Even More Emails
1) I can only speak for what I witnessed the day of the vote at the Caboto Club.
At approximately 10:30 am I parked my car on Marentette beside the Caboto Club knowing that it would be easier to get out after the vote.
As I was exitting my car I noticed 4 supervisors that I recognized from Parks and Recreation. I jokingly asked them if they were coming in to vote with us and one of them told me they had just received a call telling them they had to come to the Caboto Club to hand out flyers. I asked "what kind of fliers". One of them said they did not know they were just told they had to show up. As we were walking east on Tecumseh Road I turned on the first path leading into the Caboto parking lot and asked "aren't you going this way". To which one responded "we are taking the long way around".
As I got up to the front of the Caboto Club I asked some of my fellow workers what the supervisors were handing out but at that point they were unaware of what was going on. I immediately saw another supervisor from Parks that I recognized and asked her what was going on.
She looked at the 2 different coloured flyers and gave me one. As I started to read it over I noticed Jim Wood speaking with Don Sadler and then the crowd erupted in anger. I looked over to see the 4 supervisors I had first met on Marentette entering the parking lot from Parent as they approached the crowd they immediately turned and left followed shortly by the rest of the supervisors on scene.
I have spoken to Mr. Sadler as well as all of the supervisors involved in this incident on many occasions in the past and I don't believe that any of them are harbouring any ill will toward the union; nor do I believe that any of them intended for this unfortunate situation to carry out as it did. They were all just doing what they were told they had to do. I actually feel sorry for the supervisors who were forced into this situation. They did not deserve to be treated as bait for Eddie to further antagonize our membership.
Thank you again for your ear.
2) I tend to agree with your ultimate conclusion. My expectation is that negotiations will be worked through to conclusion within a day or maybe two. And CUPE membership will be at another ratification vote by the weekend. There will likely be an acceptance. Strike over.
To get that acceptance certain things absolutely need to be in place.
The first is "Back to Work Protocol" that contains the usual clauses of protection against disciplinary action. That language needs to be in the contact itself (not a mere cover letter). I am certain that the city will include it this time. One obstacle out of the way.
Next is the money and I agree with your reference to what Eddie said in his press conference. He addressed that and a few other things, saying that the city had listened to what CUPE members were displeased about in the city's offer. He must have been listening to the many CUPE members who called the Lynn Martin show on Friday because his comments reflected things that members spoke about during that show. I know for a fact that my councillor was listening to that show on Friday. So, yes, I expect the city will sweeten the lump sum pot. The question is...by how much and will it be enough to offset the perception created by the $1300.00 offer...namely, that the lump sum had decreased from the $1800.00 previously offered in that leaked proposal from the city. If it is sweetened enough, the money package will probably fly with the membership. But I doubt there will be any reference to OMERS as justification for that lump sum increase. I doubt that the union will even raise OMERS in the negotiations. Time will tell, I suppose.
Jean mentioned that it was not just money left to work out but also language, and there are still significant language obstacles to work out yet, such as JJE language, bumping and job security. Yes, they are obstacles but they are negotiable and I believe that the city negotiating team will be left alone to work those issues out and get the job done this time. It may take a day or two, but I believe it will get done this time.
I expect that the OLRB hearing will be used as a bargaining chip but ultimately traded off. And I don't think there will be any serious consideration of suing the city for backpay. Just my opinion.
There have been so many surprise come out of left field unexpectedly from both sides throughout this long ordeal that I have yet to predict anything with complete accuracy. One side or the other could still pull some ill-advised stunt and once again waste the opportunity to get this strike resolved. But I remain quite hopeful that it will be worked out this time.
3) Dont be so sure Ed, the members still have to vote and they are not happy with the executive.
They may reject any offer that the executive recommends acceptance.
4) The offer the union made to the city did not have PRB and asked for money.
The city turned this offer down with a counter offer we turned down.
PRB are still on the table...
We the membership did not take prb off the table. We have been
betrayed if this is the case.
5) I don't know why you think Bill Marra has a labour following I know of 1800 strikers he has not helped one bit by trying to get Eddie to bargain in good faith. Bill let that role fall on the shoulders of Caroline Postma, Ron Jones and Ken Lewenza Jr. Although I suspect the only reason Ken Jr decided to start supporting CUPE was because his father browbeated him into it.
I suspect at the next election we will see most if not all councillors and the mayor looking for new jobs. CUPE is going to be very involved in the next municipal election and it won't be to support the existing city council.
6)I gotta tell ya - this whole thing is making me sick.
Francis should be reprimanded for that stunt at Caboto. If CUPE pulled something like that, if would be all over the Windsor Star.
I find if funny and ironic how Skorobohacz hasn't been seen or heard from during this entire thing but all of a sudden - puff there he is. He is the CAO so where has he been? Why hasn't he been doing his job?
The Mayor should be dealing with the political side of things and the CAO and all of management should be dealing with the Union and it's employees, dare I say manage!! Now that the CAO made a comment, you know he's going back into hiding, I wouldn't be surprised if after all this the CAO and Helga are cut loose. Their services will no longer be needed.
When everything is said and done a "whipping boy" is going to be needed and my money is on one of them to take to fall. It should be Francis based on the pathetic way he has dealt with this strike.
Francis is using our crumbling city as a stepping stone to bigger and better things and he doesn't care who gets hurt along the way.
7) Thank your for your most invaluable viewpoints as presented in your website/blog.
8) Good blog today Ed.
I for one, emailed Jean Fox and said just go for an increase, for a three year deal. And I also mentioned to her about taking legal action re: PRB's and anything else out of line. Told her my vote is to get back to work ASAP and take care of everything through the courts. Many feel this way... We are sick of being pawns in "Eddie's Game". When each "pass" seems to take two weeks to take place, how do we know Eddie hasn't planned another "vacation"...
Maybe we as members should call [Name of US lawyer]. Or [Name of lawyer]. Or wait, maybe [Name of lawyer]. If anyone is knowledgable about City practices it is him.
Just to let you know, I've talked to plenty of other members and we are willing to put money together if necessary and hire the appropriate lawyer if CUPE does not.
Have a good night, for me, another sleepless night, as usual the last 13 weeks.
9) [3:09 AM] Hi Ed, please post another blog soon, I am still awake, I am sure you are too
10) ... If he really wanted a YES vote, he [Francis] definitely made everyone vote NO due to the Protocol itself, and not necessarily the tactics. Although they were despicable, all anyone with a brain had to do was read the Protocol and you KNEW all you could do was VOTE NO. There was no other choice. I have to think that Eddie and his legal Brain, George King, knew that would happen. We are not STUPID. They were STUPID to bring it in our faces, Jean and Jim had the document and DEFINITELY they were going to discuss it, it was SO lacking in proper language. SHAME on Mayor for this action.
And for blaming Skorbie. He will probably resign from the city soon AGAIN. Also Helga who I know is a decent person after all, she was a top administrator at WFCU named #1 employer in Canada? I think. Because of RESPECT FOR EMPLOYEES. Wow, what a change going from #1 employer to the BIGGEST LOSER in Canada. See how fast she will resign after this whole fiasco. Good for her. She's been treated like dirt same as the rest of us. Maybe I will apply for a WFCU job.
11) This is the quote from an email from [Nmae of Councillor] when I asked the question "what is the yearly cost of PRB's" while he did not clarify if this was for CUPE workers or all municpal employees which I believe it to be. but if you take 6 million, divide it by a population of 220,000 I know the signs say 218,000 but that was from 2006 so 6million divided by 220,000 is 27 dollars per person. If this does include Police and Fire and City Councillors then the amount of 27 dollars would be less for the issue at hand
"Right now, we are including a $6 million dollar amount in our operating budget to pay for post retirement benefits for those who are retired."
12) The prospect of this whole thing making a major shift on a totally new stage
is what is getting my attention.
13) As an employee of the city, I do not have an issue with the increased contribution. We're talking less than $2.00 per pay for most employees. Also, a few years back there was such a large surplus in the OMERS fund that they were required by provincial law to reduce the surplus to within mandated parameters. One of the ways they accomplished that was by granting a "contribution holiday" to both the employee and the employer. Premiums were paid out of the surplus for an extended period of time...I can't remember exactly how long the contribution holiday lasted but I think it was about 2 years before contributions were resumed.
Yes, OMERS has taken a hit but by comparison to many other plans, they have invested fairly wisely, avoiding some of the biggest sources of collapse that have plagued many public and private pensions. So I am happy to be enrolled in OMERS, Ed. And I do not expect the city to pick up the cost of my increased contribution rate. However, the city will be responsible for picking up the increase of the matched premium which they are mandated to pay.
14) Thanks for the piece on PRBs. I wonder of this is CUPEs big plan to
get all lost salary back. Imagine the Headlines on that one...assuming they have good legal advice. And word is that the inside workers would have narrowly accepted the offer had the protocol thing not happened.
15) VERY informative and thought prevoking.
As a worker on strike, here is my 2 cents.
For many years i have worked for the city and been paid a mixture of cash, benifits and the promise of future benifits. For the city to try and stop these future benifits would be an attempt to default on the payment promised. the post ret benifits are sort of a defered income. basically the city would have to give me a giant pile of cash in lue of benifits. Given how many workers are almost at retirement age this would be a massive cash outlay the city simply could not come up with. better to spread it over the next 20 or so years.
As for future employees, 30 years ago cupe 82 had over 800 members, now its less than half and falling. I don't know about 543. The mayors concern can't be about future employees of the union as there will not be enough future employees to make it an issue. everything is already getting contracted out. The real issue is, i believe, over the cops and fire. my understanding is the fire arbitrator is holding his report untill this strike is setteled to decide on their PRB's. then next year its the cops.
As for the cops, did you read the bit about the OPP rate hike in the county. the cost of county cops is less than half that of city cops. kind of a hard sell to county residents if windsor tries to push a regional, county wide police force on them. Just look at the size of the windsor police budget and you will see who the real target is.
keep up the good work
16) This is just a question, nothing more, did you know the cost of PRB's? it works out to 27 dollars a year for each windsorite, that’s 52 cents a week. The whole issue is over 52 cents a week.
17) have heard the argument many times during this strike regarding PRBs, "I don't have them why should they have them". I have not once heard someone say "Wow you get PRBs, that is worth fighting for, I deserve them too.". Do the citizens of Windsor devalue themselves so much that they feel they should bring someone down to their level, rather than fight for what they have. It is sad.
18) I just wanted to give a quick thank you. Your blog is much appreciated by CUPE. I decided to vote no, I was on the fence all the way to the ballot box. I seconded guessed myself all the way home, could my gut be wrong? Then I read your blog, my gut was right.
19) Based on how this strike has gone, I wouldn't trust anything he [the Mayor] says unless it's in writing, wouldn't you agree?!
20) i check your blog at least 15 times a day. if i did not have your blog i
would go crazy.
21) Actually, we are 26 out of 29….two cities were not ranked
22) Yes, I just finished reading this latest BLOG online and was writing a reply....
Around 7pm I read a similar message on the main page of the CUPE543 website. My reaction was the same as yours. Disregard everything that I wrote in my previous email. I have NO IDEA where this is going to go now!
Maybe I should retire from the job of strike predictions. Hmmm...if I do retire from strike predicting, I wonder if I'll have any PRBs?