York Region transit workers condemn Regional Councillor Emmerson for "unbelievable hypocrisy" on his 43% pay raise; predict Chairman Fisch will say nothing to avoid examination of his own $200,000 salary.

TORONTO, Jan. 19, 2012 /CNW/ - The unions representing 600 striking York Region transit workers have responded with anger to a York Regional councillor's claim that he is entitled to a 43 per cent pay raise because he now earns less than he would in surrounding vicinities.

Whitchurch-Stouffville's part-time mayor Wayne Emmerson has said he will vote next Tuesday to raise his annual salary from $42,149 to $62,148. Emmerson also receives an undisclosed additional salary as a member of York Region council.

ATU Local 1587 President Ray Doyle and ATU Local 113 President Bob Kinnear have condemned Emmerson's position in view of his position on the wages of striking York Region transit workers, who are paid 30 per cent less than transit workers in Brampton, Mississauga and Toronto.

"Mayor Emmerson has said that he does not believe the wages of York Region transit workers should be compared to those paid to transit workers in surrounding communities who are doing essentially the same work," said Doyle and Kinnear. "Yet he claims that his salary should match those of other part-time mayors in neighbouring communities."

"What makes this particularly offensive is that York Region transit workers are not even asking for parity with nearby transit workers," the union leaders said. "The so-called 'offers' from the private contractors would actually increase the 30 per cent wage gap between here and the rest of the GTA transit sector. We're just trying to hold our heads above water while the contractors are trying to push us under."

"Emmerson's stance is unbelievable hypocrisy that even York Region Chairman Bill Fisch should condemn. Fisch has publicly scoffed at the very idea that York Region transit workers should compare themselves to nearby transit workers. Let's see what he has to say about Emmerson. We predict Fisch will be silent because he does not want public examination of his own salary."

According to the Ontario Public Sector Salary Disclosure website, Fisch was paid just under $200,000 a year in 2009, making him the highest-paid municipal leader in Canada. But because he is not directly elected by the residents of York Region, his salary is never reported with those of elected mayors.

"Why York Region residents put up with these hypocrites, who will not even allow the transit strike to end through a neutral arbitration process, is a mystery that may be resolved in the next municipal election. Except of course for the chief hypocrite Fisch, who holds power without being elected."

SOURCE Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1587

For further information:

ATU Local 1587: Ray Doyle, 416-986-4103. ATU Local 113, Bill Reno, 416-223-7366.

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Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1587

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Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113

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