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Forum posts for Can we see details of civic workers deals?

Posted by Katie on Jul 23, 2009
fFrst of all, also not knowing all the details, I don't think the city is being fucking stupid. Their offers have been reasonable. What was stupid is that they ever allowed people to bank sick days in the first place. That practice almost never happens, even in unionized environments, anymore.

They may have offered a "anyone hired before x date will receive their banked sick days" or something like that, but basically the amount on the books is a huge dollar value. Something around $150 million is what I remember hearing. They can't really swallow paying that out.

What is also stupid is someone not saving for retirement and counting on banked sick days. What if they got sick for christ's sake? I don't think anyone really does that, and if they did, they're the idiots. I think this is just the union's way of trying to get the city dwellers on their side by making us feel bad for these workers.

What the union seems to be ignoring is that fiscally, what they're asking for is totally not responsible for the city to accept. And where I think this has all gone wrong is in the negotiations, or lack thereof, not necessarily in the city's stance on the terms they're willing to accept.

These are just my off the cuff, not well enough informed, thoughts. From Calgary. Where garbage is still picked up, but everything is really fucking expensive, and the whole downtown shuts down at 7pm. So count your blessings.

Posted by Nerhael on Jul 23, 2009
Yeah, but the city has to have been budgeting on that amount for the past 10's of years, or however long that policy has been in place. If they're hoping that they can just be all "Hey, lol, we decided to balance the budget by just not paying out any of those anymore ever!", that seems stupid. NO ONE will agree to that.

I'm not saying that having been given that deal wasn't the true stupidity, that's the most ridiculous policy I've ever heard. (I get 5 sick days a year, and they don't bank towards fucking anything.)

I'd just like to know who's being more bullheaded on this particular issue, as I bike past a few of the 'emergency dumps', and every time I spend time breathing that stink, I just get more angry.

Posted by phduffy on Jul 23, 2009

The union's not really 'asking' for anything, they just want what they already have.

Posted by mike on Jul 23, 2009
Can the city of Toronto actually afford to run itself without money from the Provincial and Federal government? I am under the impression that Toronto gets more money per resident that other municipalities. If that is the case they definitely need to get the unions to compromise.

Can the issue contracts to empty the temporary garbage depots? This might get them some additional leverage on the situation. It sucks that I am pretty sure that the city is going to have to cave in to the union within the next few weeks unless they can get/keep the public on their side. Stink and smell is a prety powerful negotiation tool.

At what point can Toronto start to contract out garbage pickup and other stuff to get a better handle on costs?

The problem I see with carrying forward sick days is that you get paid based on your level of pay at the time you take them. If I could work soemwhere for 10 years and get paid all my sick days at the end after getting a 3% raise every year I'd be foolish not to take that as an employee... I'd be even more foolish to give those terms as an employer. It is the same metality as banked time, banked time should be paid out either at the end of every year, or at the pay scale it was banked at. Why can't they just pay out unused sick days at the end of every fiscal year? The employees have nothing to complain about since they have their money, and the employer can accurately account for yearly costs.

Being in Toronto for 3 days I didn't really notice anything unusual... except for the bags of garbage and Seth and Trevor's place.

Posted by noodle on Jul 23, 2009
Being a city worker myself I can see the stupidity to both sides....well i don't entirely agree with the way the union representing the employees does things and i do think that there's no way that the general public will ever be on the side of the city workers because of the services they lose during times of strike, no radio ad is going to make someone feel sorry for them. I do think the city is trying to balance their budgets by taking money from their employees instead of from taxpayers.

We had this same issue when our contract came due and it was life unresolved as the city took it off the table in order for an agreement to be reached. However, our contract is due at the end of this year and i imagine once again it will be brought forward. The problem is if you keep the present system for current employees but eliminate it for all newly hired employees, down the road when the new employees under the new system out number those under they old they are more than likely to take away the pay out when it comes to contract negotiation.

That being said...Pete is right in that the city can't just up and decide to take everyone's sick days that have been accumulating for X amount of years (some guys i work with have excess of 400 days). Of all this banked time only a max of 240 days or 6 months wages will be paid out. The excess of those days are lost and the money for those along with the interest it has been collecting is kept by the city.

Also in terms of wage increases there are no performance based wage increases or bonuses seen in the private sector throughout the year and without a percentage yearly increase many workers receive no increase in pay during the course of a contract.

I hope this helps. I'll field any queries you may have to the best of my knowledge.

Posted by phduffy on Jul 23, 2009
Can the city of Toronto actually afford to run itself without money from the Provincial and Federal government? I am under the impression that Toronto gets more money per resident that other municipalities. If that is the case they definitely need to get the unions to compromise.

Not sure what this means, but Toronto is a massive contributor of tax dollars that it doesn't get back.

Posted by mike on Jul 24, 2009

The fantastic nature of your sport jacket has robbed me of any inclination to argue about this.

Also you have most likely forgotten more about math and taxes and government than I would ever care to know.