Open Letter: CFIB demands prompt intervention in City of Windsor strike

    TORONTO, June 26 /CNW/ -

    Dear Premier McGuinty and Mayor Francis:

    I write, on behalf of CFIB's small and medium-sized business members in
the City of Windsor, to express outrage at the ongoing labour disruption on
the part of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) locals 543 and 82, and
to demand your prompt intervention to ensure public services are provided at
fair cost to beleaguered taxpayers.
    The more recent walkout of municipal employees in the City of Toronto has
further amplified the strike in Windsor as yet another atrocious example where
the 'right to strike' is wrong. As you both well know, the impact of strikes
in public services is felt almost entirely by the general public, not by the
two sides at the bargaining table. Small business owners, their employees and
customers are left with no alternatives when denied municipal services for
which they pay dearly in taxes. This situation absolutely has to be corrected.
    It is not as though this long work stoppage is aimed at improving working
conditions for those at an unfair disadvantage. Windsor's CUPE workers
currently enjoy contracts which, if described as generous, would be seriously
understating the case. Precious few private sector employees can even dream of
such rich benefits. According to existing collective agreements, members of
the two locals are presently covered for 100 per cent of the cost of
prescription drugs, hospitalization, dental, group life insurance, long-term
disability plan, etc., plus unparalleled benefits in other areas. The list
goes on, and can be viewed in full at the following websites: and
    Presently, Windsor taxpayers, both residents and businesses, are being
taken advantage of in two ways: firstly, for being saddled with the already
excessive cost of generous wages and lavish benefits enjoyed by municipal
workers, and secondly, for being held hostage to the union's demands to
improve upon those generous labour contracts, and retain absolutely
out-of-touch ridiculous provisions, such as bankable sick days and benefits
'for life', for present and future employees.
    Providing CUPE members with full benefits (at taxpayers' expense) until
their death and the death of their dependents is absolutely outrageous. The
cost for the future liabilities on this item alone is horrendous. There is no
question that CUPE's demands pose a significant financial strain on the city's
budget. What is more troubling is that this display of union muscle is
happening during an economic recession, which has hit Windsor harder than any
other city in Canada. The union's apparent sense of entitlement to a
disproportionate share of the public purse during these economically troubled
times is appalling.
    Mayor Francis has taken a firm stand against the shameless demands of
these so called public servants. In return, he has received the support of
Windsor's residents and businesses, who have gone out of their way in the last
11 weeks to cope with this unnecessary strike.
    Premier, this unjustifiable work stoppage has dragged for too long and I
urge you to legislate CUPE members back to work. Further, I urge you to move
to expand the list of 'essential services' for which strikes cannot and will
not be tolerated. It's high time elected representatives stood up for average
taxpayers instead of pampered public servants.


    Catherine Swift
    President and CEO
    Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)

For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview with Catherine
Swift, contact Meghan Carrington at (416) 222-8022

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