Support the Metro Vancouver Labour Bargaining Unit, says North Van

Post by Mike Klassen in


north van
That little red area is where we're seeing regional leadership coming from

We're finally starting to see some real leadership coming from Metro Vancouver cities, and it's coming from the North Shore. The City of North Vancouver passed a motion during last week's city council meeting to begin urging other cities to either stay or re-engage in the Metro Vancouver Labour Relations Bureau. The MVLRB is the only tool that allows cities to combine their approach to the collective agreements with the region's powerful CUPE union leadership.

The North Shore News reported comments from North Van's Coun. Rod Clark, who put the motion forward:

The bureau was formed, said Clark, to avoid "whipsawing," where one municipality settles a deal with one of the public sector unions and that deal ratchets up the standard for the next city's negotiations, and so on.

"The trade unions are very well organized," Clark told his colleagues, "and they present a very common front at the negotiation table. . . . Why can't the management side, essentially the municipalities, be that organized?" has done repeated stories about this issue. We described CUPE's investment in Vision Vancouver as money very well spent given the fact that in one of his first acts as city councillor, Geoff Meggs moved to have Vancouver pull itself out of the MVLRB. Meggs used the cost as an excuse in what appeared to be a bald-faced payback to his brothers and sisters in the labour movement. The City didn't consider finding ways of renegotiating those costs, as the North Van council suggests should happen.

Clark said he hadn't gotten a straight answer as to why several of Metro's largest communities were abandoning the bureau, although he suspects that the costs -- Vancouver pays roughly $800,000 to participate -- are likely driving them away. A new cost structure might be needed to stop the bleeding, he said.

Rod Clark isn't naive. He probably realizes that it is the influence of unions which has cities pulling back from the MVLRB. The collective agreements settled in 2007 around the region will likely begin bargaining in 2011, in the months prior to the November municipal elections. It's unlikely given the chaotic nature of election time that the issue of union collective agreements will become campaign issues.

What will happen in 2012, though, is that CUPE will now have Metro cities over a barrell, especially after Vancouver's abandonment of the MVLRB. And we can thank Vision Vancouver for that inevitable region-wide property tax spike that will ensue.

Vancouver area voters and the NPA should voice their support for the real leadership we're seeing from the City of North Vancouver. Kudos to Councillor Clark and Mayor Darrell Mussatto for speaking up.

- post by Mike


So CSIS is worried that foreign governments have too much influence on some elected city councillors. I think that it is the influence that the public sector Trade Unions have on municipal government that poses the much greater risk.

Yeah, the risk that workers maintain a good standard of living where they take those wages that they have laboured and bargained for and spend that remuneration in communities on housing, transportation, goods and services which in turn stimulates the economy furthering the economic cycle. This of course benefits the tax payers because those dollars then return to their business and industry.
If you believe that CSIS should be watching labour unions, then CSIS should just as much be keeping an eye on corporations and the influence and they have over municipal, provincial, and federal governments.

Seems like a ploy to weaken the unions to me.

Toowoozy - "bargained"? Do you mean the process where the trade unions "negotiate" with the same people they spent a ton of dough to get elected? Sorry, most people would rather spend their own money in their communities rather than give it to a pampered public sector union member who wouldn't have a hope of getting the same compensation in the private sector - union or non-union. Besides, if your economic model had any validity, Greece would be the powerhouse of Europe instead of a basketcase.

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