This past weekend, both the Vancouver Sun and The Province published large advertisements from the City of Vancouver outlining the City’s position on the current strike. The ad in Saturday’s Sun took up half of page A17, while the identical ad in Sunday’s Province encompassed an entire page (also page A17).
Without addressing the costs involved in publishing full and half-page ads in the weekend editions of daily newspapers (an expense covered by the taxpayer), the advertisement itself contains a number of misleading and inaccurate points.
Under the heading “Current City of Vancouver Benefits”, the City suggests that statutory holidays are provided by the City as benefits to its employees when in fact the majority of these holidays are mandated by Provincial legislation.
The ad also suggests that “compressed work week days off” are extra days off (with pay). In fact, staff on compressed schedules work the equivalent hours of non-compressed staff fully covering their schedules in advance of their fortnightly day off.
Under the heading “Key Issues”, the City suggests that CUPE’s opposition to contracting out and layoffs and its insistence on factoring seniority into hiring practices are demands specific to this round of contract negotiations. Protecting members from layoffs and insisting on fair play in hiring practices are fundamental principles to the union movement, which no bargaining unit would willingly surrender.
However, all is not doom and gloom in the media. There is also positive news on a couple of fronts. The Tyee (http://thetyee.ca/) released a story this morning outlining the issues surrounding CUPE 391’s struggle for pay equity (for the full story see http://thetyee.ca/News/2007/08/20/LibraryStrike/). The article makes references to the research outlining how the Library’s wages have fallen behind other those in other municipal and library sectors.
In addition, Saturday’s Globe & Mail ran a story by Laura Drake addressing the issue of the Ipsos Reid poll commissioned by City, partial results of which appeared in Friday’s Province. The article notes the controversies surrounding the poll, particularly the disputes about costs, and mentions one poll participant who maintains that she was asked directly whether she supported the Union or the City. (For the full story, click here).