So, the City of Penticton gets the provincial and federal governments to come up with stimulus cash for a new community centre, then promptly lays off the existing centre’s staff so it can be gutted and rebuilt. The city then threatens the union that it will bring in a private operator to run the new place -who will use much cheaper non-unionized labour- unless the union agrees to a two-tiered wage system with new hires getting much less than existing employees, with the union members who actually ratify the deal getting a bit of a pay raise in the deal.
The union said no then gave in when the city agreed not to slash the wage as much as they initially wanted to. Instead of being cut 37 per cent, it’s only being cut 21 per cent. My guess is the new hires aren’t going to be big union supporters when they figure out what the deal is. Here’s the Globe and Mail story I wrote about it.
The City of course, doesn’t have much money and so is in a tight squeeze itself. But that’s because cities are having tons of responsibilities downloaded on them by senior level governments but without getting any additional revenue.
It’s a weird situation we have. Historically high levels of wealth (check out the number of millionaires and billionaires in Canada and the rest of the world), historically low levels of taxes, local governments that can’t afford to pay a living wage and an ever-widening gap between rich and poor with fewer and fewer people in between.