Arbitration Award for Cornwall Firefighters  Obscene LTE William Hopkinson NOV 28, 2015

Obscene is one way to put it.  The way arbitrators treat taxpayers is what I’m referring to.  The latest labour contract arbitration award for Cornwall firefighters is nothing short of obscene and short-sighted.  In brief the firefighters received 1.5% for Jan. 1, 2013, 1% for July 1, 2013, 1.5% for Jan. 1, 2014, 1% for July 1, 2014 and 2.5% for Jan. 1, 2015.  Now to top it off negotiations should start again soon as the contract is soon to expire.  In short the firefighters received 2.5% for each year.  I guess we can be thankful that the arbitrator turned down the firefighters request to implement a health expense benefit at age 65 for retirees.  Another thing we can be thankful for, I guess, is the firefighters had asked the arbitrator to give them 8.6 per cent over three years.  Oh and the firefighters also get five weeks of vacation after 16 years of service.
Now, I will agree that firefighters do an excellent job.  But their arbitration awards continually exceed what is awarded to SDG-Cornwall paramedics.  In their past contract SDG-Cornwall paramedics received 1.9% per year, which is very close to the going rate for other Cornwall municipal bargaining units.
It gives one to think that arbitrators have no concept of who is paying these “awards.”  It’s not coming out of their pockets.  It’s coming out of the taxpayer’s pocket.  And personally this taxpayer is saying “enough is enough.”
It is time in Cornwall to move to the interest-based process used to settle contracts for police and other fire services across Ontario.  Currently fire and police services in Cornwall are using 40% of taxes in Cornwall.  The police recently settled for 6.75% for three years without going to arbitration.  When does this insanity stop?  The taxpayers and city are not ATM’s that the firefighters can continue to milk for very excessive arbitration awards.
William Hopkinson
Cornwall, ON


  1. If you add the 1.5% for Jan. 1, 2013, 1% for July 1, 2013, 1.5% for Jan. 1, 2014, 1% for July 1, 2014 and 2.5% for Jan. 1, 2015, the total is close to 8.6%. (because you are adding 1% on top of the 1.5% etc)
    With 10’s of thousand of government workers, we do need some kind of control, and obviously unions or arbitrators care less about ability to pay than those that are paying.

  2. I agree Eric. Compounding the increases it comes to 7.72%. It seems police and fire unions, along with arbitrators care more about getting high increases than the municipalities / taxpayers ability ability to pay.

  3. Ontario had an Act based on ability to pay in 2012, but it died after first reading it appears. It would have created another department that would cost us more, and from what I see, many of these bills are toothless anyway. It is more important to have a photo op than create good government. People need to take it back, just like the Magna Carter. Which by the way, we may get a Magna Carter day and it might make it to 3rd reading soon..

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