Author Topic: Public sector wages  (Read 4028 times)

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Offline mariomike

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Re: Public sector wages
« Reply #50 on: May 07, 2019, 08:12:04 »
, particularly since cutting government jobs is extremely politically unpopular...

Or going after collective bargaining rights, the arbitration system, and pensions.

Anyone remember Tim Hudak?

Quote
Tim Hudak feels heat over impact of job cuts on fire, ambulance services

OXFORD CENTRE, ONT.—Tim Hudak got a grilling about his promised 100,000 public sector job cuts from a “longtime, very dedicated Conservative” fearing the impact on fire and ambulance services.

“Municipalities make determinations on their fire and their ambulance,” added Hudak, who signalled intent to curb salary arbitration awards to emergency services workers.

https://www.thestar.com/news/ontario_election/2014/05/20/hudak_says_only_judicial_inquiry_can_get_to_bottom_of_gas_plants_scandal.html

Ontario election 2014: OPP officers' union launches anti-Hudak ads

Ads don't mention job cuts, but focus on collective bargaining, arbitration, pensions

Neither the police union ads nor the organization's president, Jim Christie, specifically mention job cuts. Instead they focus on Hudak's stance on pensions, collective bargaining rights, arbitration and wage freezes. 
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-votes-2014/ontario-election-2014-opp-officers-union-launches-anti-hudak-ads-1.2661984


Firefighters union issues anti-Hudak letter
https://torontosun.com/2014/06/04/firefighters-union-issues-anti-hudak-letter/wcm/f188f9a0-aeb6-453c-bcd7-5da6eeae3e74

"will face an arbitration that will be tilted in the “employer’s favour” making it “impossible” to ever get a “fair deal” again."

“I’ve seen this kind of destruction before — in the United States,” Schaitberger writes. “I have witnessed the heartache of firefighters losing their jobs, their pensions and their rights at the hands of malicious Tea Party governments that scared people into voting for them and then imposed the same destructive plan Hudak has promised for Ontario.”







Offline Navy_Pete

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Re: Public sector wages
« Reply #51 on: May 07, 2019, 09:15:15 »
For the point of it being difficult to budget based off the average income, you would have to set it up to say have at least a 2 year delay to ensure the data is accurately collected, much like how for this year statistics are mostly from 2017 and earlier the same would have to be done for the income as it is the only way to predictively do it. Possibly 3 years out (so say if it was the 2020 wage, it would be the 2017 income) so there can be better planning.

The legal questions are a more difficult one to answer. I am not a lawyer by any means, but you wouldn't necessarily be taking away the right to associate or bargain, you would be taking away one section of what they are allowed to bargain. I don't know if that would fly in a court of law or not, but it would be interesting to watch.

I actually am enjoying this debate as there are many interesting points being brought up that I hadn't considered (such as the possible legal consequences). Any more potential thoughts on what could be some good, bad, or otherwise complicated points?

It would be a highly divisive labour relations issue, so would expect a lot of challenges, strikes, etc.  All of that has a direct and indirect cost on the economy.

It would be a huge macro change, but I'm not sure what gain you would really have.  If it goes from someone negotiating a set salary, to a median income +x, you should expect the median+x to be the same as the salary as your starting point, so your labour costs won't go down.  There would probably be some guarantees required for a minimum salary, or some pretty significant performance possibilities to offset the salary risk. It would probably give any CFO a heart attack though.

Also no idea how this would affect people getting mortgages etc.

Overall this would probably push a lot of people out of government, and normally it's not the bottom third that has good alternate job options, so you should expect the general effectiveness to drop.

Rather than make sweeping macro changes, the best bet is to reform a lot of little things. At the federal level, you spend a lot of time doing a lot of processes for low dollar value or low risk items, with a lot of redundant reporting.

For example, for a standard travel claim, there is a travel approval submission with a rough budget for approval, and then the actual travel request with the actual budget.  Depending where you are, those go up to the ADM (basically a VP position) for the initial approval and can take weeks (so your booking costs increase). The actual travel request also has a similar approval requirement, and normally goes up to a manager level.

Normally you can assume the whole thing will take three to four weeks for routine and a few weeks for priority approval. I've also had my travel request audited a few times, so it was verified by a supervisor, manager and director, then independently audited. This was for a three day trip that cost less then $1k.

There is a massive amount of oversight, review etc but normally doesn't really scale well.  All of that has a massive resource requirement, and convinced that if you trimmed most of that, focused on the big ticket stuff, and actually penalized people that abused travel and hospitality, or otherwise mismanaged approved levels of spending authority, it would make a significant difference.

That's an obvious example, but there probably hundreds more. Some of it makes sense, but most of it has built up like layers of silt over the years, and there is a huge amount of reluctance to ever get rid of oversight (or track the LOE or cost impacts).

Specialist would spend more time working on their actual area (rather than so much time on bureaucracy and processes), you wouldn't get artificial cost increases from decision lag, and people would be generally happier.

If you do that on a broad scale, your administrative burden goes down, but you don't necessarily reduce your front end staff. So some of the management can either get reduced, or actually focus on management. Can't tell you how much time I spent running around on all kinds of other stuff that could have better been spent doing my core job, but if the paper didn't get pushed (and pulled, dragged, beaten into submission, then tracked down and start over) things weren't in place for work to get done.

Personnally I don't think public servants are the root cause of the problems Canadians complain about for the most part. What I've seen myself is that they get stuff done despite all the BS they have to wade through.  Sure there are plugs, but you get the same thing in private sector. Same with the empire building managers that kneecap progress for their own glory.

Most times I think we could benefit from a decade or so of benevolent dictatorship to burn the current system of processes to the ground so we can start over, and have that happen ever generation or so (to make sure it keeps up with modern requirements). Not going to happen, but a guy can dream.

Offline whiskey601

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Re: Public sector wages
« Reply #52 on: May 07, 2019, 10:13:28 »
https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/agar-public-service-pay-cut-in-order                                                                                                                                     
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Offline Colin P

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Re: Public sector wages
« Reply #53 on: May 07, 2019, 11:00:33 »
Further to Navy-Pete post, my co-worker had her travel claim denied because the hotel was $2 over the approved city rate, for a 2 night stay. So she had to go back to the Regional director to get approval and then resubmit it. Imagine how much that cost in wage time....

Offline Bruce Monkhouse

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Re: Public sector wages
« Reply #54 on: May 07, 2019, 11:32:29 »
Public wages exploded during the years 2001 and 2009 by 6.7% by year.

That was just stupid hiring by a stupid Govt..   I doubt very much the actual wage increase over that whole time for OPSEU employees was even 6.7%.

I'd take the one percent cut IF I thought that would mean Govt. (whatever party) carried on the seriousness of spending less for at least a decade or so.  But I know all it would do is be "goody" money before every election.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Public sector wages
« Reply #55 on: May 07, 2019, 11:42:11 »
Public wages exploded during the years 2001 and 2009 by 6.7% by year.

That was just stupid hiring by a stupid Govt..   I doubt very much the actual wage increase over that whole time for OPSEU employees was even 6.7%.

I'd take the one percent cut IF I thought that would mean Govt. (whatever party) carried on the seriousness of spending less for at least a decade or so.  But I know all it would do is be "goody" money before every election.

By 2030 there won't be too many people working for the public service. The message here for anyone working in a service sector job - unions or no unions - is probably something like 'be flexible, keep your education upgraded, networks connected, resume refreshed, mind open and personal debt loads low':

"Automation threatens public sector jobs, says PwC

Hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs could be lost by the early 2030s thanks to automation, says a Pricewaterhouse Coopers study.

Public administration and defence could experience job losses of 32.1% over the next 15 years, said research released by the accountancy firm on Friday."

https://www.publicfinance.co.uk/news/2017/03/automation-threatens-public-sector-jobs-says-pwc

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Offline Navy_Pete

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Re: Public sector wages
« Reply #56 on: May 07, 2019, 13:30:11 »
I remember coming off a ship for a shore posting when DRMIS was coming online.  They sold it as automating a lot of tasks and streamlining processes.

Fast forward four years, and went back to the ship to find there was an explosion in digital paperwork and the amount of time required actually significantly increased. Most of them usually involved starting with something in word/excel, then uploading that into a notification that also required set up (partly because of the deployed server setup, but mostly due to fields available). Also, most management of work period work was still done on spreadsheets after extracting the data, with the trusty whiteboard in the office to track day to day.  The whiteboard and excel gantt chart were critical, and the only way we could figure out what was actually going on.

I'm convinced streamlining technology brings all the good idea fairies out of the woodwork. Replacing one twenty minute task with thirty 'streamlined' two minute tasks just because the technology exists doesn't result in more time to focus on actual management.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Public sector wages
« Reply #57 on: May 07, 2019, 13:52:39 »
I remember coming off a ship for a shore posting when DRMIS was coming online.  They sold it as automating a lot of tasks and streamlining processes.

Fast forward four years, and went back to the ship to find there was an explosion in digital paperwork and the amount of time required actually significantly increased. Most of them usually involved starting with something in word/excel, then uploading that into a notification that also required set up (partly because of the deployed server setup, but mostly due to fields available). Also, most management of work period work was still done on spreadsheets after extracting the data, with the trusty whiteboard in the office to track day to day.  The whiteboard and excel gantt chart were critical, and the only way we could figure out what was actually going on.

I'm convinced streamlining technology brings all the good idea fairies out of the woodwork. Replacing one twenty minute task with thirty 'streamlined' two minute tasks just because the technology exists doesn't result in more time to focus on actual management.

Frequently, the push to automate requires the individual to take ownership of all those tasks previously performed by a HQ staff. And with the advent and speedy progress of various apps, and other similar technology driven off the smart phone, we may see the elimination of administratively focused HQ staff.

The currently reality reflects your example though, more often than not, so we're likely to have to rely on the good ol' whiteboard and street smarts for a little while longer!
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Offline mariomike

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Re: Public sector wages
« Reply #58 on: May 07, 2019, 14:12:07 »
https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/agar-public-service-pay-cut-in-order                                                                                                                                     

He does not seem friendly towards Toronto's unions: "Greed? Let's talk unions."

Even uses the Ford Nation "Stop the gravy train" slogan.

Says, "firefighters don’t work for the province, but municipalities. Their fight, if they have one, is with municipal councils."

What he does not mention is that the city's emergency services are at the mercy of Queen's Park when it comes to collective bargaining rights, pension, arbitration etc.

Quote
Greed? Let’s talk unions.

The unions who represent well-paid workers with terrific benefits are literally freaking out to the point of unprecedented scare-mongering over the possibility a Tim Hudak Progressive Conservative government will try to balance the books.

Firefighters have brought in help from an American union to spread the notion if Hudak is elected, none of us will be safe.

Not only is that ridiculous, firefighters don’t work for the province, but municipalities. Their fight, if they have one, is with municipal councils. And they are very well paid.

Ditto the union representing OPP workers: the Ontario Provincial Police Association.

Representing one of the most highly paid police forces in the world, they had the gall to run an ad attacking Hudak by telling voters we won’t be safe on the streets and in our beds if the PCs are elected.

Using an officer with a taxpayer-funded uniform and squad car, the ad originally didn’t identify the message was coming from the union. It was billed as a message from the OPP.

(This was eventually corrected.)

The OPP got a 5% increase in 2011, 8.5% this year, and are in line for more, so as to be ahead of the Toronto Police Association, as per their contract, which stipulates they are to be the highest-paid in the province.

Have you had a 14% pay bump since 2010?

Public sector unions spend millions each election, mostly on ads attacking the Progressive Conservative leader.

The Liberal party rewards them by growing government, adding more voters to their team each year.

The cycle of greed continues. The debt grows, and the burden is placed on the private sector, since government doesn’t make money, it just spends it.

In 2011, 4.3 million people voted. There are over a million public employees, plus their families. They have the power, along with other life-long Liberal voters, to win a multi-party election.

Public union employees on average have a better situation in terms of salary, benefits and retirement than do their counterparts in the private sector doing comparable work.

Voting Liberal in this election, if you’re a public sector worker, is an admission you don’t care about your friends and neighbours in the private sector.

You just want your gravy train to keep on rolling.
https://torontosun.com/2014/06/09/voting-liberal-are-you-feeling-ok/wcm/2bc1087a-1233-4ca4-b9dc-2c1c350a76a6

That's from 2014. But, there was lots more,
https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=A8rRXIi9Ku-I5wK32KaoBw&q=%22Jerry+Agar%22+unions&btnK=Google+Search&oq=%22Jerry+Agar%22+unions&gs_l=psy-ab.3...3585.12043..12350...0.0..0.623.3415.0j17j2j5-1......0....1..gws-wiz.....0..35i39j0i67j0j0i20i263j33i21.LSjg7G_1fxI



Offline dapaterson

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Re: Public sector wages
« Reply #59 on: May 07, 2019, 14:13:31 »
We automate processes to eliminate clerical (lower-paid) functions, and replace their efforts with higher-paid people trying to understand the minutia of the processes the clerks did.

Of course, we rarely simplify the processes and take advantage of automation; rather, we automate a paper heavy process, retain its workflow, but add in computers making things longer, more complex - but with fewer people to deliver, and no one dedicated to the function.

Or, if you're some IT systems, you promise personnel savings, deliver a reduced solution late, but cut the personnel who should have been leading the transformation effort per your original schedule so you can claim an early RoI, and then wrap up millions over budget with a system that's fine on the shop floor, but not so good in deployed, austere locations with limited bandwidth.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Public sector wages
« Reply #60 on: May 07, 2019, 16:10:50 »
We automate processes to eliminate clerical (lower-paid) functions, and replace their efforts with higher-paid people trying to understand the minutia of the processes the clerks did.

Of course, we rarely simplify the processes and take advantage of automation; rather, we automate a paper heavy process, retain its workflow, but add in computers making things longer, more complex - but with fewer people to deliver, and no one dedicated to the function.

Or, if you're some IT systems, you promise personnel savings, deliver a reduced solution late, but cut the personnel who should have been leading the transformation effort per your original schedule so you can claim an early RoI, and then wrap up millions over budget with a system that's fine on the shop floor, but not so good in deployed, austere locations with limited bandwidth.

.... and then we forget how to do the simplest, old school, customer service things right, like answering the phone :)

Millions of calls to government agencies go unanswered: Auditor General

https://globalnews.ca/news/5249257/calls-to-government-auditor-general/
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Offline Good2Golf

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Re: Public sector wages
« Reply #61 on: May 07, 2019, 16:14:07 »
...or, if you're some IT systems, you promise personnel savings, deliver a reduced solution late, but cut the personnel who should have been leading the transformation effort per your original schedule so you can claim an early RoI, and then wrap up millions over budget with a system that's fine on the shop floor, but not so good in deployed, austere locations with limited bandwidth.

You mean like using a software module intended for a widget factory to manage a complex, highly mobile system, like an aircraft? ???

Offline dapaterson

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Re: Public sector wages
« Reply #62 on: May 07, 2019, 16:15:36 »
Don't be ridiculous.  Who would be stupid enough to do that?
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