Finally! Council Approves Deal To End Strike

A bit of grandstanding by some but Toronto city councillors voted this evening to approve the deals worked out with two CUPE unions. The strike is over!

The special day long meeting resulted in a 21-17 vote in favour of settling. Seems like a decent compromise despite media hype, doomsday projections and hyperbole.

Read the background info. This was one of the lowest settlements among public sector employees in the province. The city is allowing some OT for union workers to clean up the mess BUT is not restricted to hiring contractors if it saves the city money. (Note that some contractors have billed, some who have needed their services The sick day plan benefit has been grandfathered much the same way as in other municipalities like Mississauga.

The bargaining committee for the city, and Mayor Miller, did a relatively good job. If many were paying attention the strain on the city’s finances, started with downloading by the Harris Conservatives. More services dumped down have meant more we have tax increases. All told, while some benefits are still intact for unionized employees, demographics will favour the city as pay outs and the costs of these will fade away. The unions get modest increases and don’t completely hijack to city’s pocketbook.

The workers are back, the services are restored. We’ll have two weeks of unlimited Green Bin and garbage pick up. The ferry services will return to full service Saturday too. Let’s enjoy the rest of the summer and the the Caribana Parade!

9 Comments so far

  1. dorkwarts on August 1st, 2009 @ 1:18 am

    Who the hell wrote this? You have got to be kidding me.

    So the unions raped the clients the least this time? Whooohoooo. Stop the presses. Unions should be abolished.

    Bargaining committee and Mayor Miller are complete failures. The Mayor sold out, the City sold out, and a whole bunch of zeros have a 6.64% raise. This city is truly pathetic.

  2. swoononeone (tor_trevor) on August 1st, 2009 @ 10:15 am

    Can’t agree less dorkwarts.

    There was a compromise. The union relented on some but not all of their sticking points. Toronto’s strike lasted six weeks versus Windsor’s fifteen! No forced arbitration that would have made everyone more unhappy.

    Compared to the last strike in the city we fared pretty well. Yes we had several parks turned into dumps but sweltering heat and humidity didn’t add to the pain.

    I haven’t been impressed by some actions on both sides of the picket line BUT the deal is market based. It’s not unlike what has been negotiated across the province. It will reduce costs once many of these workers retire.

    As angry as it makes some people your taxes need to be spent on services and someone has to be paid to pick after us. Yes these workers should be glad they have jobs and benefits. I can, sympathize however, with workers whose employers try to claw back already earned benefits. This issue is a bit more complex than “Unions and Miller Suck”. Personally there has been far less to cry about without Lastman fumbling around.

    Hopefully people pay more attention to what goes on in their own community and City Hall. You wrote a comment here dorkwart but how many letters did you write the councilor you voted for? Did you vote? If you didn’t perhaps you will now. Otherwise you’ll only get to curse from the sidelines.

  3. dorkwarts on August 1st, 2009 @ 10:33 am

    But that’s just it. Comparables is the wrong model. If it IS the right model, then let’s compare jobs to jobs, not union to union. All unions will never be equal, and they know this to leverage their position to unfair heights, this last vote being no different.

    What you consider market, is amongst unions, not the general populous. I don’t mind paying for reasonable services. In fact, why don’t we privatise it? At least there’s incentive for performance. And I will predict what you will say, or at least take a shot at it. Yes, they can go on strike too. But there’s less an environmental presence to do that. Second, that’s exactly what we just went through for what…6 weeks? So it’s hit that point where holding course to avoid privatised strikes, has been erased.

    Furthermore, sick days are not earned benefits. It’s a perk where they get paid for not even showing up for work. It’s really clear how that works.

    Oh how many letters? At least 2. Then, I twitted to Mayor Miller a handful of times, and his ridiculous PR team that covers his account. I don’t think one of them has any experience running a business at all.

    I am the curse from the sidelines. With entrepreneurial experience since my first degree. I have 3 degrees, including an MBA. I’ve consulted around the world. Unfortunately politics, especially municipal politics, get filled with guys like Lastman, Layton, & Miller.

    Lastly, as much as the city, fellow councillors, and significant portion of union members made noise, it still migrated into NDP bleeding heart territory. It seems everybody is concerned about these people, but somehow their career choices pointed them to garbage collection. It’s a job, and nothing but. Should be paid for that service and only that. If they don’t like it, they can go somewhere else. THAT, is called a market, which is not formed through extortion.

  4. dorkwarts on August 1st, 2009 @ 10:34 am

    BTW this server keeps dropping connection. Must be fixed. Don’t leave it to the City. Heh!

  5. swoononeone (tor_trevor) on August 3rd, 2009 @ 5:10 pm

    Comparisons of Jobs vs. Jobs? Private contractors cost often triple union especially for garbage services. Sure the non-union worker doing the work may get $12 or less per hour but that is not what you get charged by the contractor. Many BIA’s that contracted out garbage services learned this hard lesson. I’m glad the city has the provision to hire private contractors only when it will not cost the taxpayer more to deliver the same service post strike.

    Yes sick days are earned benefits, especially in this case. Employees, in the past, were able to bank and carry forward sick days (as a benefit). Sounds a lot like vacation day accruals, accumulating 1.5 days per month to a maximum of 18 per year. With many of the city employees that are able with grandfathered benefits retiring soon (my guess is that the biggest union screams came from 50+ workers that have long service records) this liability decrease and then vanish in a few years.

    I would love to see more business experience and depth on city council. It never hurts. That’s not to say that private citizens do not have valid concerns or insights into the communities in which they live.

  6. dorkwarts on August 3rd, 2009 @ 5:30 pm

    $40/hour to haul garbage? On what planet? Second, during a strike, the market changes, so the BIAs got a completely different scenario.

    I just don’t see it. Privatisation with milestones on the term sheet, would be just fine for me. Government should not be in the business of “employment”. And that includes LLBO/LCBO (AGC), one of the biggest fraud cases ever written.

  7. mikejenkins on August 3rd, 2009 @ 5:55 pm

    A little slow to find this SLEEPER of a post. The comments are hilarious though.

    “Oh how many letters? At least 2. Then, I twitted to Mayor Miller a handful of times, and his ridiculous PR team that covers his account. I don’t think one of them has any experience running a business at all.”

    TWITTER? Definitely the touchstone of social interaction and political change. Did you try adding Miller to MSN too? Twitter tweets have to be the worst invention ever. They are like intellectually challenged text messages. I could be mistaken. They could be eloquent prose when written by an MBA with several degrees.

    “Government should not be in the business of “employment”. And that includes LLBO/LCBO (AGC), one of the biggest fraud cases ever written.”

    So we should privatize all government services? The LCBO along with sin taxes and lotteries save taxpayers millions. What corporation should we hire to liberate this revenue from taxpayers hands? Should we also privatize other city jobs like Police too? Whatever. Yes there are issues with some Public institutions but Private is “perfect” either.

    Go back to reading the Globe and Mail and get a life dorkworts. The strike is over, smile. No one, especially the public “won”. At least it’s over.

  8. dorkwarts on August 3rd, 2009 @ 6:05 pm

    Perfection? Government is hardly a word to be naming anywhere close to “perfection”. This last strike is another example of how corrupt and simply out of touch government and its employees are.

    Second, check your business model on the LCBO. You obviously fell for that marketing, hook, line and sinker. It does not save Ontarians any money at all. It’s 100% cashflows taken out of the economy of Ontario. AND, it’s completely mismanaged and a complete waste of money. Oh, right, there’s a union behind that as well. I used to work there, and I can tell you stories of how poorly the place is run. Let’s not go near the absolute ancient ways it disallows domestic producers to even participate fairly.

    Go back to NOW magazine, Mikey. Socialism for bleeding hearts doesn’t work when you try any business model. You can’t simply tax the brains out of people to provide service. And no, the government isn’t a “parent of society” that has endless resources such as money for social programs and employment strategies for politicians that need votes.

    Like the Mayor said, the strike should never have happened. If they don’t like their jobs, they should quit.

  9. dorkwarts on August 3rd, 2009 @ 6:08 pm

    Oh and another thing. The strike has completely raped the city of its summer, provided health issues for many people, and turned it into a disgusting pit. The intangible results from dropped cashflows for the city are way more than the greedy bastards that seem to think the jobs actually belong to them. Newsflash: they don’t. Those job positions belong to the City of Toronto. As do the facilities, which picketers seem to have taken place on, got injured on, and were informed by the Toronto Police by, that any injuries on City property, are not covered by the Highway Act. It seems union workers actually own part of the City. No, they are legally, and perceived, as just people with jobs.

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