Feathers flying in CUPE/Vision pillow fight

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


pillow fight!
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


Yadda yadda yadda...

Unions, politicians, BS.

Merry Christmas.

More proof that Faoro has to resign. His inaction is costing us jobs and money. Why did it take him so long to speak out? Is there such a thing as recall legislation for labour politicians?

Did Faoro really think that just because he backed a peticular political party, he would get his way when they were elected? That would be a rookie mistake. His (CUPE) time and money would have been better spend on buying himself a membership at Hollyhock. Then, he may have more influence on the current Mayor and Council.

Seems to me Ballem is simply acting on the findings of a core services review, cutting out fat in the ranks at City Hall. Ironically, she is doing the trimming that the NPA should have done. Point for Ballem.

Where in the Vision platform does it say they were runing on "cutting out fat in the ranks at City Hall"? I had a read below and can't find it?


Don't worry. Be happy. At the end of the day Visionista Mayor Moonbeam will come to the rescue.

As the subject of this post suggests, this is a pillow fight. Each side is pretending to take swings at each other for PR effect.

There will be no layoffs. The plan is for headcount reduction of 170. Annual staff turnover is at least twice that. Just by not replacing half the people who leave, the reduction is achieved.

To repeat: there will be no layoffs. This is all for PR effect.

With this much blood being drawn, now it's clear why a Hematologist was hired to fill the role of CoV CAO.

I will file his complaint under B-O-O, H-O-O

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