Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Deal reached in civic workers strike

It has to be ratified by the members and voted on by Council, but a deal has been struck featuring a compromise on the issue of employee sick time.

It has been reported that the deal ends the previous system of accumulated sick time, and apparently offers instead the choice of an immediate payout, or the ability to hold onto currently banked time until retirement. A short-term disability scheme will replace the current sick day system.

Yesterday, Mark Ferguson, president of CUPE Local 416, made a statement saying Union negotiators fought back all the concessions the City demanded. This was a very puzzling statement given the details that have begun to emerge this morning. Reports this morning say that with this deal there will be no more accumulation of days. In other words, the City has ended the practice of accumulating sick days, but has ended it at a substantial cost.

I haven't seen all the details, but looking at the reports in the morning papers, I would call this a generous compromise. I think CUPE has negotiated as much benefit as they were likely to get out of giving up the old sick day system. The City made the substantial structural change they were looking for, but the cost was high. It's too bad it took a 36 day strike to reach a compromise, but I think this is better than a legislated settlement by far. The mess will be cleaned up quickly and residents will get over it quickly.


Candy Minx said...

Very sad day.

The sick days accumulated benefits was an amazing and innovative program to reduce abused absenteeism. It was effective and saved companies and institutions a LOT of money overall.

Everyone's work atmosphere will suffer from this backward archaic step.

mister anchovy said...

18 bankable sick days with the possibility of cashing out 6 months worth on retirement is hardly what I would call a program to reduce abused absenteeism. I respect that CUPE had negotiated it, and well, good for them, and like you say, everyone should have lots of sick days, but if it was a program to reduce abused absenteeism, it wasn't a very good one. I doubt they even tried to sell it that way.

That said, some of the civic workers will call it a big loss, even though the leader of the union called it a big win. I can understand how those workers feel. They had negotiated a sweet deal and now it is gone. Still, they are getting really great payouts. I think a lot of people would want a bit of that action. They're getting a great payout + a sound disability program.

I think the union did as well as they were likely to do out of that strike, and I was frankly surprised they did that well, considering they were out for so long. Perhaps the city was trying to protect what is now called Scotiabank Caribana.