As you are likely aware, our employees voted down the City’s “final offer” which included a 10% pay increase and no reduction in benefits or job security.
Of the City’s 3500 inside workers, 48% either voted against the strike or didn’t vote at all. Only 52% of our total workforce took the time to vote for a strike. It is very significant how low the turnout was considering how important an issue this was to the union leadership.
Given that limited job action has commenced, I want to advise you that I have instructed our City Manager to begin with the implementation of our contingency plan.
The contingency plan will ensure that as many essential municipal services continue operating during labour action.
In the coming days, the City of Vancouver will be publishing a list of services that Vancouver residents can expect to continue during labour action. The following is a list of priority services that the City will work to maintain:
- police & fire services
- water, sewer & street work emergencies
- essential social services — including city operated residences, lodges, the Gathering Place & Carnegie Centre
- Pride Parade, downtown fireworks & other special events
- Stanley Park remaining open
- street use permits
- revenue services & grant payments
- Playhouse Theatre
- parking enforcement & collections
In the event of increased labour action, Vancouver residents can expect reduced services related to some special events, park washrooms and garbage collection, permit applications and new animal control license applications.
The City of Vancouver will also publish a list of services that are not expected to be available to residents during a labour action. This is likely to include new building permit applications, sewer, street and water main construction, Queen Elizabeth and Orpheum Theatres and residential garbage collection.
I would encourage everyone in the City to do their part during this labour disruption and reduce the impact on our city. This means implementing measures that will also help our environment such as composting and reducing the overall amount of garbage produced. These are concepts that we are all very familiar with, but can play a role in keeping our City safer and cleaner during a labour disruption.
I know many of you, including City employees, have written and called my office asking what the union leaders are demanding from the City. I have been advised by our negotiating team that they have demanded a wage increase of 18%. This is an extraordinary demand that goes well beyond what the City can afford and is out of sync with the wage increases taxpayers are receiving throughout the Metro Vancouver Region.
The union leaders have also demanded a contract that would give them the right to strike during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
In that regard, it is worth noting that provincial public service employees all agreed to extend their collective agreements beyond the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games to ensure labour peace. I simply don’t believe a majority of Metro Vancouver residents feel it is in our City’s best interest to facilitate a strike during the largest event ever held in our region.
Once again, I want to thank the hundreds of residents who have been emailing and calling me over the last few days outlining your support for the City’s position. Although I cannot respond directly to each email, I am personally reviewing the correspondence.
As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns at email@example.com. Please forward a link to my website to anyone you might think this information will be useful.
For the latest information on the labour disruption please visit www.vancouver.ca. In addition a hotline number is being established and will be communicated to the public by the end of the day.