Mayor went too far by wading into labour dispute

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I found it somewhat unprofessional and even Toronto Mayor Rob Ford-like for St. John’s Mayor Dennis O’Keefe to involve himself in the strike at the airport.

By him meeting separately with both sides didn’t accomplish absolutely anything, because he is not an arbitrator or a mediator involved in these talks.

In his media interview he stated the economic impact on the city was upwards of a million dollars. We all realize that this dispute is having a very negative economic impact. Everyone feels the hit — the Convention Centre, people in the service industry, wait staff, taxi drivers, bar owners and staff, and a multitude of other business interests, including the airport itself.

I would love to have been a fly on the wall at those meetings. Boo-hoo, the city is losing money. What else could he say? Get back to table? No. Settle the dispute quick? No. When will this be over? Answer: we don’t know.

You’ve overstepped your bounds, Mayor O’Keefe. Your stating of the facts in the media interview with regard to the loss of revenue to all parties was suffice to let the taxpayers know the situation. Anything more than that and you’re interfering in a labour dispute.

I will hold you to one comment, though. I can’t quote verbatim but it went something like this: it has to end at some point, so why not end it sooner than later?

The city will be negotiating with its own unions in early 2014, and God forbid if an agreement can’t be reached. I sincerely hope you embrace the same attitude then.

In the meantime if you have any success in ending this strike, I would have no problem contributing a few bucks for you to fly to the NHL negotiations the next time they meet to see if you can talk some sense into that bunch.

William Sheppard

St. John’s  

Organizations: Convention Centre, NHL

Geographic location: Toronto

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Recent comments

  • John
    October 16, 2012 - 08:19

    I feel that the time for unions is long past. Let the airport authority pull a Ronald regan. Fire the lot and rehire people to do the work. If the present workers want to come back, they do it on the terms of the new hires.

  • Virginia Waters
    October 15, 2012 - 09:35

    Couldn't agree more - O'Keefe is ian embarrassment. Someone needs to give the mayor a copy of the City of St. John's Act. It very clearly lays out the mandate of the City and its mayor. It does not include the annexation of other municipalities, making donations to foreign states, or the resolution of labour disputes that don't involve the City. If you want to run for provincial or federal office Mr. O'Keefe - be our guest, but otherwise try to focus on the job at hand. I'm all for making improvements but the pace of road work this year is not only frustrating for drivers but very worrisome for taxpayers. Property reassessments are due out any day now and we're told the average increase will be 40%. O'Keefe has been non-committal on whether the mill rate will be rolled back to offset this increase. The rate of inflation in Canada is running about one-percent, so there is no justification for a 40% increase in property taxes. The only saving grace may be that the municipal elections are next year - a chance to make some badly needed changes on council.

  • Eli
    October 15, 2012 - 09:00

    The issues aside, the union's timing in this thing is stupid. The airport will function normally as long as there's little of no snow. And even then there's essential staff to take care of it. As for Dennis functioning, well, that's another story fellow councillors have to put up with.

  • Political Watcher
    October 15, 2012 - 08:43

    Funny thing, during the Metrobus strike Doc stayed so far away we needed a crusie ship ticket to find him. But out Doc, none of your business.