Union responds to Mayor’s letter

In advance of crucial vote, Union says final offer is inconsistent

  • Wed Aug 24th, 2016 8:00pm
  • News

I take issue with the Mayor of Kimberley’s statement regarding the unionized employees at the City of Kimberley. I also take issue with the final offer that was presented to the employees, but that’s a given since the Union didn’t negotiate it.

There are many, many inconsistencies in the document; things agreed-to at the table but that are not included in the final offer – an example of bad faith bargaining – articles that contradict one another and some out and out mistakes.

How do you expect the employees of the City of Kimberley to vote yes on a document that contains so many errors and omissions? Regardless of the union’s recommendation, why would they approve a document that contains out and out contradictions?

There are more than just the full-time employees at the City and to offer just the average full-time salary is disingenuous, at best. It doesn’t tell the whole story, but then again, that’s been the theme of this round of bargaining.

To say that the unionized staff at the City receive a “gold-plated” benefit package just simply isn’t true. It’s a pretty standard benefit package that is similar to many large employers in the East Kootenay. Similar to the Sawmills, mills and mines along with all of the municipalities in the area. I’ll also remind the mayor that the 17 managers and excluded staff also enjoy those benefits, and then some.

To say that the Job Evaluation system isn’t working is also just plain wrong. You say it doesn’t consider market comparisons with other municipalities and on some positions perhaps the negotiated rate is lower than other municipalities, but why is it that you cherry pick certain positions but others, like Lifeguards who are “below-market” or the trades, are “not sustainable.”  Lifeguards in Kimberley earn 20 and 23% less than those in Cranbrook, but I guess they aren’t as valuable as other positions you deem important to the City, even though those employees save lives for a living. Electricians? 11-15% lower. Welder, Mechanic? 4% lower. Equipment operators? 4.5%. Parks and Arenas? Kimberley is 2.3% higher but I guess that’s why you only offered them 1%.

My point, in case you still don’t get it, is that the taxpayers of Kimberley get good value from the unionized staff at the City. Some positions are higher; many, if not most, are lower than other municipalities. Cherry picking facts to support your argument is only self-serving. We’re ready to get back to the table and negotiate a fair deal. We’re also willing to deal with the City’s issues on an equitable basis.

Call your negotiator and get back to the table. Wait, you fired him. What’d that cost the taxpayers of Kimberley? Stop managing the City by threats and intimidation and let’s get back to the table and get a deal.

 

Jeff Bromley

United Steelworkers