COURTENAY—Last night, the city workers of Courtenay, represented by CUPE 556, voted 92 per cent to strike for fairness and respect on the job. Despite huge budget surpluses, exorbitant managerial wages and substantial boosts to private contractor pay, the city workers are frustrated by the employer’s argument that they cannot afford to properly compensate city workers.
“Everyone deserves a fair share,” says Melissa Moroz, CUPE National representative and negotiator for CUPE 556. “City workers are a proud part of what makes Courtenay work and it only makes sense that they should also be fairly compensated during a time of large budget surpluses and rising costs of living.”
CUPE 556 has produced and is distributing a list of Financial Facts about the City of Courtenay to help dispel the employer’s argument that the refusal to offer a fair contract and support public services is driven by financial concerns. Some interesting facts include:
- In 2010, the actual budget surplus was $3.6 million, almost $2 million more than projected.
- Garbage and recycling fees to the public have been increased (5.4 per cent since 2010) to profit the private contractor doing collection (Emterra).
- Senior staff are compensated generously (Administrator, $170,167 in 2009 with almost $10,000 in additional expenses) and a disproportionate amount of wage increases go to staff making over $75,000 a year.
- The 2011 budget once again forecasts a surplus of $1.93 million.
Courtenay city workers are seeking a 3 per cent increase in every year of the contract, as well as improvements ensuring the fair distribution of work.
CUPE 556 represents approximately 80 inside and outside workers in the city of Courtenay.