Vancouver Taxpayers Should Be Careful What They Wish For

    Richmond deal much richer than it looks on the surface

    Burnaby, BC, Aug. 3 /CNW/ - As pressure mounts on the City of Vancouver
to break off from the GVRD Labour Relations Bureau and sign a deal with CUPE
similar to Richmond's, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association
president Philip Hochstein warns that taxpayers in Richmond are paying a lot
more than they think.
    "They got the math wrong when they reported the Richmond deal at 17.5%.
When the numbers are compounded the base salary increase is 18.76%. And that
is a minimum, because of crazy "me too" language in the final year which
entitles workers to an even higher raise if wage settlements in the GVRD
exceed four percent."
    Hochstein also claims the Richmond deal is full of outrageous but hard to
recognize cost inflators and benefits that private sector workers wouldn't
dream of.
    According to a recent article in the Richmond Review, CUPE 394 President
Dave Shapiro claimed that a proposed "job re-evaluation" plan could mean that
the actual increases could be closer to the 28% councillors received and
called the deal "the best we've ever had."
    "On the benefits side, the City of Vancouver deal already contains
ridiculous concepts such as three Gratuity Days on top of an already generous
vacation entitlement and ten days of sick leave," says Hochstein. "And the
Richmond deal piles on a long list of additional extravagances like nine days
of work every two weeks and $500 allowances to hire dieticians."
    Hochstein, who represents industrial, commercial and institutional
construction contractors, says that municipal services to his industry such as
permitting, licensing and inspection response times have deteriorated
drastically in the last decade and worries about how an even richer package
with more days off will affect the construction industry.
    "We all want the strike to end as soon as possible," Hochstein says. "But
taxpayers and businesses should be aware of the direct link between the
outrageous settlements we are seeing and the increases in taxes that are
inevitable to pay for them, without any increase in service."
    Hochstein goes on to state that the system in which we continually
bargain with public sector unions under duress is clearly broken.
    "In Canada, we suffer 50 times the strike days per capita compared to
Britain because our labour laws allow unions with essential service monopolies
to intimidate our citizens by removing those services during bargaining," says
Hochstein. "The result is that we have institutionalized bargaining at the
point of a gun. Governments at all levels need to address the systemic
problems we have with these union monopolies."

For further information:

For further information: Philip Hochstein, ICBA President, Office: (604)
298-7795, Cell: (604) 561-9402, Email:

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Independent Contractors And Businesses Association of BC (ICBA)

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