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2014-05-23 at 16:42

Seasonal problems

By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
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THUNDER BAY -- The way nearly two dozen city seasonal workers were treated has both the mayor and the union representing those workers concerned.

Seasonal roads workers are typically hired for about six months to do utility cuts, fix potholes and other labour duties. But after the season started two weeks late this year, around 23 workers were told that they would only be hired until Aug. 1 because the city had contracted out its utility cuts this year.

"That is a pot of money that our seasonal workers are paid out of," CUPE Local 87 president Marie Dean said.

Workers were told about the late start, leaving them without income for two weeks, but expected to make up that money during the season. Dean said that also means they won't be able to find work later in the season because other seasonal work will have already been taken.

'It's dried up and it's not really available to them," she said.

Mayor Keith Hobbs said he found out about the issues when upset workers inundated him with emails and some senior workers came to his office to discuss their concerns.

"I don't think they were treated properly," he said. "That's not the way we should be doing business."
Those workers have schooling or families to pay for. If they had known the season would be so short, they could have found other work.

Also from the city's side with $40 million in infrastructure spending this year, Hobbs said roadwork needs all the help it can get. He's already had a meeting with city manager Tim Commisso about the issue and will discuss it again Monday morning.

"That is one department that I think needs beefing up right now," he said.

While there is a maximum number of days in the collective agreement for seasonal workers, there is no minimum. But Dean said her members should have been given fair notice.

"Morally we have to be responsible here too," she said.

She's concerned that the city will keep contracting out services at the expense of her members and wants to meet with the city's human resources department.

"I am hearing rumblings about a lot of contracting out happening," she said.

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Tbnewswatch.com(18)

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Comments

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Kam River says:
Maybe with the Multiplex going ahead and the add million a year that it will loose, maybe council should look at contracting out.
In Toronto the Garbage collect has been contracted out with great success.
There was a story today that the number of people on welfare is up, because of the lack of jobs, and with more jobs loose coming down the pipe.
Council need to look at their major cost which is salaries.
5/23/2014 4:51:18 PM
tsb says:
Toronto's contracted out garbage pick-up is one garbage bag bi-weekly. Thunder Bay currently allows 3 per week or 6 bi-weekly. In the part of Toronto where garbage is picked up, recycling and composting are MANDATORY.

I actually support this policy to be implemented in Thunder Bay, but I want other people to understand that that was the cost of privatization in Toronto. With our recycling privatization, service was cut drastically and re-usable blue boxes were eliminated. The purpose of putting these responsibilities in the hands of the private sector is the reduce costs for the municipality, but typically all that means is lower paid staff (meaning there is less disposable income in the city, meaning less spending, meaning an economic slump) and costs being passed onto consumers (like having to buy blue bags, or having to buy garbage tickets like they do in Marathon.)
5/23/2014 7:36:41 PM
didn'twehavethisconvob4 says:
Great idea! Let's just contract EVERYTHING out. I understand that you are either a part owner or have some kind of over paid job that you think you're entitled to, to say you want every city job contracted out. Let's say it happens and people making $14 are going to spend their hard earned money where? Wal-Mart? This is why things are the way they are...because to people like you NOBODY should make a decent living!
5/23/2014 8:22:15 PM
S Duncan says:
so its up to the rest of us to pay them more than the job is worth so they don't shop at wal mart? what do you have against wal mart? and don't you want those people to have jobs?

despite what you think no matter how much someone makes per hour, they will always shop at wal mart because they want their money to go further so they can do more with their incomes.

so why cant the citizens of this city demand our services for the best price as well? People want wal mart prices for their civil employees and why shouldn't they?

just because you think they should be entitled to more of my money even though other people can do the job for less?

that's not employment, that's welfare and an artificially floated economy that borders on communist values that reward the mediocre and inefficient members of society.

Just remember, those unions only make the bottom employees get paid more by taking it away for the top performing employees. Unions steal from the good to reward the useless.
5/24/2014 2:12:34 PM
humnchuck says:
You've often cited the Sunshine List as evidence of overpayment of public employees. Since pretty much every employee pay structure I've ever seen (union or non-union) pays more as the amount of time worked increases, how do you now figure that "the bottom employees get paid more by taking it away for the top performing employees"?
5/24/2014 4:32:51 PM
cob says:
Privatize Roads entirely. There isn't a worker there that puts in an honest 8 hours. Just check the Hortons by the Airport or on Balmoral. What's really needed is a reality check by Mayor and Admin, then an efficiency check. Whatever happened to the "Core Review"?
5/23/2014 5:32:02 PM
realist says:
Thanks for admitting you have nothing better to do then sit at a coffee shop and complain about others.
5/23/2014 10:25:33 PM
reese says:
What about the people that dont work for the city or not a cupe member are they not important it seems the mayor and cope are only concerned about the trough slurpers no one else
5/23/2014 6:08:40 PM
iceman says:
You should not look at seasonal work as full time work, it is temporary until you can find a full time job. I wish you all the luck in trying to find full time work, might consider moving....
5/23/2014 6:18:42 PM
Shane Caker says:
These guys should try working in the private sector. When there's no work, you're gone. There's no sympathy pay there. Not a single dime of it.
5/23/2014 6:22:12 PM
hadenough says:
How about, more than likely IF the road cuts had been handled properly rather than become yet another massive pot hole in a sea of pot holes, maybe the courageous decision to contract out work that obviously was not being done by full time CUPE members would not have happened.

Perhaps this should be a warning to CUPE. I'm not saying that everything should be contracted out as that would be foolish but obviously there are things that can be done better, quicker and time will tell, cheaper by contracting out some services.
5/23/2014 6:51:29 PM
S Duncan says:
my heart is not breaking for them or the soft, sympathetic mayor.
5/23/2014 9:55:03 PM
nvjgu says:
Mean while the hotels are full of outa town contractors, mainly from Winnipeg, seen a few from Brampton of all places. Local contractor employees are sitting at home. There's no work in Brampton or what.
5/23/2014 11:41:50 PM
joesmo says:
I sure wish they would put a article to bring notice to the city about the seasonal workers who don't have city jobs and will also have a short season. What is the mayor doing to take care of these people or are city workers only important to him. We also voted for you MR Mayor.
5/24/2014 2:17:17 AM
THe Beaver..... says:
Of course the other option is quit. Go find an other job and you might just end up with a longer Season. You might also end up with a permanent job. However that would mean 10 or 12 months of work a year maybe that is a little too much but it would allow you to help paying for your kids Education and feed them as well. Problem is you got to get up in the mornings and go to work.
5/25/2014 6:51:41 AM
Family guy says:
This is a comment for s Duncan. Don't assume that because the road and concrete work that seasonals do we're contracted out that they will do it cheaper. And if you are represented by a union then you are useless. WOW! And for other comments, this is not about getting a longer season. It is about getting called back to work a week after all other seasonals and told on your first day back to work that you will only be working for twelve weeks. I'm sure with the state of total disrepair of our roads there is enough work for season. To work for the city you must start as a seasonal and work 5 - 7 years to accumulate enough seniority to apply for a full time position. I don't no one seasonal who doesn't want full time work. So your answer is to leave the city to find full time employment to support your families. Let's see how much tax revenue there will be then.
5/25/2014 1:23:40 PM
Watchful says:
Does that mean your crying because your kids won't have a summer job. Let's face it, in this city it is who you know
5/25/2014 6:47:32 PM
nvjgu says:
EI say's everybody that works seasonal should maybe think about getting out of seasonal work.
5/25/2014 7:38:57 PM
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