Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Monday, February 22, 2010

Does Edgar Need An Epidural

There is no doubt that Edgar (aka Eddie) needs major medical assistance. No not for freakingoutitis but how to negotiate labour deals with our Unions.

Heck, he needs an epidural! No, considering how many labour issues he has, a continuous epidural

I was going to suggest that fellow Council Member Ken Lewenza Jr. might teach Edgar a thing or two. He was involved in the WUC and Transit Windsor negotiations and they settled without a strike. However, knowing Edgar, he would not even consider that from a mere Councillor.

So I thought he might want to get help from a CEO, Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj. He is a pretty tough guy when it comes to labour negotiating. Remember this article he wrote in the Star on November 14:
  • "Typical with other health care institutions across the province, wages and benefits at Windsor Regional total approximately 65 per cent of its operating budget. With declining provincial revenues, pressure to address health care spending is acute.

    Of the 3,000 employees at WRH, 93 per cent are members of a bargaining unit...

    At a minimum, we need an immediate wage and benefit freeze for health care workers and/or clear language in HLDA that prohibits arbitrators from awarding wage and benefit increases greater than the funding increases provided to the health care institution from the provincial government."

That was very much like Edgar's NetZero position wasn't it that the hardliners tried to force CUPE to accept. Remember, no wage increases resulting in a 101 day strike with the Union ultimately getting increases that cost the City more than if they settled early on.

What he said was "fighting words" you would think. Subsequently we learned, to cut costs:

  • "He [Musyj] noted the hospital embarked on a zero-based budgeting exercise this year..

    Musyj said they have been gathering input from staff on operational efficiencies and have been comparing Windsor Regional's practices with other hospitals in the province of similar size.

    "We've compared program by program," said Musyj. "We benchmark ourselves to make sure we're in the top 25 per cent."

    He said when staff uncover methods to improve the process in a cost-efficient manner, they replicate the process at Windsor Regional...

    But, he said, the hospital does not want to unfairly spread the impact on the nine bargaining units at the hospital.

    "We don't want to be in a situation where we give a two per cent increase to Peter but have to lay off Paul, and cut patient services,"

Hmmm, let me money by improving operations and try to treat ALL employees fairly to minimize layoffs in one group only. That seems like a novel approach. One the City would never consider .

Then the union jumped in and things got a bit hot, especially when the Star was attacked too:

  • "It was no surprise to see The Windsor Star editorial supporting the position of Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj in his mission to freeze wages and benefits of front-line health care workers.

    Mr. Musyj has made his opinion a very clear and public matter, yet not one single letter to the editor has been printed in support of his position.

    This would strongly suggest that The Star did not receive any letters supporting Mr. Musyj's position, so they took it upon themselves to provide one.

    After all, attacking public service workers became an acceptable practice in 2009, with record unemployment rates making a community ripe to turn on each other."

Imagine, suggesting that the paper was one-sided in its approach. How shocking! What a nerve! Next thing the Unions might say is that the Star did not cover a Councillor Ward meeting that showed that our Mayor and the hardliners failed in how they negotiated in the strike. Believe it or not, some Columnists might be allowed to claim that Edgar won.

What was the result with such diametrically opposed views? What labour disturbances did they have since they are not allowed to strike...It seems none and they reached a DEAL:

  • "Windsor Regional Hospital reaches labour deal

    It was a good day for Windsor Regional Hospital and its CEO David Musyj, even though he took about 30 pies in the face.

    The hospital board on Thursday ratified a tentative deal with two of three CAW units, comprising almost 600 of its 2,700 unionized employees, in the midst of tightening provincial funding.

    The proposed one-year deal with CAW union Local 2458 — which represents housekeeping, food and nutrition workers, as well as plumbers and electricians — represents the current year, expiring March 31. CAW members must still ratify the deal next week...

    “We give the CAW credit for recognizing that we can’t go beyond the one-year, 2009 settlement because we do not yet know what our funding for 2010 will be,” board chairman Mike Ray said. “So the fact that they have taken that into consideration speaks very highly of them.”

    Normally hospital contracts last two or three years. But the two sides went for a one-year deal, which in essence took only a matter of weeks to negotiate."

Is there a reason that the Hospital could arive at a settlement within weeks but the City could not until after a 101 day strike? Is there a reason why CAW trusted Hospital managment but clearly, CUPE did not trust Edgar?

Lewenze got a deal with no strike, Musyj got one too but Edgar had a 101 day strike, had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars with PETU, is still in negotiations with firefighters after a 3 year "interim" arbitrated award and now has to hire an outside lawyer for police negtiations.

A short stay for Edgar at Windsor Regional with CEO Musyj might just be what the doctor, and taxpayers, should order. I am sure that the last thing that Edgar needs should be labour pains.