Rob Ford fights for Taxpayers: Lessons For Ottawa?


January 14, 2012


A 21 page document was leaked to the Globe and Mail detailing bargaining strategies and proposals insisting on over 40 concessions from the City Of Toronto’s public sector unions. The Globe refers to this as a “fundamental overhaul of the Municipalities relationship with its unions”.

Kevin MacDonald, President of OTAG (Ottawa Taxpayer Advocacy Group) wonders how soon we can expect this kind of language from Ottawa City Hall. “Here is proof that there is an appetite for taking control of our union troubles. Toronto accepts future work stoppages but feels it needs to reign in compensation costs. When can we expect this approach from City of Ottawa Brass?” said MacDonald


RE: Globe and Mail Article, Nov 9th


Quoting from the article :
Virtually all 48 articles in the current collective agreement are being targeted. The most contentious demands come under Article 28, covering "Employment Security and Redeployment," which guarantees that any permanent employee who loses a job due to contracting out, technological change or deletion of position will be redeployed somewhere else in the bureaucracy. The city proposal does not recommend an outright termination of Article 28.

But it does recommend eliminating a letter of agreement that requires the city to notify the union three months before contracting out any services. The city also wants to eliminate a letter that prevents the city from signing private-sector contracts that would result in job losses for permanent members of Local 416.


Other demands include the following:
1. Abolish $1-an-hour premium pay for night, afternoon and weekend shift work;
2. End a joint union/management health-and-safety forum;
3. Reduce a $750 tool allowance;
4. Cut leaves of absence for union work;
5. Terminate a joint union/management committee aimed at creating a "clean and beautiful City;"
6. Eliminate counseling benefits;
7. Remove the world 'handicap' from anti-discrimination clauses;
8. Trim minimum "standby" pay from three hours to one hour;
9. Delete rules concerning mandatory posting of vacant positions.


The union swapped proposals with the city of Toronto on Oct. 19. "It would put more control in the hands of management so we can achieve better efficiencies and lower costs for taxpayers," said Doug Holyday, chair of the Employee and Labour Relations Committee. "There are millions on the table here. We can save a lot of money by being more efficient with staff."

“Bravo to the folks in Toronto City hall “said MacDonald “Perhaps this wave of taxpayer angst will make its way to Mr. Watson’s office” MacDonald noted the cities willingness to take on $125 million in new debt and squander a $33 million windfall in 2011/12 cumulative uploading money. “ There is a direct correlation to employee compensation here, and it all comes out of the same pocket, Council needs to remove the proverbial elephant in the room if it truly has a shot at controlling employee compensation. There is a place at the table for our provincial and federal counterparts but they can’t be expected to help if our elected officials never ask them to. “


Speaking specifically about the ciies financial welfare MacDonald pointed south, “Just this week Birmingham Alabama filed for bankruptcy over a 4 billion dolar sewar project, the old rules don’t apply in this economy, there is no room for new debt. The 2012 budget shows the average compensation (salary + benefits) per person rising from $83,672 in 2011 to $87,582 in 2012, this is a rise of 4.6%, yet taxes are going up 2.39%, who will fund the difference?“

For more information contact:
Kevin MacDonald