Wednesday, May 8, 2013

CUPE pushes back at prospect of Civic job cuts in Prince Rupert

With the City of Prince Rupert hosting a public forum tonight at 7 PM at the Civic Centre on the topic of its Budget planning, the Canadian Union of Public Employees has begun its efforts to turn back the thought of pending job cuts at the City of Prince Rupert.

The prospect of layoffs to the Civic workforce first appeared at last weeks City Council session, which saw a motion seeking a three percent cut to all departments approved by the narrowest of margins, with Mayor Jack Mussallem required to cast the deciding vote in the affirmative.

As we outlined on the blog at that time, the provisions of that proposed three percent cut to civic departments would require layoffs of city workers, most likely in the public works department.

Council takes its budget quandary to the public for one more session

With that prospect of potential job losses bearing down on them, CUPE members have taken to the weekly newspaper to make their case, with an advertisement destined for your doorstep tonight that makes the case for those that work for the City, stressing their involvement in the community.

The key line to their advertisement being that they are "committed to improving the quality of life for all our workers; protecting good jobs supports families and strengthens our local economy"

If you can't wait until the Northern View arrives in your mailbox later today, you can review the full advertisement as part of their (e edition page 26).

It's interesting to note that right beside that advertisement is a timely reminder from CUPE of a Free Public Swim for Saturday at the Earl Mah Aquatic Centre, perhaps a helpful nudge for the public as to some of the contributions that the union makes to the community.

The advertisement may be the final item that Rupertites view before heading off to the Public Forum for tonight, the prospect of job cuts, just one of many topics that may come up for discussion when Council members open the floor to questions.

To reinforce their points, CUPE 105 is asking all its members to attend tonights Public Forum to stand in solidarity, which certainly could make for a very crowded forum hall this evening.

And perhaps CUPE has already had some influence on the planning for tonight's session, yesterday on the blog we outlined the latest information package from the City, providing three options for Council to consider as it works towards its May 15th deadline for delivering its budget.

City Staff provides Council (and the public) with three options to consider on Budget

Of the three options, only one highlights the prospect of the three percent across the board reduction to civic departments (with job losses) along with a 2 per cent tax hike.

The other two options provide for scenarios that won't impact on the workforce, with a combination of tax increases, cuts to services and amenities and an increased draw on Operating surplus monies suggested.

How the public receives that information and what feedback it provides to council will most likely chart the course for Council, the discussion starts at 7, one final chance for Prince Rupert taxpayers to share their thoughts and perhaps set an agenda for Council to work with for mid May.

For those that may wish to do a bit of research on the Budget Process leading up to tonights public forum, we have a number of items for your review available at our Budget Process Archive.

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