Pow! CUPE 15's leadership say they're disappointed with Vision's 2010 city budget
Over the last several years, Vancouver' s CUPE leadership has been instrumental in helping the upstart Vision Vancouver party breakaway from COPE and set up shop on their own. Paul Faoro, CUPE 15 President has been at the helm of his union during this political transformation. Therefore, when Vision Vancouver decided to give big banks property tax breaks while at the same time cutting library funding, you can imagine there was a bit of consternation amongst the brothers and sisters at the union hall.
On Friday my colleague Mike Klassen wrote a great piece about how Paul Faoro was having a bad day after the civic budget was passed by a vote of 8-2. The budget cut at least 150 full time equivalent positions while at the same time increasing residential taxes by 4.26% (a total of 12% over two years). In response, Faoro is now swinging back at his critics who think he's been too soft on the Vision council he helped to elect only a year ago. In a stinging open letter to his membership, the union president alleges that Vision Vancouver simply ignored the public feedback it received through the budget consultation process. He states:
City Council chose to ignore all of the citizens and organizations, including civic unions they heard from during their consultation.
It would appear that relations between Vision Vancouver's new City Manager and its unions is sinking fast. According to Faoro, he has filed a formal complaint against the City with the BC Labour Relations Board:
To date our union has not received any specific details from the employer on impacted positions. Over the last several months we have attempted on numerous occasions to get this information but the employer has refused to provide it. As a result our union filed a complaint at the BC Labour Relations Board under Section 53/54 called a joint consultation and adjustment plan, in order to force the employer to come to the table and provide us with full details on exactly where these cuts are happening and who is impacted.
It's hard to tell if this is just a letter from a desperate union politician trying to save his bacon by talking tough, or whether this is a legitimate fight between Vision and CUPE. Our best guess is this remains more of a pillow fight than all out nuclear war. After all, who else will CUPE support in the next election - COPE? The NPA?
Over the last several days, our blog has been inundated with people emailing us about how upset they are with both City Manager Penny Ballem and Paul Faoro over their handling of the civic budget. The city's management are fuming they've had their pay cut, while unionized workers are upset their colleagues are going to be laid off while the union remained almost silent. There are dozens of comments on several posts which outline some of that frustration.
As for the stress that both the upcoming Olympic Games and pending layoffs are having on his members, Faoro stated in the letter:
No gold medals for this. We expect better from the new City Manager and City Council.
Ouch...even a good smack with a down-filled pillow can pack a punch.
- Post by Daniel