Wage freeze proposal is for show
The proposed wage freeze of all non unionized city employees is more than just opportunistic; it political theatre. The proposal will save the City $1M. It will not entice the unions to accept to freeze their members’ wages and why should it?
What the City is asking is that the lower paid employees burden the bulk of the wage cutbacks. And to what end? Will it lower property taxes? Will it make the government run more efficiently? Will it boost employee morale?
The answer is “no” to each of these questions. For the exact reasons that zero means zero didn’t work, the plan to freeze wages for unionized employees won’t work. You are effectively asking these employees to take a pay cut. Cost of living increases will cut into the net income of families. And on average, this will hit the employees lower end of the pay scale; the ones who can least afford it.
Leave wages for unionized worker alone!
Start making meaningful changes in your own back yard first.
If Councillors are serious about making savings at City Hall, they would ask non-unionized staff (Ottawa Police Services employees omitted) making between than $100K to $110K to take a 7.5% pay cut and those making over $110K to take a 15% pay cut. That would save almost $10M annually (-1% on property taxes). Now we’re talking real savings.
Then to continue on the vein of real savings, the City should look at making structural changes in how the City works. Why does the City manage its own facilities? Why does city staff work at community centres? Why does the city own an electric company? Has mandate creep caused libraries to lose focus and balloon budgets? Is city transportation running effectively? Why are Councillor’s office budgets so under used yet they keep going up every year?
Making process changes in how the City works will result in far more substantial savings for the taxpayer – on the magnitude of hundreds of millions of dollars.
The next city council needs to be transformational. Just nipping around the edges for show like this council has done for four years leads to employee anguish and no actual savings for anyone. This proposal to freeze wages proves it.