I would like to update you on the status of labour negotiations between the City of Vancouver and its three CUPE locals. I know I speak for many of you in expressing my disappointment that CUPE decided to break off negotiations late yesterday.
According to our negotiating team, CUPE 15, CUPE 1004 and CUPE 391 were all offered a five year deal with pay increases of 16.5% over that period. The offer is within 1% of the District of North Vancouverâ€™s settlement, to balance CUPEâ€™s demand for increased benefits - and further to the 30% wage and benefit increase requested by CUPE last month.
CUPE ignored all wage and term offers by Vancouver negotiators during bargaining. Their negotiators have not moved on items such as costly benefit demands and language restricting the Cityâ€™s ability to provide services to Vancouver residents.
Vancouverâ€™s team made it clear to CUPE that we had more flexibility, as long as their other demands were reasonable. Not one of the CUPE locals responded with a counter offer.
Earlier today, Vision Vancouver Councillor Heather Deal said City Council should be reconvened to politically insert itself into the cityâ€™s bargaining process - with a view to increasing the City's offer to CUPE.
Councillor Suzanne Anton and I today confirmed that City Council will not interfere in the negotiations. This interference would damage the collective bargaining process, extend the length of the current labour dispute and cost taxpayers more money.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have taken the time to contact me with your kind words, considered advice and hundreds of messages of support during this difficult time for our city. This is echoed by the overwhelming response I am receiving from members of the general public I have talked to on the street or over the phone.
For me, leadership is about representing the interests of ALL taxpayers - not just a few. This principle has guided my approach during the current strike. In this case, leadership is about achieving a balance between paying our workers a fair wage and protecting the taxpayer's interest.
I will keep you posted on things as they progress. If you have friends or contacts that are talking to you about the strike, please feel free to forward this note to them.
For information on a list of services affected by the strike, visit www.vancouver.ca. A dedicated phone line, at 604-871-6999, also provides information to the public.
Thank you again for taking the time to read this update and I look forward to hearing your feedback.