Friday, 31 July 2009

Toronto Mayor David Miller Did An Excellent Job Handling The Strike

The Toronto Star, The Globe & Mail and the National Post have gone all out to attack Toronto Mayor David Miller's handling of the strike and of the deal he reached with the unions. They claim that he caved in and gave the unions what they wanted from the beginning. If not directly saying that he failed, they put a negative spin on his name and his achievements regarding the strike.

However, he was very successful in his handling of the strike and of the deal finally reached.
He set up temporary dump sites all over the city right away.
He got injunctions against strikers right away if they caused undue delays (so they couldn't keep on delaying people at those sites).
He organized existing management staff to work on keeping the streets and parks as clean as possible.
And, regarding the deal, he managed to get it so the banking of sick days will be phased out - this will save the city millions of dollars.

The unions wanted to completely keep on banking sick days. The city wanted to get rid of the banking of sick days. A compromise was reached to phase the banking of sick days out. This is about as fair a deal as could be reached. And, that's what you end up getting when you negotiate - a bit of give and take - a compromise.

The MSM seem to think that he should have been able to get rid of the banking of sick days all at once. This would have been very unfair to the workers, and impossible to get through the negotiations during the strike. And, it would have been impossible to get if the mayor had got the Province to legislate the workers back to work. If this had happened, the negotiations would have gone to binding arbitration. And with this, the unions always get a better deal - they most likely would have kept the banking of sick days completely.

So, what would you have preferred - a harder approach by the mayor, resulting in either the strike going on for months (and getting no better of a deal than we got), or back to work legislation sending the workers back to work and binding arbitration with no change in the banking of sick days,
The deal we got with the phasing out of banking of sick days?

All in all I would say Well Done David Miller!

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Banked Sick Days Frozen, Toronto To Save $Millions (MSM Misleads Public In Toronto On Issue of Banked Sick Days) | GTA | Banked sick days in city offer
The title, todays poll on the Star's site, and the article seems to stress the point that workers will continue to bank sick days. This is very misleading.
In the article, you can see that new workers will not be able to bank sick days and that current workers will have their banking of sick days frozen to what they have already. This means that they will no longer be able to bank any more sick days from here on. The Star reported on the freeze of sick days yesterday as well

Here is the quote from the article:
New employees will not have the option of banking unused sick days. Current employees can cash out their banked days at a discount and move into a new short-term disability plan, or may have their sick bank frozen to draw on for days that may not be covered by the new plan.

And the Globe and Mail completely leaves out this point and claims that they can continue to accrue credits

The MSM has been attacking the unions stance and the mayor David Miller's handling of the issue from day one. They don't like the mayor and they would like to see a more conservative person in the mayor position. So, they are doing all they can to smear the current mayor. But, he has done a good job in handling the strike. The city has been far cleaner than during the last summer garbage workers strike (which went on for a shorter period). And, the city has managed to stop the workers from continuing to bank new sick days - which is what the city wanted all along. This will save Toronto millions of dollars.
The headline, more realistically should have been Banked Sick Days Frozen, Toronto To Save $Millions

Okay, so the details are finally released.

Current employees can either continue to collect and bank sick days (the collecting is not frozen at this point for these people, contrary to what was reported in the Toronto Star over the past 2 days)
They can cash what they have in now and switch to the new short-term plan (which does not include banking sick days)

New employees will be enrolled in the short-term sick leave plan and will not be able to bank sick days.

Here is a link to the agreement.

Still, this phases out the banking of sick days and it seems like a number of current employees will opt for cashing out and joining the short-term plan.

Prior to the strike, the unions did not offer this, nor, would they agree. If the strike had gone to binding arbitration (like, if the workers were legislated back to work by the province - which probably would have happened with a more conservative mayor), the city would not have gained this phasing out of sick day banking, but would have been stuck with it for all employees, current and new.

So, hats off to Miller and his team for accomplishing this phase out for the city.