Sep 13 2007

Why are Vancouver City workers on strike?

I’m sure I’m not the only one asking the question.

While I’m pretty insulated from the effects of the strike (city managers have even managed to set aside time to spoon-feed me data for an upcoming magazine feature article), countless City residents are certainly losing their patience.

I’m not anti-union. Frankly, I wouldn’t mind belonging to one that managed to get me the kind of benefits that City workers had even before the strike started.

But on the whole, some of CUPE’s demands just seem greedy.

The City’s offer of a 17.5 per cent raise over five years seems decent enough, and pretty much in line with the private sector for outdoor work not involving oil rigs in Alberta.

Meanwhile, why is CUPE asking for a no-layoffs policy? The government is not an employer of last resort. If there’s no work, there’s no work.

Besides, it seems to be a red herring, given that over the past ten years, the City has laid off just 10 workers of a workforce of 3,500. How much more job security could one possibly need?

CUPE also wants all auxiliary work only assigned on the basis of seniority. Why shouldn’t merit be at least a factor, even if not the primary one?

Perhaps Vancouverites are already aware of these kinds of examples, though. It may explain why I have yet to hear a single commuter honking their horn in support for the strikers outside City Hall.

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5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Why are Vancouver City workers on strike?”

  1. on 13 Sep 2007 at 1:39 pm

    CUPE and unions in general are what are causing cities to have financial problems – THEY are the costs.

  2. on 13 Sep 2007 at 5:58 pm

    Yes. If the city didn’t have to pay employees then we’d have lots of money to spend on things. Not only that if we just collected taxes but didn’t offer any services, like roads, police or fire departments, our coffers would be so full.

    Excellent idea.

  3. on 13 Sep 2007 at 7:55 pm

    Nicely put, Jefferey. I would reiterate that I have nothing against unions in principle.

    It is only a specific set of positions that CUPE has put forward for this strike that I have taken issue with. Hopefully, most Vancouverites are looking at the strike with an empirical perspective.

  4. on 14 Sep 2007 at 5:01 am

    Personally I can’t see how this can go on much longer. People’s carports and garages are getting overful with garbage and most private garbage companies are starting to halt service because it’s taking too long to empty the bins. If this goes on a few more months, and it’s been months now, we might actually start having a health problem.

    Already my apartment’s getting infested with fruit flies, and I’ve got private pickup but they’ve cut it back so much that even in our building the garbage sits there for so long.

    Wait until someone is eaten by a fruit fly, then we’ll see some action.

  5. on 08 Oct 2007 at 10:15 pm

    I have run out of sympathy for all parties in this ridiculous strike. Both sides are losing the public relations battle but are too ignorant to even realize it.

    Here is my solution:

    Step #1: kick Sam Sullivan out on his butt for failing to resolve this mess in a timely manner.

    Step #2: Fire every striking worker, lots of hardworking people would love to have those jobs. If Ronald Reagan can do it to airtraffic controllers, surely Vancouver could do it to a bunch of malcontent garbagemen.

    Look at the big picture for a minute you self-absorbed losers and put this ridiculous mess to rest.

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