Writer manipulates facts in CUPE column

A response to Tom Fletcher's column in the September 5 issue of the Trail Times.

Mr. Fletcher seems to take a fairly strong opinion against the CUPE workers (Back to school and labour disputes, Trail Times, Sept. 6).

Mr. Fletcher states that CUPE workers have not had a raise in four years this much is true. He then makes readers believe a raise is possible. The thing he doesn’t point out is a pay increase can only happen if the school board cuts somewhere else.

In other words kids programs must cut or staff hours must be cut, or someone must be laid off not a very good way to get a pay increase.

Mr. Fletcher then goes on to state that these workers should not have a pensions or any other benefits. He feels they should have the same benefits as self employed people, like it is a bad thing for a worker to have a pension.

By the way CUPE staff pay approximately 10 per cent of their earnings into a plan to finance these benefits. He also doesn’t mention that it’s cheaper for the taxpayer if people have a pension because in Canada the government will take care of you if you have no money.

My favourite is how Mr. Fletcher cherry picks only two districts out of 60 to find benefits he feels are excessive, then implies all CUPE staff in all districts get these same benefits.

Like his overtime example. I work in the private sector and I get overtime when needed. Mr. Fletcher talks about a four-hour callout he implies happens very often, I would like to know when a bus driver or a custodian gets called out and what emergency would get them called out.

Also what makes him so sure it only takes one hour to do the work. Mr. Fletcher states CUPE staff are being paid out for 150 sick days upon retirement, fact is most districts pay out less than half as a percentage. So again he is less than honest.

Also I don’t know of any district that gives six weeks vacation after 20 years, it’s 24 years or more and six weeks is the max.

Mr Fletcher ends his tirade by stating he does not mean to devalue the CUPE staff. I find that hard to swallow.

When I read the article I felt he was slamming CUPE very hard.

Mr. Fletcher’s article is little better than 1930’s yellow journalism.

He manipulates facts and omits other facts to make his position seem stronger. He is a poor excuse for a reporter.

Mark Morissette

Beaver Falls