Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lewenza vs Brister: The Great Debate That Will Never Happen

We need some reality soon about City labour negotiations and what the City failed to achieve. Too bad that we do not have a media similar to Toronto's that forced their Mayor not to run again after his CUPE strike failure.

We need the the facts. Instead, we get mini-Gord
  • “Good luck to PETU trying to land a better deal than most taxpayers get. It didn't pan out for the last group that tried.”

I wish that Junior would actually schedule a debate between him and the Councillor formerly known as Councillor Budget. I would expect that one of the items in the debate which would involve the champions of the softliners and hardliners on Council would be labour relations including issues such as the CUPE strike, PETU and outsourcing.

Actually, Brister would be a stand-in for the Mayor who would not have the nerve to face Lewenza and to take responsibility for failing to achieve his objectives with CUPE.

Edgar can claim with PETU:

  • “Francis said the city has spent about $300,000 fighting the certification effort. He said it was a matter of "spending dollars in the short-term to protect the long-term interests of the residents of the City of Windsor ... sometimes you have to do that, absolutely."

He could NOT justify that. With both CUPE and PETU, we spent short-term dollars and failed to protect the long-term. Lewenza would rip him to shreds and Edgar knows it!

Frankly, Councillor Lewenza owes it to us to have the debate because the Star refused to cover his Ward meeting where he explained how our Mayor and the hardliners failed to achieve their goals during the 101 day strike and cost us more money instead.

I would doubt that the Star would have the balls not to cover the debate so Junior’s findings would finally become public.

The debate would be one-sided though because Brister would NOT show up. He has to be in my opinion the most politically cowardly of all of the Members of Council, refusing the many invitations from John Fairley to appear on Face-To-Face. He is terrified since he knows that John would crucify him with one lifitng of his eye-brow.

Which Councillor runs to Star columnists more quickly than Brister to get his story out? He dare not tell the public directly in a debate what he thinks for fear of being ridiculed and embarrassed.

At the least, we can assume that Brister is NOT mini-Gord’s “corrupt Member of Council” since mini-Gord need not offer him anything and Brister will still come to him.

Poor Dave, he just cannot see past his own ego to understand that he is being set up to run for Mayor so Edgar (aka) Eddie can sneak in. Oh well. His loss will be our gain

Take Mini-Gord’s Saturday column. Please.

It is just a barrel of laughs with Brister the supposed star. It was designed to counter the public backlash after the results of the PETU deal became public.

It actually demonstrates that “combative” Edgar Francis did not show “inspired leadership!” Thanks to mini-Gord we now know whom to blame and what Edgar’s re-election campaign will be spun around:

  • “The architect of the deal, insiders tell me, was Mayor Eddie Francis. So it's thanks to him municipal taxpayers across Canada win another big one.”

Hmmm, I wonder if the corrupt Councillor was the insider telling tales.

And Dave stupidly is going along for the ride thinking that being a penny-pincher is winning him votes.

  • “Coun. Dave Brister says he will vote against the settlement Monday, but he predicts he will be the only one to do so."

If the Star ever folds, mini-Gord need not worry about getting a new job. He has a terrific second career of making an Edgar silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Gord better watch out. He has competition.

How can mini-Gord possibly say:

  • “The disbanding of the managers' union at city hall this week could prove to be a turning point cited decades from now as the point Windsor finally changed…

    In Windsor, that amounts to nothing less than a momentous development -- a revolution. A tiger changing its stripes. History…

    News of this deal travelled across Canada in a flash, reaching ears that were either shocked to learn the bad news -- or pleasantly surprised to hear that in Windsor, some people are adapting to reality.”

No it’s not. It is the professional equivalent of the “near-riot” that caused Edgar to fold and David Miller in Toronto as well.

It is middle managers forcing the Mayor to blink and knuckle under. Do you really think in the end that the City could allow their managers to unionize in the face of more potential labour unrest. The City would be paralyzed. Edgar was forced to give up. The day before the settlement he claimed:

  • "The new [PETU] proposal is something "that council has not agreed to and will not agree to," Mayor Eddie Francis told reporters. While there was "always a chance" that talks could resume, Francis said the last offer the city made to the managers -- overwhelmingly rejected in a vote last month -- was "the best proposal that we had."

Does mini-Gord actually ever read his own newspaper’s stories?

These are words being put in CUPE’s mouth by mini-Gord:

  • “The decertification is also a terrible setback for CUPE, which had hoped to create a unified front for the next set of contract negotiations, pitting both hourly and most managers against taxpayers and city council in 2013.”

Professionals don’t want to join unions unless they have too. Sounds arrogant and it probably is. Mini-Gord forgot why this started:

  • “Fearing they are sitting ducks for cost-cutting targets at city hall, non-union municipal workers have hired a labour lawyer to consider organizing a bargaining unit over the city's attempts to reduce retirement benefits…

    But John Miceli, president of the Civic Association of Non Union Employees (CANUE), the group representing 270 mid-level managers and supervisors at city hall, said the proposed takeaway is a slippery slope that could lead to an avalanche of concessions.

    "We look at it as punitive because they can do what they want to do with us," Miceli said Friday. "We are vulnerable."

They were the ones who were to take the hit to lose PRBs first to be used as a precedent by Edgar.

Years of animosity have been created and hundreds of thousands of dollars have been wasted in fighting unionization because of the Mayor.

  • “It's been an expensive fight, with the city estimating its tab so far, just in outside lawyers, at more than $300,000 to keep another union from getting established at city hall.”

When this all started, PETU’s Miceli was right after all

  • "What happened at the OLRB is that (management) vigorously opposed us," said Miceli. "They will continue to and will use tax dollars to do so . . . At a time when departmental budgets are being cut, programs are in jeopardy and the real possibility of an increase in taxes is on the horizon . . . the strategy of the city to outspend our organization is unconscionable."

Too bad taxpayers lost again. Here are some key provisions as reported:

  • Similar wage increases to that won by CUPE at a taxpayer cost of $365,000 for last year and about $557,000 annually for 2010, increasing forever. Compounded over the work lifetime of a manager, the amounts are in the multi-millions.

  • "PETU argues about 400 of Windsor's almost 420 non-union city employees -- including engineers, planners, administrators and lawyers -- should be included in the new union." "The city has argued that as few as 20 employees would actually be eligible for membership." The deal allows "CANUE to increase its membership to 350 -- up from the previous cap of 240"

  • "Under the new agreement, if employees work overtime they will be permitted to choose whether they take time off or receive payment for their overtime hours" where before they got a flat-rate "extra week off per year in return for working the extra hours."

  • a formal mechanism for resolving disputes, which involves non-binding mediation.

Naw, mini-Gord is just spreading the wrong news.

  • “But what the heck did they expect from a council which faced down CUPE and won?”

He knows the hardliners lost on CUPE and now you know they lost with PETU too!

He has to say what he does because he said:

  • “The trouble now is, PETU will be negotiating in an election year. Any councillor condemning taxpayers to paying for public sector wage increases in perpetuity could see their seats at risk.”

He does not want to be responsible for all of the hardliners being turfed from office when the truth comes out if we have the Great debate.