Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Sunday, May 24, 2009

2,4,6,8...Eddie Does Not Want to Arbitrate

It is hardly a big surprise. It was only a matter of when and not if the talks were to break down and end and who would end them.

What is our Mayor so afraid of:
  • "The city suspended talks at around 7:30 p.m. because little progress was being made, said Mayor Eddie Francis.

    "What happened was the talks reached a point that there was very little movement. Instead of sitting in a room and staring at each other, we understood the talks reached an impasse," Francis said...

    Near the end of the talks, CUPE suggested that a third party mediate the negotiations, and offered to come back to work if this were to occur.

    "If they bought into that, we'd be back to work on Monday," Wood said.

    While the union received no answer to this proposal, the mayor disliked the idea of third-party arbitration.

    "It is my opinion not to leave this in the hands of a third party that's 400 or 500 kilometres away," Francis said Saturday night. "It is the responsibility of the parties to reach an agreement. The City of Windsor is prepared to sit down and reach an agreement."

400 or 500 Km away? Isn't that where David Estrin comes from? Sam Schwartz is even further away. Aren't they third parties who do not know the Community but we have relied on them?

  • "It is the responsibility of the parties to reach an agreement."


I know it is NOT arbitration and the Star does not seem to know the difference but didn't Eddie want mediation for Greenlink. It would have been the equivalent of an arbitration since Eddie set the terms:

  • "Windsor has demanded a mediator be appointed to end outstanding differences with the provincial government in the ugly fight over the proposed $1.6-billion Windsor-Essex Parkway border feeder road..."

    [Estrin Report] calls for immediate mediation to be completed within 21 days after an agreed-upon mediator is appointed.

    The focus of the mediator, according to the city, would be to mitigate access road deficiencies through strategic tunnelling with an understanding the cost of doing so be no greater than $200 million more than the parkway's current estimated $1.6-billion construction cost.

    By participating with a mediator the city is not waiving its legal rights, says Estrin's report.

    "We believe DRIC has ignored their obligations to the community," Mayor Eddie Francis said on Sunday.

    "We want a solution everyone can live with and move on. This request for a mediator is further demonstration Windsor is exhausting every opportunity to arrive at a solution and avoid unnecessary legal action."

So when it is convenient, Eddie will follow the advice of someone living 4-500 Km away to have mediation with someone who lives 4-500 Km away to solve a Windsor problem. But he won't do this with his own Union.

Here is the CUPE Press Release:

  • CUPE Offers to Return to Work

    Marketwire) - Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) members of CUPE 82 and 543, striking municipal workers at the City of Windsor, is willing to return to work immediately, however the mayor and his bargaining team will not cooperate.

    Talks broke down at 7:30 p.m. today

    "We have done all we can and we've made significant moves. We agreed that post retirement benefits for new employees could end at age 65 and we offered to cost share an optional benefits plan for them. The City refused," said Jim Wood, president of CUPE 82, 400 striking outdoor workers.

    "I actually made a verbal offer to get our members back on the job tomorrow if the City would agree to binding arbitration, but the mayor's people wouldn't consider the offer.

    "Our members don't want to be on strike," "We've tried everything we can to resolve the issues but there has been no movement from the City. Our members take no pleasure in causing difficulties for their friends and neighbours. But this is a matter of fairness and equity."

    "It speaks volumes about the mayor and his team that they refuse to work with us to get the city back to normal and our issues resolved by an independent third party," said Jean Fox, president of CUPE 543, 1400 striking indoor workers.

    CUPE presented many cost saving initiatives during bargaining and they have been ignored. The main issues are retirement benefits and a new, two-tier compensation system for new employees.

    "The mayor is using the economic downturn as a reason for seeking concessions and claiming it will save the city money. However, his plan won't save money for 30 years," said Fox."

If the Mayor's posiiton is so strong...what is he afraid of?

Jim Wood asked

  • "I thought we'd get an agreement, we tackled post-retirement benefits head on.... I don't know where we go from here," Wood said."

I do and his name is Ken Lewenza Senior. But that is the subject of another BLOG.