness between those who 'work' for the city and those who live in the real world.

Even if you compare the city union contract with other union contracts in the city (school board, health authority) it becomes evident that the city of Nanaimo has never been serious about trying to control the cost of wages for Nanaimo taxpayers.

No Incentive To Really Negotiate With CUPE

The first obvious reason for not trying to hold the line on the union contract is the fact that few councilors have the spine to stand up to the threatened strike the union can call to back their demands. The ability to strike and allow garbage to build up across the city, is a pretty blunt club in the hands of the union.

Another reason there is little to no incentive to hold the line on union wages lies in the method used to determine non-union wage increases. Unless it has been recently changed the wage increases being granted to non-union employees went up in lock-step with the 'negotiated' union wage increase.

So. the whole system begs the question "who is really looking out for the Nanaimo taxpayer when it comes to the cost of wages and benefits enjoyed by city employees?"

Single Biggest Expense At City Hall

The last time I crunched the numbers taken from the city financial statements the cost of wages and benefits represented over 82% of every property tax dollar collected by the city. In other words, city taxpayers can expect their taxes to increase each and every year by about 1.5% just to cover the cost of increased wages and benefits enjoyed by city employees.

City Councilor Wannabes can promise this and that all they want, but unless they are willing to address the single largest expenditure they will never get control of ever-increasing property taxes.

allvoices

1 comment:

  1. The City of Nanaimo and it's citizens have even a greater reason to be concerned - the city is in bed with the union - LITERALLY!

    There is certainly a percieved CONFLICT of interest. It has been brought to the attention of the Mayor, but he hasn't even replied to the email.

    The Legislative Services Dept Head is sleeping with the local Cupe 401 head! The head of Legislative Services has 100% access to all in camera as well as EVERY document in the city. Any strategic planning and discussion is available to Sheila Gurrie Legislative Head.

    NB: for transparency, I am currently involved in a Attorney General case involving Legislative Head Gurrie.

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