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VANCOUVER – Councilor Ladner chose this day – the first of bargaining in over a month, the first day of hope for Vancouverites and CUPE members that an end to the strike may be in sight – to submit a vitriolic column in the Vancouver Sun that regurgitates the City’s discredited propaganda and continues the myth of a City council protecting residents from their city workers.

Our first reaction was to excuse Councilor Ladner, thinking there was a possibility he was not being accurately informed by staff. But then we remembered that he, along with all of City Council and Metro Vancouver Labour Relations Bureau politicians, was a recipient of our September 4th letter titled “Union key issues ‘negotiable’ everywhere, why not in Vancouver?”

This letter explained in detail the issues between CUPE 15 and the City and showed how CUPE 15’s counter-proposal was within the regional settlement pattern and negotiable. It also urged Vancouver politicians to avoid mean-spirited public comment, such as Mayor Sullivan’s communiqué that day, as “it only serves to separate the two parties” and create negative feelings that make settlement more difficult.

The letter even specifically addressed Ladner’s attempt to pit Vancouver residents against their city workers: “Citing Councilor Peter Ladner, the communiqué speculates on what taxpayers may expect as a potential tax increase related to the 17.5% wage and 5 year term agreed to in municipalities throughout the region. The City of Vancouver is in the strongest fiscal health in memory, is racking up annual surpluses and has huge reserves. Like the other neighbouring municipalities that have settled already, Vancouver has numerous options to deal with the costs of compensating its employees and need not necessarily increase property taxes in the way the Mayor’s communiqué describes. We note that the City this year made the choice to increase residential property taxes by 8% to pay for a freeze in business tax rates. Please find enclosed a CUPE fact sheet on the fiscal health of the City of Vancouver.”

CUPE asked City Manager Judy Rogers on Friday to work together with us to negotiate a fair settlement and bring an end to this strike and she responded with a letter calling all three locals to the table this week.

Step out of the way Ladner and let negotiators on both sides do their job.

- Paul Faoro, CUPE 15 President