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Monday, September 22, 2014

What's the rush, Saskatoon? 

Transit workers picket to protest lockout, roads jammed during morning commute
I guess the idea is because the city administration has failed to negotiate a contract, then City Council should just implement the pension changes by fiat.
Yeah, that'll calm things down.
Saskatoon's transit lockout experienced its first workday morning today.
The next big story will be tonight's so-called emergency city council meeting -- when our councilors are supposed to vote on a bylaw that would impose the pension changes on the transit union.
The city and union have been warring over pensions and wages for months. The city has offered a 10-per-cent wage increase over four years with changes to the defined benefits pension plan — an offer the union voted 91 per cent against. City council had scheduled an emergency meeting Monday to legislate changes to the pension plan and force the union to accept the pension changes, but the move won’t end the lockout. The union calls the legislation a “bullying tactic” and said it would only accept the new pension arrangement in exchange for a 22-per-cent wage increase over five years.
So negotiations have been going on for a year, and the pension problems have been an issue for much longer, but its just terribly, terribly urgent that the pension be resolved TODAY?
Why don't I think anyone is going to buy this?  I hope councilors can resist getting sucked into this rush to judgement.
And now the union that represents many of the other city workers is entering the fray:
The national office at CUPE, the union representing four locals and more than 2,500 city workers in Saskatoon, now agrees with the locked out transit workers that the pension plan is sound.
The Amalgamated Transit Workers Union (ATU) is arguing that the city’s pension plan is now in a surplus position, not in a deficit, as officials have stated.
Today, a CUPE national spokesperson said they agree with the ATU.
CUPE has had its own pension experts look at the latest data from the City of Saskatoon and they tell the union that there is no deficit.
What’s more, said national representative Rhonda Heisler, the four locals in Saskatoon believe that they were misled when they signed their latest contract.

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