Update on the CUPE labour strike

Further to previous notices, I am writing to update you on the CUPE labour strike. While Council was hoping for labour peace by Labour Day, I am disappointed to report that CUPE 15 rejected the two recent offers put forward by the City of Vancouver.
You will recall that these offers reflected the same terms and conditions that successfully brought down picket lines in North Vancouver.
As we enter the 7th week of this CUPE strike, I wanted to share with you some new information which has now been posted by the City’s negotiating team on our website (www.vancouver.ca).

The fact sheets provide the public with the latest information on the following six outstanding issues pertaining to the CUPE strike:

  • No Layoffs
  • Seniority vs Merit
  • Olympic Partnership Agreement
  • Whistleblower Policy
  • Job Classification
  • Attraction and Retention of employees

I want to re-affirm my commitment that regardless of personal attacks on my home or political attacks from my opponents, I will not abandon the taxpayers’ interests.
A significant number of enquiries have been made on what the cost to taxpayers (both residential and business) will be if the City and union were to agree to the regional mandate of 17.5% wage increase over five years. In reality, this translates into a compounded wage increase of 18.7%.
According to Councillor Peter Ladner, Chair of City Services and Budgets Committee, if we do not adjust service levels and simply pass along the 18.7% wage increase as new property taxes, the implications will be as follows:

  • By 2011, the average business owner in the City of Vancouver will face a cumulative increase in their property taxes of $3290 while the average residential homeowner tax bill will rise by $303.
  • Had the City negotiators accepted an earlier proposal by CUPE, this would have translated into a $400 increase in taxes to residential homeowners in Vancouver. For business owners, the property tax increase would have been $4300.

In addition, a number of you have asked me to clarify whether Vancouver is the last municipality to sign a collective agreement with our CUPE locals. I can report that the following jurisdictions have not yet signed a collective agreement — Coquitlam, Langley City, Langley Township, Lions Bay, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, Pitt Meadows and the GVRD.
With school back in session, I fully understand that the CUPE strike is impacting families across our City. In particular, I know that the strike has been challenging for our seniors and youth. Supporting our GVRD/Vancouver negotiating team who are seeking a fair, balanced and affordable resolution to this strike has been a top priority for me over the last seven weeks. Like you, I want to see the CUPE strike end as soon as possible.
My thoughts are with you, and the thousands of employees who are without pay, as we move toward resolution of this labour dispute.