By BILL TIELEMAN, 24 HOURS
Polling firm Ipsos-Reid is conducting a survey of Vancouver residents about the city's contract proposals in the city workers' strike, something their union calls "an absolute waste of money" that could further delay negotiations.
Late yesterday the city confirmed its polling and released results of two questions to 24 hours.
Ipsos-Reid asked: If Vancouver offered city workers a 17.5 per cent wage increase over five years would that be fair and reasonable?
Results showed 89 per cent agreed.
The pollster also asked: Are you concerned about the impact on your city taxes of that wage offer?
Sixty per cent agreed.
City spokesman Jerry Dobrovolny said: "We needed to understand the public's level of tolerance for a settlement that is that high."
But the other questions obtained exclusively by 24 hours included:
- How would you rate the job city managers have done replacing striking workers?
- How much have you been affected by the strike?
- Do you support or oppose the strike action?
Results of answers to those questions were not made available.
Opposition Vision Vancouver councilor Raymond Louie said he's concerned the polling is an expensive public-relations exercise.
"Are we wasting money on a public relations exercise instead of bargaining?" he asked.
"It's an absolute waste of money," says Barry O'Neill, Canadian Union of Public Employees B.C. president. "By the time you tabulate the results you should be at an agreement."
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION NOT PUBLISHED IN 24 HOURS
I obtained the questions when called at home by Ipsos-Reid on Wednesday night.
Louie questioned whether Mayor Sam Sullivan was involved.
"Did the mayor direct the pollling?" Louie asked. "Polling is an expensive piece of work. I'm not sure how helpful this exercise is to the situation."
David Hurford, Sullivan’s communications director, said the mayor’s office is not sponsoring the polling but couldn’t say if the city was or if the mayor knew about it when contacted, referring 24 hours to Dobrovolny.
"Politicians do not generally micromanage the city's day-to-day affairs," Hurford said. "The city runs day-to-day affairs regarding the strike and bargaining."