Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cullen on the strike's next step

Stephen Fanjoy from Friends of the O-Train recently wrote an e-mail to all city councillors by that urged them to consider a different strategy at the bargaining table. TransitOttawa.ca received a copy of the e-mail.

Bay Ward councillor Alex Cullen responded with the following, presented here unedited:
Arbitration does mean the risk of paying more money for wages and benefits than City Council is willing to do, and does not include the important issue of work scheduling. City Council has agreed to go to arbitration subject to certain conditions, which include adding work scheduling and limiting the total compensation cost to what was offerred in the City's previous offer. We are seeking a just end to this labour strike - one that respects both our taxpayers, users and drivers.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

THIS WAS NO CHANGE FROM EARLY DECEMBER SO WHY DOES CULLEN EXPECT AN AGREEMENT TO THIS?

Anonymous said...

The only change in the cities offer is the date written on the top. Bull headed, time to negotiate a new offer. Get this strike over for all citizens.

Anonymous said...

IF THE OFFER IS FAIR (AND IT IS) WHY WOULD YOU NOT EXPECT AN AGREEMENT FROM IT? YOU STUPID ALLCAPS USING PRICK.

What the union has asked for is simply -MORE MORE MORE-. Fuck that shit.

The city is not the bullheaded one here, and certainly not more so that the union. The city is not the one who locked anybody out, or took transit away, picketed and threatened students and the elderly and then went on TV for a month celebrating the fact they could inconvenience.

Also, stop shouting.

MG said...

I love the union view that if the union says "no" to an offer, the city has to make a better offer. But when the city says "no" they are being "Bullheaded"

Both parties need to sit down at the table and find a reasonable middle ground. No more "we aren't going to negotiate" on any point.

noger said...

The only change in the cities offer is the date written on the top. Bull headed, time to negotiate a new offer.

And there's no change in the intrasigent, monosyllabic ATU, either.

No.

Nope.

Why?

Get back to the table, all you assholes.

Raymond R. said...

The City (us) pays the bill so the union should try to sit down and talk until the city (us) gets what we can afford for transportation. The sooner you agree, the sooner you get back to work. Sounds simple to me.

Anonymous said...

The councillors are slowly waking up and so should you. You can't honestly believe Mayor Larry still. Naive much. Why don't you start by going on a few other sites and read the information yourself. Ambrose has realized that Mayor Larry has mislead her, aswell as others. Time to jump ships fellows.

Anonymous said...

It's funny. Alex states that "arbitration does mean the risk of paying more money for wages and benefits..." If there offer is sooooo good, why are they afraid that the "neutral" arbitrator will screw the city.

Open, honest and unbiased arbitration should not be a risk to anyone offering fair compensation for a job done. The city has been on the losing end with arbitration in the past because City of Ottawa contracts hae tended to be on the low end of other similar agreements.

Check out Mohammed Adams article in the Citizen a few days ago to see what other Canadian cities offer there transit employees. - no 13.5 spreads, pays up to $29 per hour ($5 more than Ottawa). No wonder Alex is afraid to try binding unconditional arbitration.


Chicken.....

Anonymous said...

It's funny. Alex states that "arbitration does mean the risk of paying more money for wages and benefits..." If there offer is sooooo good, why are they afraid that the "neutral" arbitrator will screw the city.

You misunderstand the point completely. Which doesn't really surprise me, as you seem to be supporting the union.

If I want to buy a sandwich from you and agree on a price, I want to agree on a price for the bread and the turkey and the mayo and the plastic wrap around it.

What the union is suggesting is that they agree to a price that's been offered for the sandwich as a whole for the bread alone, and then they can negotiate an additional price via arbitrator for the rest of the sandwich.

It's preposterous, and completely in bad faith, and the fact that union leadership proposed it should be offensive to everybody involved.

Anonymous said...

Also, you misread the article you cite, as the numbers are wrong. You should read it again.

Anonymous said...

I'll admit I am not expert, but if you already decided on the price for the sandwich, what is left to negotiate.
The city has set up a contract offer in which, over the last 10 months of "negotiation" has set up a situation where the all the savings in the contract come from the most contentious and complicated section - the scheduling. They have tapped out the coffers on the cost of living increases and the sick days and tool allowances etc. By telling the arbitrator that he can do whatever he wants as long as it doesn't cost more leaves him no room to move. He can't raise pay or sick days or increase signing bonuses or anything. He can't use the present scheduling system as it costs too much.

That is not fair arbitration. I will agree that union's offer has also left the door open for a mess later on. Something in the middle like "unconditional binding arbritration on the whole contract including scheduling" might be a way to get things moving. Now it is risky for both.

I doubt the city would go for this as the federal mediators that have been working with the city and union have ALL recommended leaving the scheduling out.



Also, where are my numbers wrong. Ottawa drivers start at $20.58 per hour and after 2 years get to $24.22 per hour and then the experience based pay increases stop. That is the lowest range of the bunch....

Anonymous said...

I'll admit I am not expert

Fear not. This much is clear to all.

but if you already decided on the price for the sandwich, what is left to negotiate.

Agreed. Except that's not what the union wants to do. The city has made a condition that requires any arbitration negotiation to be for the price of the sandwich as a whole. The union finds this unacceptable.

Also, where are my numbers wrong. Ottawa drivers start at $20.58 per hour and after 2 years get to $24.22 per hour and then the experience based pay increases stop. That is the lowest range of the bunch....

Well, let's see. Just for starters, you're comparing what that article lists as AVERAGE daily wage of Ottawa members ($24/hr) with MAXIMUM salary of select other cities. Most cities (eg Edmonton, Calgary) max out around $27. Montreals MAX salary is $25.

Anonymous said...

Look, you want respect, you want scheduling, you want to work: fine.

Find us a scheduling system that doesn't allow for people who you say make a maximum of $24/hr to be making in excess of $48/hr. We know at least a few guys make more than that (because it must be reported once it passes $100K per annum), but who knows how many countless other crooks in your union are either less successful or smarter and come in under $100K.

What a bunch of lying thiefs you are.

Anonymous said...

Why on earth would City Hall want to settle this strike when they are saving (making) 3 million dollars a week. City Hall has never brought in that kind of revenue in history! Think hard, when was the last time a politician said that this would save the tax payer money and it actually did! NEVER!!

Anonymous said...

You're an idiot. City Hall isn't something that tries to bring in revenue. Taxes, like the ones various union members seem happy to have raised by $10 here and $100 there and $1000 elsewhere, are what is brought in and dispensed.

City Hall's job is to manage that. They do a piss poor job lots of the time. Unions full of people stealing money make their job much harder, of course.

Ok, so the city is spending relatively little now on salaries and the like, for no service (there are still significant expenditures though, partly as a result of mitigation). Everybody in Ottawa, including the city but also the Mom and Pop shops and the restaurants and bars and the people working there have LOST money because of this strike. City Hall has lost countless dollars from the impact on the cities economy and from all the business that could not go black in December now being out of business.

So the unions, which steals tax dollars from every citizen and home owner and business in Ottawa by gaming a system that should pay them ~$50K a year to pay them instead up to $105K a year, has instead decided to steal money by eliminating businesses and jobs and picketing or interfering with those people trying to commute using other means. All this in the hope of saving and probably improving upon the system they use for their thievery when they do show up to work.

Anonymous said...

I challenge you ask Alain Mercier if any driver or mechanic at OC makes $48 and hour. It's time you folks get some real facts. Check the city of Ottawa employement website. An OC driver maxes out at $24.22 per hour. Yes some (2 in 2007) make $100,000 but they have no life. They drive 60-70 hours a week maybe more. Under no "scheme" can a driver earn more than $36.33 per hour. And it has been a point of argument with the city or union.
He does not get to chit-chat on facebook or email while he is being paid. He does not get to choose when he goes to the washroom or visit the cubicle next door. But that is fine - that is only part of what he is compensated for. He is also compensated for dealing with the public who obviously think they know eerything and are not willing to open their eyes and see another side of the story. But this not new - 17 years in retail has shown me how "ignorant" some of us are.

I am not pro-union - I am pro open, unbiased and UNCONDITIONAL negotiation. Let an independant, unfettered arbitrator finalize the contract. This way, the city might lose if its contract is considered unfair. The union might lose if they are being unreasonable in their hatred of the scheduling.

Anonymous said...

I challenge you ask Alain Mercier if any driver or mechanic at OC makes $48 and hour.

I don't need to. Annual salaries above 100K are listed and readily available to anyone who can use a web browser.

Several bus drivers make $105K per year. That's $50.5/hr for 40 hrs for 52 weeks. Of course you'll say they are working more than 40 hours a week. They may be. That raises safety issues too, and legal ones (which the union also has a problem with not doing apparently) but even then if we give them 12 hours a day for 7 days a week for 52 weeks a year theses guys are making more than $24/hr. That's if they are actually working those hours of course, which is a question of much debate, as their certainly has been considerable gaming of the scheduling by union members.

The point being, the city wants to know how much each hour it get of real work will cost it. And ideally from rested drivers who can do a job without endangering public safety and equipment (and by the way liability costs).

The union wants no part of this. They were so upset they walked away from the table. They've set an unreasonable condition that if you don't agree to fix one part before you negotiate whether or not the system can continue to be abused the way it currently is, they won't even sit down and talk anymore.

Anonymous said...

Let an independant, unfettered arbitrator finalize the contract. This way, the city might lose if its contract is considered unfair. The union might lose if they are being unreasonable in their hatred of the scheduling.

The city has agreed to this. The union will not allow any arbitrator to arbitrate the scheduling as part of the overall contract and to include the very real costs therein.

Under no "scheme" can a driver earn more than $36.33 per hour

Which is fully $10 more than the max in other cities. The city is being VERY generous here. All they have said is that considering this, the scheduling cannot result in further increased costs, meaning that if the system can be games, this max number might have to come down below $30 like it is for every other city (none of which have such a gameable scheduling system either, by the way).

urgele said...

Anonymous 4:08 PM, you are another ATU member who thinks that the public who despises the strike and despises the ATU (the organization, not the individuals) for going on strike, are also uniformly Larry O'Brien supporters.

Let me disabuse you of that myth now.

We are not.

In fact, I would suspect that the body of people who depend on transit, and are mad as living fuck at the ATU, voted quite solidly AGAINST O'Brien in the last election.

I'll be happy when the buses come back. I'll also be happy when O'Brien is in court, and, innocent until blah blah blah, sentenced.

Find a new argument. And drag your ass back to the table.