Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Monday, November 09, 2009

Did Council Hardliners Cost Taxpayers $160M

The gossip suggests that some local CUPE leaders want to follow the Valentinis school of thought and "move on." They want to forget the 101-day strike that cost their members millions of dollars in wages and incredible hardship and get on with things as if everything was normal now. Why fight the bad faith OLRB claim it is said or try and recover back wages.

My strongest advice to CUPE members: help them "move on" by kicking them off the Executive Board right now! Make sure that you have the strongest legal team possible and get on with it!

As I suggested, we taxpayers have never been told the true story of the strike and the consequences to us. Whether Edgar (aka Eddie) likes it or not, the story will come out on Tuesday night at Club Alouette, or at least a different version of it. We can thank Junior for that.

Dear reader, you ought to attend not only to hear the information first hand but to watch the political drama unfolding.

Check out Chris Schnurr's BLOG where he has a clip of Councillor Ken Lewenza and the transcript of what he said on John Fairley's Face-To-Face show

Here is what Junior said:
  • "I think the whole issue around the post-retirement benefits; I think for the most part council didn’t completely understand it. It goes back to 2006 when we arbitrarily took them away from our management group, which then they decided they were going to try and form a union. So there was a chain of events that started to happen which could have been avoided.

    Our management group said they were looking, that they would be open to alternative solutions, they were open to a pre-funded plan, they were open to making contributions,and the city’s position was essentially, you know, there’s no types of negotiation.

    And I think there was a lot of exaggeration in terms of the overall cost of what postretirement benefits actually cost. You know, numbers were thrown around that in 30 years, the city’s legacy costs for 543 and 82 is $97-million. To the public, that blows their mind. But essentially what we give away in wages and benefits, if you compare apples to apples, is about $160-million over the same period."
Egad....if that is true, then the Mayor and the other hardliners such as the Councillor formerly known as Councillor Budget are in deep doo-doo for remarks such as this:
  • "Coun. Dave Brister says he heard dozens of similar messages from voters over the weekend. "They're not wrong," he told me Monday. "I don't think it's a good deal either. But this is the best deal we could get."

    Brister argues that the threat of arbitration hanging over council's head prevented them from following through to extract greater cost savings from CUPE.

    Had that threat not been there, "I would have held out longer, no question."
Pshaw......the Province had no reason to get involved! I guess Brister suffers from the amnesia disease too and forgot about Edgar and the near riot!

OMG....$160M....was this really the best deal? Did Brister and the other hardliners understand what they voted for? I would hate to see the worst then. Expect Junior to elaborate on this theme too:
  • "John Fairley: Could you, could the strike have been, could’ve been ended earlier than what it did? Was there any key point you could go back to and say…

    Ken Lewenza Jr.: Oh sure…

    John Fairley: You know what this would’ve happened?

    Ken Lewenza Jr.: Sure…

    John Fairley: What was that?

    Ken Lewenza Jr.: I mean again I think its just having a better labour relations level of trust and respect between the unions and sit down and have conversations and explore hypothetical scenarios. It’s just…

    John Fairley: Between the unions or between the city and the unions?

    Ken Lewenza Jr.: Between the city and the union. The unions and council. I think there was a lot of opportunities to, and I think with anyone that’s familiar with the collective bargaining process, I mean even people with the business community, if you were to look at what it was where we set out and where it was we actually ended up, there was enough in the envelope to basically allow both sides to walk away satisfied. I think sometimes the best collective agreement is where both sides walk away feeling like they took a little bit of a hit, and I don’t think that’s what happened here...

    Ken Lewenza Jr.: It wasn’t, it was absolutely not about giving up. Negotiations is fluid. It’s a fluid process. You need to sometimes change your tactics. I don’t think that, you know, I mean the votes are explained that somehow that there’s members of council that voted with CUPE all the time.

    I mean anyone that reads those minutes, that’s certainly not the case. In fact I can say, without any fear of contradiction, that there was never a time that a member of council put anything on the table that exceeded what the collective group did at the end of the process.

    So not one councillor put forward a proposal, ever, that was higher than what we signed at the end of the process.

    John Fairley: Is that right?

    Ken Lewenza Jr.: So to mislead the public, that somehow, you know, there was some councillors that were siding with CUPE, it’s simply not the case."
That $160M I am sure will be the first of several bombshells that will be dropped. It ought to change the perception of Windsorites about what happened during the strike.

I said "ought" because you know that the sycophants will make sure that Junior is smeared!

I will be surprised if the story is covered or, if covered, is reported fairly.

We shall see.