Monday, August 6, 2007

The TTC - The Better (Paying) Way

The National Post recently published a chart of the average wages of city workers as part of its review of why Toronto is always in debt.

According to the various collective agreements of unionized employees for the city and TTC, garbage collectors make $24.14 an hour; litter pickers make $21.14 an hour, and TTC drivers and ticket takers make $26.58 an hour. This is base salary - overtime is extra.

So the guy in the jumpsuit who picks up trash at the side of the road or in parks (possibly with an MBA), makes about $44,000 a year, without counting overtime or seniority. Being the City, on top of that they also have some of the most extensive health and other benefits available in the civilized world.

And for those of you who have gone without raises recently, its nice to know the City of Toronto's employees have had a 3% or better raise every single year since 2001 (except for 2005 when they only got 2.75% poor darlings).

Bus drivers with the TTC make over $55,000 a year, plus an incredible array of benefits. That number goes up with seniority, of which there is a great deal since no one ever leaves the cozy confines of a TTC seat.

The TTC also just published - as required - its list of employees who made more than $100,000 a year in 2006. It now has 277 employees who make more than a hundred grand. At least 17 of them were bus drivers. Makes you wonder why Ralph Kramden from the Honeymooners lived in such a shabby apartment.

But we are not to take this the wrong way, the TTC says as it contemplates service cuts to save some cash, even though salaries and benefits comprise about 75% of the TTC’s $1.1-billion budget. This is according to TTC spokeswoman Marilyn Bolton, who herself earned $101,444 in 2006.

To help us put this in perspective, Ms. Bolton was reported in the National Post to have said “$100,000 has actually depreciated in buying power”. After all, "$100,000 isn’t the $100,000 of 10 years ago, like a millionaire isn’t a millionaire anymore.”

Now I feel better. At least they have a good grasp on reality.