Dear Mayor Hancock and Councillors Littell, Kinneman, Sless, Bucci, McCreary, Martin, Carpenter, Calnan, Bradford and Ceschi-Smith:
We are writing on behalf of over 500 Brantford city workers who provide vital public services to the residents of our city.
The unions representing public works, housing, welfare, libraries, water and hydro, city transportation and parks and recreation workers have formed a Labour Coalition to stand up to the City’s public positions against unionized workers and their collective agreements.
Collectively we are requesting that city leaders stop using the recession to target workers and our collective agreements. As city workers and long-time residents of our community, we are happy to work with senior elected officials and management to overcome this global economic downturn. But we will not participate in any actions that undermine the collective bargaining process including the City’s request to open up existing collective agreements.
We are fully aware of the global economic downturn that is affecting everyone. We remind you this global recession was not caused by workers. We expect the leaders of this city to show leadership and work with us to find innovative ways to overcome this downturn. Targeting unionized workers and undermining the collective bargaining process is simply a non starter and could set back labour relations for years to come.
As city workers and full-time residents of our community we know intimately the strength, vibrancy and the current and potential growth of City of Brantford. So it came as a surprise and disappointment when senior management shared the City’s ‘Economic Position and Budget Direction’ report with us.
We question the ‘doom and gloom’ picture the report tries to portray. This predominantly negative report seems to be missing important sections including current stimulus activities (such as the approved federal stimulus plan for the re-build of the Wayne Gretzky Arena and others that create local jobs) and a pro-active strategy by the City to combat this economic downturn. Surely a report of this nature should show a full and complete picture including jobs created in growth sectors and what the leaders plan to do to attract new investment to lead us out of this economic wilderness.
As public servants, we are happy to help senior leaders and work with management to outline the current growth in our diversified economy (a pro-active diversification strategy adopted by the City to combat the recession from the early 90’s) that is not identified in the report and help you find savings including bringing back many public services that have been contracted out to private companies that cost more to the city. This is an opportunity to bring these contracted services in-house so the city can have cost savings with more control and greater accountability over public services.
As requested by the City, we are in the process of identifying savings that will help the city finances and will be happy to share this with you once our report is completed.
In closing, this coalition is urging elected officials and senior management to work respectfully with city workers. As city workers begin negotiations on Monday, July 13, 2009 we expect a fair bargaining process that will lead us to fair collective settlements.
Working together, like we have done with our coalition, is the positive solution to move the City of Brantford forward.
The City of Brantford Labour Coalition
Phil Hotte, President of Amalgamated Transit Union 685
Ryan Hantz, Vice-President of International Brotherhood of Electrical (Power) 636
John Longo, President of International Brotherhood of Electrical (Water) 636
Jeff Van Wyk, President of CUPE 181
Jane Davidson, City Hall Unit Chair of CUPE 181
Angelo Mancini, Parks, Cemeteries and Recreation Unit Chair of CUPE 181
Glen Quackenbush, Public Works Unit Chair of CUPE 181
Karen Gamble, Library Unit Chair of CUPE 181
Shawn MacKeigan, Ontario Works Brant Unit Chair of CUPE 181
Anne Derosse, Housing Unit Chair of CUPE 181