Empty-handed: Paul Faoro gets nothing out of the council he helped pay for
Paul Faoro, the president of Vancouver's inside workers' union, CUPE 15, is having a really bad day. It is fair to say that Paul Faoro worked very, very hard to elect a city council that has just, ahem, had their way with him.
Described as "furious" by crack Georgia Straight reporter Carlito Pablo, Faoro sounded off after today's city council budget meeting, where the council decided to hold to a 2.26% budget increase, or a net increase for residential homeowners of 4.26%.
“This council has just endorsed the privatization of the farmyard,” Faoro rapid-fired. “This council has just endorsed the privatization of the conservatory. This council has just endorsed the cutting of library hours. This council has just endorsed the cutting of community-centre hours across our city. This council has just endorsed cuts to services that the public demand, like inspection services."
Faoro has good reason to be mad. Vision may have just thrown a significant monkey-wrench into his succession plans for CUPE boss Barry O'Neill, not to mention the loss of quite of few jobs (the equivalent of 177) for CUPE members.
Faoro threw all his organization's eggs into supporting Vision Vancouver, while ignoring COPE (who actually voted against the budget cuts). According to Vision Vancouver's 2008 campaign financial disclosure document, CUPE 15 gave $80,000 to their campaign, and Faoro himself coughed up a personal donation of about 700 bucks.
This is a major loss of face for CUPE 15 and their leader, who must at some point face his membership for re-election. Given the ugly mood felt by all City staff these days, Faoro must count himself lucky that election isn't taking place soon.
As we reported to our readers earlier, several cities such as Coquitlam and Edmonton chose to raise taxes a little higher than Vision Vancouver – about 5% compared to Vision's 2.26%. This avoided the kind of anxiety-inducing pain for civil servants in those cities that Vancouver is now grappling with.
Many questions are now being asked by Vision's supporters as to why they took such a hard line on spending, when during the 2008 election they promised to preserve and expand city services.
What we're seeing is the "Nixon in China" phenomenon, where a left wing organization conducts itself like a right wing one, knowing that their supporters will likely abide by their decision. Ironically, if this had been an NPA-led council, there is little chance they would have been able to cut this deeply.
For CUPE's Paul Faoro, he's just had a rock handed to him as a Christmas present by Vision. No doubt he'll be madly working the phones over the holidays trying to explain what just happened to his membership.
- Posted by Mike