Thursday, March 18, 2010

City rejects "misleading" critical bus ads

The Ottawa Taxpayer Advocacy Group, a coalition of citizens concerned with transit workers' pay, have been blocked by Ottawa city staff from buying ads that are critical of them on OC Transpo buses.

According to the Ottawa Citizen, the group's initial draft for the e-mail was amended based on the city's criticisms, but was still rejected. The most recent proposal would have displayed the following text:

OC Transpo average wage (salary, wage, overtime, employer benefits, contributions & allowances): up 80 per cent in six years to $74,748. Fed up with rising taxes and bus fares? Join us...
The debate harkens back to some recent advertising controversies, including the Atheist Bus Campaign and Virgin Radio spots, but is markedly different based on the fact that it's directly critical of the city service it's running on, rather than simply controversial based on morals or values.

With regards to the proposed advertisement, the City had opposed the 'average wage' terminology, suggesting that it misleads those who view the advertisements into thinking that was the base salary, while it covers a bit more, according to City Treasurer Marian Simulik (quoted in the above-linked article):

"The figures represent total employer costs, including salaries as well as benefits, pension contributions, shift premium payments, post-employer benefits and other allowances."
The OTAG has taken their case to court, citing concerns that the City is attempting to "conceal the truth" by blocking their advertisements. Whenever a resolution comes, it should be interesting to see.


RealGrouchy said...

They never seem to complain (and they argue against my complaints) about all the ads for cars on buses. They have no problems taking that money.

- RG>

Unknown said...

Up 80% to $74,748?

Wow, so salary and benefits were on average $14,949.60 in early 2006? no wonder they went on strike.

Peter Raaymakers said...

@Jason Liverpool: Actually, the previous salary would have been $41,562.67.

An increase of 80% on that salary would bring the number to the $74,748 stated in the proposed advertisement.