Thursday, April 20, 2017

Nanaimo City Workers Wage Reality Check

I can hear the pro-union howls now "we are not engaging in a race to the bottom" will be the clarion call, whenever they are confronted with a wage reality check.

Not only are Nanaimo CUPE workers the highest paid union in Nanaimo, they are also amongst the most demanding when it comes to working 'conditions'. The recent move to automated garbage trucks at a cost of at least $10 million has zero benefits for Nanaimo taxpayers, and only questionable benefit to those employed in the garbage collection department, except for the fact it pretty much takes the 'work' out of the workplace. Driving a truck around for a few hours each day, playing with a joystick should be less financially rewarding than what is being paid for real work they are presently engaged in.

The city website posted CUPE agreement is the one which expired in Dec. 2013, so why we are four months into 2017 with this outdated agreement is another one of those mysteries. That said, the contract is available to view and the hourly rate for a Level 1 worker (which does not rise to the standard of labourer) starts at $24.14/hr. with 3 weeks vacation out of the gate.

In what universe does a job not rising to the standard of being a labourer warrant $24.14/hr.? In the world of Nanaimo city hall it does, thanks to the non-negotiated contracts signed by city councils with the approval of city managers.

City exempt staff will get a raise that is in lock-step with whatever is 'negotiated' for CUPE, so who, you may ask is actually bargaining on behalf of the taxpayer picking up the tab for these out-of-control wages?

CUPE Benefits Meager Compared With Senior Managers

Back in 2009 former city manager Mr. Jerry Berry demonstrated another example of how Nanaimo tax dollars are spent courtesy of city hall 'workers'.

You may recall Mr. Berry (according to press statements) simply wanted to leave early for undisclosed reasons and as a result of an employment contract (written by himself?) he was entitled to nearly $500,000 as a severance package and thank you for working at the highest paid job at city hall. If memory serves Mr. Berry's salary was in the quarter of a million dollar range.

On this blog back in 2010 I posed questions that have never been answered with any satisfaction and likely never will be. That can be seen HERE.

No Council Has The Nerve To Address Wages

It would not be expected that members of council who have accepted large sums of money from unions to actually engage in serious contract negotiations with CUPE. When you combine that with the fact that exempt staffers wage increases are tied to whatever increases CUPE 'negotiates' it is little wonder Nanaimo taxpayers are funding the richest pay packets in the city.

With over 80% of every tax dollar paying nothing but wages and benefits, it is little wonder we apparently did not have enough money left to pay for this past winter and it's effects on our roads.

It is noteworthy that in a recent financial report it lists expenses that have increased and decreased in the operation of the city by different items. The net effect is a shortfall of income of $1.4 million. Among a list of other items is the fact that the cost of wages and new positions accounts for an increase in spending of $1.3 million. You will note that attention is not drawn to this fact, but rather that we have some potholes that need fixing.

Given wage contracts that have been previously 'negotiated' the Nanaimo taxpayer is looking at an annual property tax increase of 1% before anything else happens, simply to cover the cost of wages at city hall.

Will this out of control cost centre ever be addressed by city councilors, especially those with strong union backing? Do pigs fly?


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