In the wake of the city quaking at the payroll figures for city employees, City Council has voted to accept a “shift optimization strategy” for 2017 that will result in the elimination of four management and 33 unionized positions during the 16 week winter season, as well as one management and 10 unionized positions during the summer season.

“Our existing schedule has two day shifts for sidewalk clearing, but upon careful review, the Roads Division believes it can provide the same level of service with the minimum number of staff required to clear snow during the winter,” says Councillor Danny Breen, Chair of the Standing Committee on Public Works.

“Despite this reduction, there will still be flexibility to add operators to the sidewalk clearing operation if and when needed.”

“Council has challenged management to identify opportunities to operate more efficiently, and we are pleased to see that the Department of Public Works has identified a way that the organization can save $700,000 in 2016 and $1.35 million in 2017.”

“We recognize that staff are impacted by this, but as staff costs are the largest portion of our organizational expenses, there are unfortunately few other options to reduce our costs.” The proposed shift optimization will require the elimination of a total of 48 positions.

Unionized staff will be provided with bumping options. Depending on the seniority of the employees involved, the staff reductions could affect other divisions within the City as employees exercise their bumping rights.

During the winter season, three shifts provide a minimum of 16 hours of coverage per day. If staff are required beyond this time the remaining hours are covered with overtime. “This system provides the City with the flexibility to respond to winter snow and ice events in a timely manner.”

“This optimization will maintain the City’s policy of having one cut on all City streets within 12 hours after a winter event (<25cm), and street widening completed within 24 hours. Snow removal in the downtown area and snow blow back operations throughout the City will not be negatively impacted.”

The Staff Reduction Figures:

Winter Season Forepersons: Reduced from 16 to 12
Winter Season Unionized Workers: Reduced from 204 to 171
Summer Season Forepersons: Reduced from 6 to 5
Summer Season Unionized Workers: Reduced from 50 40 40