Sisters and Brothers:
Once again it has been a great convention season. It is always such a pleasure and a privilege for me to visit activists in each region of the country and participate in convention debates and the development of action plans for the coming year. This year, of course, the debates take on a sharp edge as we head into one of the toughest bargaining climates CUPE members have seen for some time. All across the country provincial governments are bent on reducing deficits on the backs of public sector workers with wage restraints and program cuts. Yet, through the first half of 2010, we have had no strikes in CUPE. A remarkable feat, given the climate for bargaining. However, the bargaining realities are beginning to show up in our revenues.
In December, I reported to you that the economic climate of 2009 and 2010 would begin to have an impact on our revenue through 2010. We took this into account with our revenue projections prepared for the 2010 budget. We expected to continue to gain wage increases for our members, but the pace of increase was expected to slow down. The first quarter results are demonstrating that wages are still increasing on the whole, however, negotiations are taking much longer. We have protracted negotiations in many regions with a large number of our membership. As a result, our revenue performance for the first quarter of 2010 is under our budget projection. This may mark the beginning of a slowdown in wage growth.
Our budget for 2010 projected we would close the first quarter with a deficit of $1.6 million. However, we close the books on March 31 with a small surplus of $21,000. Even though we are under budget on revenues by $958,000, our spending is well under budget as well by $2.6 million. This is largely due to timing issues with Strengthening Divisions, Anti-Privatization and Elections Spending, which account for close to a million of the result. Each of these budget lines will be fully spent further into the year.
At the same time, we are under budget on salaries, due in part to a lower use of sick time than expected and the lag time in filling vacancies in the first three months of the year.