Opening closed shops

The provincial New Democrats have a proud history of standing shoulder to shoulder with their union brothers and sisters. But it seems they're not going to let that history get in the way of a business decision. Last week, Public Eye reported the party had awarded IdeaWorks Consulting Inc. and Viewpoints Research Ltd. a contract to do their polling work during the next election, beating out Strategic Communications Inc. But there's just one nagging detail that has some insiders hot and bothered.

It turns out Stratcom's Vancouver call centre is unionized. But the same cannot be said for Viewpoints 32-person phone bank in Winnipeg. And the one unionized call centre the company did have was shutdown in 2002, less than a year after its 38-workers were certified by the Telecommunications Workers Union and before they had signed their first collective agreement.

According to company co-owner Leslie Turnbull, Viewpoints closed its Vancouver office because, "We didn't have enough business to sustain an office and an operation." After all, the company had been the provincial government's main pollster, taking in $1.2 million of work between fiscal 1997/98 and 2000/01. But when the New Democrats lost the last election, those contracts dried up.

She then added Viewpoints, "made all of our financial information fully available to the union and we reached an agreement with the union to provide severance to the interviewers."

Ms. Turnbull, whose business partner is Manitoba Premier Gary Doer's wife Ginny Devine, didn't know how much work the company currently does in British Columbia, except to say Viewpoints "had a significant amount of clients" in the province.

She directed specific questions about the company's relationship with the New Democrats to party secretary Gerry Scott. When we asked him whether there were any provisions in the polling contract requiring Viewpoints to do their phoning at a unionized call centre, he told us, "We'll see...No arrangements have been made. I'm not commenting on what's in a contract...It's none of your business what contracts we've signed. What and when I sign a contract has nothing to do with your life."

18 Comments

Ahh, the sound of silence as the regular NDP apologists on this site desperately attempt to ignore this story.

Agreed, funny how when it is the taxpayers money at their disposal the NDP are happy to throw away an extra 130-180 million if it can help their Union brethren. However when it is their own money at stake suddenly the bottom line and subsidizing those Union brothers takes on new meaning.

Where are all the socialists yelling hypocrisy now ?

No kidding....not only are they hypocrits, they're not even friendly people.

I'd like to see the NDPers get on here and defend (1) the decision to use non-union people to do the polling when it's their money, but vigerously defend the usage of unionized labour when it's taxpayers money, and (2) the mean-spirited treatment Mr. Holman received when talking to them on the phone.

They are very quite! I wonder why? Do you think they also lock their car doors?

I think the hypocrites are you Liberal supporters who are so desperate to point out any sign of what can be construed of an NDP mistake to assuage the scummmy dealings of your beloved crooks in Victoria. I personally have no problem saying we support unionised labour and I am not happy about this being any other way if this is the truth.However I am sure you liberal flacks do not have any such integrity, especially Kevin. What do you have to say about the paid propaganda sanctioned by the the man with the least integrity, a hero to you Liberal hacks, Gary Collins, using tax dollars to parlay lies and propaganda about the employment figures as part of the Liberal reelection campaign.meanwhile kids are not getting the services they need, in fact are dying or left in unsafe situations because your Liberals in Victoria have turned their backs on children. Well. I am sure you are not interested and maybe neither is Sean who if he had more mettle as a reporter would do an investigation piece forCanwest to publish. But I am sure they would not as you may learn a little too much about how your government operates, without ethics or compassion. Hey , have a good laugh and do not sweat the important stuff. Enjoy as it takes little to amuse small minds.

Hey, very angry (sign of weakness) SB - Do you lock your car doors?

"Well. I am sure you are not interested and maybe neither is Sean who if he had more mettle as a reporter would do an investigation piece for Canwest to publish."

SB, there's no guarantee that an investigative piece that makes the Fiberals look bad would appear in any CanWest newspaper. Look at the Mayencourt fiasco before the last election. CanWest spiked a story that could have blown Mayencourt out of the water.

As for the union bashing idiots on here, I find it funny that so many of these guys attack union people, when in fact when it comes to working people politically, you would think people making above average wages, with a good life, would be more inclined to be a little conservative in their views. It's nothing more than a shameless attempt by the right to shift the blame on their failed agenda, that its the working people's fault.

These clowns would like nothing more than to break the union movement in this province, thus they could have their way with people. And for the record, the labour movement only exists because there's people in this world who choose to make their money, by explotation, abuse, and scamming on the backs of others. There are a great many companies that treat their employees well who aren't union. And those places have it right and have learned from history.

All the Campbell apologists on here just sit and tow the Campbell line. They also believe that government has NO role in society, if you extend their logic a bit further. They believe in a society where government provides NO services, NO regulation, and basically doesn't exist. They want you to depend on them and their corporate cronies for your medicare, welfare, EI, CPP, and also believe that industries are best self regulating.

There's places in the world like that, in Central America and East Asia. Thanks but no thanks. Canada is one of the greatest places to live in the world, and a part of that is because of the caring, compassionate society we have built. Yet here come the neo cons, pitting union person against non union person, public vs private sector, the poor against the rich, and rather than going forward and building, are closing and wreaking havoc in their midst. And whats worse, by any means necessary, even lying about their agenda prior to the last election, to make sure they got in beyond any shadow of a doubt. Where's the New Era document now?????? Off in cybertrash no doubt.

It must be Sunday morning - what a wonderful sermon - SB are you feeling less angry now? Clearly, kegler is someone who does not lock his car door. Or does he? kegler?

i'm not apologizing for anything kegler, and i'm not towing any line either. the fact is BC is in the best shape it's been in for over a decade. the libs and the direction they're taking the province are responsible for a lot of it. the ndp sure as hell aren't responsible for any of it!

i won't forget the '90s for a long, long time.

Kegler

Indeed that was a great left leaning sermon. However you of course completely ignored the double standard being applied by the NDP in not selecting a Union shop to represent the communications cause. Odd that the NDP expect taxpayers to subsidize Union interests and yet the Party elects not to.

Furthermore your comment suggesting that anyone who opposes subsidizing a non-competitive union at the taxpayers expense is “an idiot” for such views is a true reference to the caliber of your character. Likewise your reference to a “failed agenda” is humorous at best. The reality is, B.C. is finally recovering from the decade of damage done by the NDP, and while the NDP can try and run, they cannot hide.

The NDP cannot hide from the 17 billion added to the Provincial debt load
The NDP cannot hide the facts about job growth TODAY in British Columbia
The NDP cannot hide that British Columbia will again be a HAVE Province

And while the NDP could try and convince British Columbians that they can provide for a better government, they instead spend all of the time criticizing how the Lib’s cleaned up messes made by the NDP. Where is Carole James to criticize the party selecting a non-Union communications Firm? We all know how good she is at criticizing things, that’s all she does. When your own party does not support the cause – you have problems.

Dear Kevin, there you go again with your fibs and big lies. You must be writing copy for the Fiberals because ther is not a any sense to what you are saying. Look up how the debt has grown under your boys and look up the real employment stats and compare. Interestingly you were complicit in your silence about Patrick Kinsella.What is that about? Look up Paul Wilcock's article on Monday.Of course that would mean really looking at the reality of the "mess" the fiberals have cleaned up and the broken new era promises.
Paying people decent wages should be a no brainer for what ever and who ever you stand up for, unless of course you stand up for your own selfish interests or those of the board and trade. Ask some one who is making six dollars and hour.
Your budget surplus is on the backs of children and seniors, not because of a booming economy. Meanwhile stats on suicide and despair and people's sense of dissatisfaction go up with your govrnment's policies. But people are obviously not your concern but rather your neoliberal dogma's which support big business.Are the NDP perfect. Well no but at least they have a heart and guess what Kevin, they also had two surpluses.That is why you have to hold on to straws such as this one you are blatthering about.Vote liberal because I guess you can afford to and you are scared of the truth. Money and the acquisition of money irregardless of how they do it is the name of the game.Have you applied for some online gambling Kevin. Gee Kevin, I thought they were against it. Can you spell sociopaths.Can you spell hypocrite. Damn right I am angry. Is it a sign of weakness? Only in your mixed up criteria.Thank God I am angry. I am pretty clear as to where that anger is directed at and what it is about. Please reply soon with more propaganda Kevin.

To be fair, unions certainly have a role to play in society. Many good unions exist as well as union locals who operate in a pragmatic fashion.

On the other hand, the leadership of many unions or their locals also are ideological and have a left-wing bent, which ultimately neither benefits their membership nor society as a whole.

Again, many other organizations also have a right-wing ideological bent, which again neither benefits their membership nor society as a whole.

That being said, apparently Strat-Com currently has a Vancouver office while Viewpoints does not, ergo these jobs will be out of province.

Let's say we take the same foregoing analogy and apply the same to the recent awarding of three C-Class BC Ferries to German shipyards.

What if the lowest Canadian bidder had been a Quebec or Maritme shipyard (i.e not Washington Marine)?

BC shipyards would not have benefited from any employment opportunities as a result.

BC Ferries would likely also not be a hopeful potential recipient of about $81 million in foreign duty waivers with the Canadian example.

I make the foregoing statement based upon "keglar"'s comments in another thread, which are as follows:

"This is the money that's owed on foreign-built vessels. That's the cost of exporting jobs overseas. Yes its protectionist, but the last time I looked they are mandated to act in the interest of all *Canadians*.

My point is that if the C-Class vessels are either built in Germany or Quebec/the Maritimes due to cost considerations, what's the difference?

In the case at hand, the NDP has also elected to employ out of province pollsters and call centres due to cost factors, which is a business decision.

In either case, not very many British Columbians will be employed in a material manner.

Larsen:

You know, I was thinking about what you said about 10 years of NDP mismanagement. And a weird thing occurred to me. Rightly or wrongly, the NDP in the first 3 years hung alot of the bad stuff inherited from the previous Socred administration. The same with the PCs when they beat the Turner led Liberals, Chretien after defeating the Mulroney led PC's, and so on and so forth.

And please Larsen, get it right. I didn't say anything about "suggesting that anyone who opposes subsidizing a non-competitive union at the taxpayers expense is “an idiot” " What I did say was:

"As for the union bashing idiots on here."

So please, contain yourself with the cut and paste hyperbole. And concentrate your comments on what the statement is about, which in case you didn't, couldn't or wouldn't read what I said, said this:

As for the union bashing idiots on here, I find it funny that so many of these guys attack union people, when in fact when it comes to working people politically, you would think people making above average wages, with a good life, would be more inclined to be a little conservative in their views. It's nothing more than a shameless attempt by the right to shift the blame on their failed agenda, that its the working people's fault.

These clowns would like nothing more than to break the union movement in this province, thus they could have their way with people. And for the record, the labour movement only exists because there's people in this world who choose to make their money, by explotation, abuse, and scamming on the backs of others. There are a great many companies that treat their employees well who aren't union. And those places have it right and have learned from history.

I don't believe I see a single reference to BC Shipyard workers there. It was in reference however to how many people on here (not just Larsen but others) seem to put a huge emphasis on somehow being a union worker makes you somehow incompetent, lazy, or somehow subordinate to the superior Neo Con intellect. BS I say to that.

One other thing about this Non Union/Union communications thing and the party "not looking after their own" as you spin it.

Here's a fact. Close to 80% of donations to the BCNDP come from individuals. Around 25% of the BC Fiberal money comes from individuals. And if you've been following the goings on within the BCNDP over the past few years (federally too I might add), you'll notice that there's a debate about the relationship between organized labour and the party. Based on funding, I would say that Campbell is more beholden to his corporate cronies financially then the NDP is to the unions.

As for your cannot hide threesome...

17 billion in structural debt. I gather that includes the building of hospitals and schools and infrastructure, roads, bridges ferries etc. Over 10 years, that's 1.7 billion a year average. My question to you is, how much debt did the Liberals add in 2002 and 2003, when they posted back to back record deficit budgets? And this surplus they're trotting around... where exactly did the money come from? What ministry would you like to pick? Children and Families? Health with the 50% increase in MSP premiums? And so on and so forth? Did this surplus result in or from an enhancement of services available from government, or a drastic sell off/ cutback philosophy? Only a neo con would brag about shooting himself in the foot with a reckless cut in revenue without seeing what was on the horizon first and being prudent.

As for the have province stuff, time will tell. Sorry to be a doubting Thomas, but the province did experience good economic growth under the Harcourt administration.

And I guess, that people like Larsen can blame the NDP for the softwood lumber crisis, the meltdown in the Japanese and Asian economies, and other external influences on a province that derives much of its economic activity through exports; much like I could try and blame the Fiberals for 9/11 and the ensuing meltdown in 01/02 and the first half of 03. But of course, I'm smart enough to know that there are external influences on economic conditions. But then again, there's that shoot yourself in the foot first mentality of the liberals, without having a plan. Other than to play the blame game.


fact,,kegler,,
in 94 ,sohota ,then transpo minister directed staff that all bids on the isle project must be from union shops, fair enough.[they did a great job]
at the same time mo built his own home in veiw royal with all non union contractors.why?
nic.

I not sure how you can start the above column with "The provincial New Democrats have a proud history of standing shoulder to shoulder with their union brothers and sisters", considering the many time the NDP party and governments have broken strikes and turned against employees in favour of employers.

I think you need to give your head a shake and brush up on Labour history.

You NDP’ers are starting to sound like Zundel – The decade of damage done by the NDP never happened.

As for looking up “real” employment statistics, I go by Stats Can, perhaps you think they are also in on the “evil” Global conspiracy against the “did-everything-right NDP” A buddy of mine works at Stats Can and suggests the un-employment rate is fairly significant as the Feds have a good idea about who they pay when out of work (the last comment was a bone for you keglar)

Guess where it fell the highest and guess where it didn’t decrease at all?

Un-Employment rate fell the highest in
B.C. -23.6 %, Quebec -10.5 %, Ontario -8.6%, Alberta -.7 %

Guess where the un-employment rate did not fall?
Sakatchewan has +5.2 % more people out of work
Manitoba has +1.6 % more people out of work

I wonder what kind of governments they have in those Provinces? Both of those Provinces have the same outside commodity economic climate that the NDP tells you is the only reason why our B.C. economy is going. And yet neither Saskatchewan nor Manitoba is leading the nation in job growth as B.C. is. Couldn’t possibly be that a Liberal Government can restore British Columbia’s economy, something that an NDP Government couldn’t do, wouldn’t do, didn’t do, lied about doing, and now pretends that they did.

The problem with you NDP’ers is that you cannot learn from your mistakes until you are willing to admit that you made them. This thread was originally about the double standard applied by the NDP in NOT hiring a Union shop. Would Dave Barrett have made such a mistake under his reign? You NDP’ers should think about that. Holman just threw you a bone with from his Rockpile

In response to Mr. Larsen,

The Provincial Liberals cannot hide the 5 Billion dollars they've added to the Provincial debt load in the last two years alone.

2002/03: $3.5 billion deficit
2003/04: $1.4 billion deficit

The Provincial Liberals cannot hide the fact that since the recession 2000 and the obvious ramifications of the 2001 9/11 attacks, the world is in its fastest stage of economic growth in over thirty years. Canada and BC are leaders to be sure, but for the most part we're simply along for a comfortable ride. I assure you Campbell is far from being the hero who made this international growth happen.

and finally,

The Provincial Liberals cannot hide the fact that we've HAD a province since 1867; British Columbia belongs to no one political party.

PS., I hope the NDP revokes their new contract and reverts back to the union workers. I hate hypocracy in government and opposition, but what I hate more is the fact that my school got closed, and thousands more people who should be on welfare or receiving mental health services or in some cases both, are no longer receiving those essential services.

Considering that there were 15,000 jobs lost in August and 7500 jobs lost in September in B.C. and as well Canada's job rate increase was 1.0% but only .04% in B.C. and as you say we can rely on statsCanada for the information than I say your assessment of the B.C. job situation is a little warped and with significant omissions but I expected more propaganda and you once again delivered.And of course the job stats under the NDP were so much better that the Liberals insist in including these stats as theirs because it pumps up their employment stats (Liberals insist in including December 2001 as the starting point for their calculations for the overall employment figures under their regime. And do not forget that the average wage scale is decreasing in B.C. perhaps to many of those jobs being low paying and that the Fiberlals have gutted the Employment Standards Act which protects non union workers and we could go on and on but than you may have to admit from your mistakes so that you can learn from them but apparently there is no such thing as a mistake with the fiberals except to say and do anything to stay in power, including lying, fibbing and making things up. They love you Kevin and maybe they will reward you soon.

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