How our unionized city workers are sucking up our tax dollars

Posted May 5, 2014

For eight years we have seen the Farbridge team inflict neo-socialist policies on unsuspecting citizens. It’s no secret that the actions of this administration have been taken right out of the New Democratic Party playbook. In fact, one of the chief architects of the 2006 Farbridge victory was James Gordon who happens to be the NDP candidate in the June 12th provincial election.He ran third in 2011.

Number one issue is with more than 2,100 full-time employees, 80 per cent are unionized. The role of the unions in Canada is to establish unlimited security for all members through the collective bargaining system.

On paper that’s a credible goal. It is just as it was 80 years ago when unions forced employers to pay fair wages for work, provide better working conditions, provide health care and secure their old age. Those were hard earned victories.

That was then and this is today. In the past eight years, the provincial government has sat back and allowed the labour unions to achieve pay goals and working conditions never dreamed of before.

This is a development that runs the gamut of provincial, municipal and educationa; employees.

Now we have many Guelph public workers earning more than $100,000 a year, (in Guelph the city had 200 in that category in 2013 while the University has 730 earning more than $100,000 a year). Throw in the luxurious benefit packages and the result is runaway costs to the taxpayers.

As one observer noted: “We are paying $100,000 to workers in jobs that don’t qualify for $100,000.”

The most infamous in Guelph was the hiring of a custodian for city hall at a starting salary of $70,000 plus benefits. Yet childcare workers are lucky to earn $20,000 a year.

The union compensation benefits include sick leave (if unused it is cumulative), overtime, medical and dental coverage, taxpayer supported pensions, free parking, plus 19 other benefits offered to employees who work for the city.

How did this happen over the years?

The Liberal government through its labour legislation opened the door to mediation and arbitration services that were overly generous in their awards and provided a lucrative opportunity for lawyers specializing in labour law.

Enter the law of compounding and exacerbating growth of employee costs.

In eight years, the number of Guelph full-time employees has increased by more than 450 or 21.4 per cent. The population growth of the city is estimated to be 6.3 per cent.

The growth rate of remuneration among all city employees, including the management staff who belong to an association has grown by 32 per cent even during the five years of the deepest recession since the great depression of the ‘30’s.

Ask yourself. Did you receive a 32 percent increase in your job during those years? Did your pensions increase by 3 per cent compounded per year? Did you pay more for food, essentials such as hydro, water, taxes, clothing, repairs and maintenance?

Yet you are the same people who pay those salaries and wages plus benefits to city employees.

Most of us have slipped behind as wages and pension were either frozen or indexed to the Consumer Price Index.

But not our employees toiling in city hall. Police, fire and in EMS facilities escaped the big freeze that started in 2008. Their contracts ignored the fallout of the last six years of economic recession.

So when your city continues to escalate property taxes by more than 3.75 per cent on average per year, and increases user fees and other city benefits, you now know who is the beneficiary, our employees.

They are shielded by aggressive collective agreements.

The bottom line is the Farbridge future as Mayor is dependent on these same unionists who have supported her last two campaigns with election workers and money.

Keep that in mind when you go to the polls October 27.





Filed under Between the Lines

2 responses to “How our unionized city workers are sucking up our tax dollars


    Readers of this blog would do well to read Ms.Sue-Ann Levy’s article “A NUMBERS GAME” in today’s “The Toronto Sun”.There seems to be a parallel between what’s afoot in GUELPH and what occured in TORONTO under the Miller regime(did I not read that he’s either been or will be in GUELPH spreading his gospel of municipal socialism?).We can only hope that the GRG petition gets more attention.

  2. Mary Heyens

    David, can you please post a link to Sue-Ann Levy’s article, “A Numbers Game”?

    I did read Sue-Ann Levy’s May 5th article, “Taking a second look at Mayor Rob Ford’s fiscal record”.

    “Then there’s that special garbage levy, which we did not see reflected in the review either. Solid waste was deliberately taken off the property tax in 2007 so Miller could charge residents extra to help pay for the $57-million it cost yearly for his new brontosaurus bins and other solid waste goodies. At the time, then-councillor Case Ootes said that was an “equivalent hidden tax” of 4%

    Farbridge regime, Miller regime: tax-and-spendaholics

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