Monday, July 14, 2008

The monkeys on the back

With hardly a moment's pause after ratifying a new three-year contract last week guaranteeing wage increases of 2.75 per cent this year and next and 2.5 per cent the following year, London's CUPE Local 101 inside workers union was warning the City that it is going to have a lot of work on its hands repairing labour relations — this despite the City having caved on its apparently contentious demand that the union drop grievances filed against administration's extraordinarily timid and insubstantial moves to curb an absenteeism rate of 19.4 days per municipal employee per year.

The threats contained in such warnings are as vague and irremediable as the inexhaustible complaints of public service unions, but they are a source of boundless opportunism when addressed to an administration dependent for its prestige and salaries upon a bloated municipal workforce. Fortunately for the rest of us, the significance of inside workers does not assume the proportions of bureaucratic and political self-interest even if we must bear the cost. Thus the solution to a permanent state of profitable union grievance arrives: tear up the contracts and out-source whatever is left of any necessary work to which inside workers might ever get around. They need the salary, pension and early retirement benefits of municipal make-work projects far more than we need them — a fact that our representatives might recognize were they not so dependent on administration to tell them what to think.

In contrast, union workers at 3M Canada were reported on the same day to have agreed to wage freezes over the next year to protect jobs during Ontario's economic slowdown. Municipal workers, on the other hand, have nothing to fear from hard times … and everything to gain from the same kind of people that do.


Joel said...

Does anyone have more information on how absenteeism is tracked within the Corporation of the City of London? What form of absence makes up this rate?

MapMaster said...

If I recall correctly, there's some information in this pdf.

NIAC said...

That PDF link is in your favourites, isnt' it.

(Note, there is no question mark at the end of that 'question', LOL.)