7.21.2009

rabble: city disinformation campaign turning public against striking workers

John Bonnar has an excellent piece on Rabble about the CUPE strike, and the misinformation - one might say disinformation - surrounding it. Well worth reading.
...Workers said they're upset about the misinformation that's been put out to the mainstream media by the Mayor's office. They told me that 416 and 79 had been budgeted to receive the same contract (with no concessions) as other city workers received this year, yet at the last minute the Mayor presented them with over 100 pages of takeaways. They don’t think it's right for the City to settle with other locals, increase councilor's pay and then turn around and say they can’t do the same for locals 416 and 79 because we’re in the midst of a recession.

For these workers, the issue is about fairness and equity. They want the same deal as everyone else: no more, no less.

As for the sick bank, everyone is entitled to 18 days a year that can be carried over. However, due to an arbitrated decision many years ago, the average number of sick days allowed is determined by the employer. The City allows its employees, on average, 12 days off in a year. But if employees exceed the 12 days, they can be reassigned, demoted or fired, even if they have 200 days in their sick bank.

Employees don't want to exceed the 12 days for fear of being placed in a City program, where they are monitored every three months for the next two years. As for the sick bank carryover, seriously sick employees have to wait six months before they can apply for long term disability. But you have to use up your entire sick bank first.

Once employees apply for long term disability, nine times out of ten the union has to get involved to fight on their behalf. There have been cases where employees had to wait up to 2 years before they received long term disability benefits. And the current contract offer doesn't give any short term disability before the long term benefits kick in. But with the current sick bank, employees get 100 per cent of their salary.

Miller's recent offer of a new short term disability plan might only provide an employee 75 per cent of his salary. Then he has to dip into his sick bank. Over a twenty or thirty year period, his sick bank could be depleted leaving the him with no payout upon retirement.

Full story here.

2 comments:

impudent strumpet said...

Sort of on topic, but I can't find the thread that this was originally from.

Before I was wondering when they say sick days aren't fully paid after the third (I think) day, do they mean third in a row or third in a year.

Based on this document from the CUPE 79 website (PDF) I think they mean in a year.

That made me think of last winter when I had this fever/cough thing and needed two sick days for it. It wasn't a huge deal, I didn't even go to the doctor because I felt better with each sleep, I just needed to stay home and sleep and hydrate so my immune system could fight it off.

But you don't want daycare or nursing home workers being in a position where they have a virus like that but come into work anyway because they can't afford the unpaid time off!

L-girl said...

Totally on topic, and very good point.