Question about scabs and truth in reporting

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Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
Wow: so people are not supposed to take any pride in their neighbourhoods at all or desire a clean street?

 

Neither of those disadvantages the union any, so go right ahead and "take pride" and "desire". :)

 

I'm only pointing out that if you make everything all nice and clean, it helps the City and disadvantages the union.

Sineed

Snert wrote:

I'm only pointing out that if you make everything all nice and clean, it helps the City and disadvantages the union.

I hear ya...however, strike or no strike, we have a significant rodent problem in this neighbourhood.  Everybody who doesn't have cats has mice, and I have seen rats running across my lawn like little Rasputins, brazen and poison-resistant.

Let it be said my support for the union is only mitigated by an increase in the population of animals that potentially carry the Black Plague.

torontoprofessor

Has CUPE 416 issued any official communication about Smitherman's volunteer groups? Has any spokesperson for CUPE 416 said anything about these volunteers?

Unionist

The union is alleged to have said this:

Quote:

But Smitherman's call for community cleanups has raised the ire of Mark Ferguson, president of CUPE Local 416, which represents the city's garbage collectors and other outside workers.

"There's no question that any time we have the public, or strike breakers, or scabs performing the work of the bargaining unit during a labour disruption, that only contributes to a more lengthy strike," Ferguson warned.

[url=Source.[/url]">http://www.theglobeandmail.com/blogs/silver-powers/cupe-doesnt-get-it/ar...

 

Michelle

Right on.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Go 416 and 79!

 

Pro-union people need to speak up.  I've been surprised how many people I know were receptive to my spiel about pro-labour.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Sineed wrote:

Speaking of Mike Harris, I blame him for this.  Dalton's partly to blame, because he didn't reverse the downloading of social services that has resulted in Toronto's empty coffers.  But Mike's the direct cause, and the city may be in a position where they can't give in.

The city is certainly in a bind, and Miller's taking the heat for it; i have some sympathy, though less and less each day he panders to his right-wing attackers.

While you're blaming Mike Harris though, reserve a goodly portion for former Mayor Melvin Lastman. Melvin played footsie with Mean Mike every step of the way, and the current unfunded deficits are the result of Mel's fudging the books in order to avoid necessary tax increases.

One obvious example: if Mel had put money in the bank to pay for the banked sick days as they accumulated, today the city wouldn't need to try to retroactively renege on expired contracts signed by former councils.

Sineed

Lard Tunderin Jeezus wrote:

While you're blaming Mike Harris though, reserve a goodly portion for former Mayor Melvin Lastman. Melvin played footsie with Mean Mike every step of the way, and the current unfunded deficits are the result of Mel's fudging the books in order to avoid necessary tax increases.

One obvious example: if Mel had put money in the bank to pay for the banked sick days as they accumulated, today the city wouldn't need to try to retroactively renege on expired contracts signed by former councils.

Good points; I totally forgot about Mel (I'm trying to scrub him from my consciousness.)

Last year I heard Mel on the CBC talking about the megacity merger and what a bad idea it was, and how the city had no money, blah, blah.  So I said to the radio, "Then why did you promise not to raise taxes through 2 budgets?"

Coming clean here, I'm a hypocrite when I criticise people who vote for lost-cause candidates.  For Mel's 2nd election, I voted for Enza Supermodel (hey, she stood on a 6-inch platform!)

boomerbsg

The fact that David Miller doesn't stand up and say this basic truth is beyond me. A great city that provides great services to all the citizens, not just a few privileged, requires money. The citizens of Rosedale, Forest Hill and the businesses they control simply need to pay their share. Toronto is a city that belongs to all people not just for those who shop in Yorkville.

Seeing the amount of billionaires (Westons, Thomsons, Munks etc..) that live in Toronto it is a scandal that we are cutting services and demanding that honest working people sacrifice in the name of economy. If Miller won't say it then we damn well should!

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
The citizens of Rosedale, Forest Hill and the businesses they control simply need to pay their share.

 

How, specifically? It's my understanding that aside from Property Taxes, municipalities cannot impose taxes, and certainly not income taxes.

 

I would assume the model is (or was) that the federal and provincial governments tax the income of the citizens of Rosedale and Forest Hill, then pass a portion of that on to the City through transfer payments. What, specifically, are you proposing that would be viable and possible given the restrictions on the municipalities?

Fidel

They could build their own gated and even drawbridge communities for low and not-so low income Canadians in order to keep out the rif-raf American style. Er? Ya!

boomerbsg

create a new property surtax on properties valued over two million dollars for starters. Reverse the policy of cutting taxes on businesses. Increase development fees for the McMansions of Forest Hill, Rosedale and the Bridal Path. Then start looking into the Toronto Act to see what other levies can be applied.

The province and Ottawa will never help out Toronto. Why would they?

Doug

There should certainly be enough opportunity for community groups to do work that CUPE members probably wouldn't be doing anyway. I imagine there's a fair bit of trash ending up in Toronto's ravines, for example.

boomerbsg

Great article from World Socialist Web Site about Toronto strike!

Article

 

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

From said article:

Quote:
Neither strikers nor the general public were ever informed by the union about the full extent of the city’s concessionary demands. Nor was any attempt made to warn and mobilize working people against the wholesale budget and social services cuts that loom on the city’s budgetary horizon. CUPE Local 416 went as far as to cancel a June 23rd membership meeting rather than assemble the rank-and-file for input on the strike strategy. Picket lines are being policed by the union to ensure that rank-and-file workers do not speak to the press and public, thus instilling an attitude of docility among the strikers and preventing them from answering the establishment’s barrage of anti-worker propaganda.

It does seem like the union leadership could be doing a far better job of communicating the issues with both their membership and the public.

Unionist

boomerbsg wrote:

Great article from World Socialist Web Site about Toronto strike!

Article

 

"Great?" Nice time for some armchair observer to be attacking CUPE for seeking "to confine the inside workers’ struggle within the most narrow and politically stultifying collective bargaining framework." And attacking CUPE for not adopting the author's own agenda of making the strike "a spearhead of working class resistance to concessions, layoffs and budget cuts."

Gee thanks for telling workers what they should really be doing.

As for this:

Quote:
Picket lines are being policed by the union to ensure that rank-and-file workers do not speak to the press and public, thus instilling an attitude of docility among the strikers and preventing them from answering the establishment’s barrage of anti-worker propaganda.

This extravagant language seems to indicate total ignorance on the author's part of elementary problems afflicting unions on strike. Media types try to find the most spontaneous offhand comments possible and then spin selectively into "picketers pissed off with strike" or "dissent rising, workers want to return". We saw exactly that out of the Toronto Star and discussed extensively here.

This article is typical of phony allies trying to set the agenda. Perhaps the author will treat us to a series of sanctimonious lectures on how women, LGBT, First Nations, Tamils, and Afghans are doing it all wrong...

 

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Unionist wrote:

This extravagant language seems to indicate total ignorance on the author's part of elementary problems afflicting unions on strike. Media types try to find the most spontaneous offhand comments possible and then spin selectively into "picketers pissed off with strike" or "dissent rising, workers want to return". We saw exactly that out of the Toronto Star and discussed extensively here.

True of course, but somewhat besides the point - or my point, anyway. As an example, better communication might mean providing 'talking points' about the issues for picketers to tell the media when approached.

Unionist

Lard Tunderin Jeezus wrote:

True of course, but somewhat besides the point - or my point, anyway. As an example, better communication might mean providing 'talking points' about the issues for picketers to tell the media when approached.

Your point is well-taken and I totally agree. Unions and their representatives (and indeed leaders of other social movements as well) should be constantly reminded that if they want support, they had better take a minute to explain their issues clearly to the world - otherwise don't complain when they're outmanoeuvred by their enemies. That's positive and constructive criticism, and I think that this particular strike could use it - although I'm first-hand familiar with the challenges of organizing strikes, keeping your ducks in a row, and figuring out how to do PR and education in the thick of battle. Still, it's necessary.

But that's not the point of this armchair author. He is attacking the union for trying to come up with a uniform communication strategy, which he presents as some kind of draconian police-style suppression of the workers ("workers = good, union = bad"). His meme converges with the MSM in eerie ways. I searched for his name on that website, and he's got dozens of articles attacking unions for being too right-wing, too "nationalist", sold out, etc. etc.

 

Fidel

Ontariario has its second phony majority Liberal government in a row and neoliberal ideology turning to rust everywhere. So what's the problem?

Gary Shaul Gary Shaul's picture

As to the veracity of the claim that the city is scab-herding, I think this quote should clear up the matter.

Quote:
Toronto city manager Joe Pennachetti, seeking to get some wind in his sails after having had a rough go of it since the strike began June 22, proudly announced this week that 615 CUPE members have applied to cross the picket line. (National Post - July 16)

 

In my latest blog post - City crosses the line by using scabs - I (regrettably) come to the conclusion that Mayor Miller is engaging in scab-herdering which was enabled by Bill 7 - Mike Harris' 1995 labour law "reform". Wish it weren't so.

Quote:
But progressives who turn their backs on politicians who are the very imperfect best we've got are only fucking themselves.

Idealism is good, but reality is what we have.

Imperfection is one thing. Encouraging workers to cross the picket line is another. In my opinion, a line has been drawn in the sand over this with the entire labour movement, not just two CUPE locals.  Whether anything comes of it, is yet to be determined. 

Sineed

Gary Shaul wrote:

Quote:
But progressives who turn their backs on politicians who are the very imperfect best we've got are only fucking themselves.

Idealism is good, but reality is what we have.

Imperfection is one thing. Encouraging workers to cross the picket line is another. In my opinion, a line has been drawn in the sand over this with the entire labour movement, not just two CUPE locals.  Whether anything comes of it, is yet to be determined. 

By way of rebuttal, I would like to quote your blog:

Quote:
As if all of this is not bad enough coming from so-called progressives, on Tuesday, Cadillac Fairview terminated 61 striking maintenance and skilled trade workers at Toronto's TD Centre. They replaced them with scabs after locking them out on June 14, fired them all on July 14th after 5 weeks on the line and have now permanently hired the scabs to take their place. According to a CBC radio report I heard yesterday, there's a good possibility that the scabs are unionized which makes it even more complicated and ugly.  Here's thefacebook support group and CEP Local 2003 website for more information. 

This is just what the some right-wing commentators and members of the public are suggesting that the City do.  Just fire everyone and replace them with lower paid, probably non-permanent employees.

It isn't just right-wing commentators who are suggesting the CUPE members be fired and replaced with non-union people.  It's a lot of people.  And they're going to be voting for the right-wing candidate next mayoral election, who will then enact this - instead of doing what Miller is doing, letting the negotiations take their natural course.

CUPE needs to be doing A LOT more to communicate its position with real clarity instead of just the usual rhetoric.  

alphasix actual

With regards to people cleaning up their streets and complaining about the amount of garbage, they should take a deep breath and realize that the trash didn't fall from the sky. It's them and their neighbours that are tossing it around. If you and your neighbours are civil you do not let your neighbourhood degenerate into a cesspool. The two of us still have not had to go to the dump.

martin dufresne

"Take a deep breath", are you kidding?!!!

The Toronto Star has a solution to the strike: Bury your nose in the sleeve of your pure-cotton shirt or suitably-scented hanky. Gag me with a rolled-up copy of this paper...

Sineed

Thanks for that, Martin!  That was funny.

The poor, poor perfume expert who suffers strong smells more intensely than most mortals.  Think of how she suffers through this strike.  Maybe the Star can next do a piece on a visual artist whose aesthetics are rudely assaulted by the sight of heaped-up garbage bags in parks.  Or a piece on a sufferer of suriphobia who is terrorized by the thought of the proliferating mouse population.

In this area, the BIA has arranged for former federal inmates, who have to do a certain amount of community service, to clean out the public trash bins.  Apparently it was a positive experience for all involved.

Ghislaine

Protestors prevent chemicals from being sprayed in their [url=http://toronto.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20090722/trash_protest_09... neighbourhoods [/url]:

 

Quote:

 

Some residents in the Campbell Park neighbourhood, one of the garbage protest hotspots, chained themselves together to keep more trash from being dropped there.

The city closed the dump for the night at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, which is the usual time for the temporary dumps in operation during Toronto's civic strike -- which has gone on for 31 days and counting.

Mayor David Miller said Wednesday that Dr. David McKeown, the city's chief medical officer of health, had issued an order requiring pest control to be carried out at the site.

"We've been trying to spray Campbell Park since Sunday. We've been unable to obtain access," he told reporters during a briefing at city hall.

"Hopefully the pickets will comply with the order. If not, we will seek an immediate court injunction."

CTV Toronto's Reshmi Nair said residents told her that they are frustrated about the pesticides, saying they are worried about their health and the environment.

McKeown has said a properly-maintained temporary dump should pose no health risks to neighbourhoods.

Youth in the Campbell Park area, located near Bloor Street and Lansdowne Avenue, spent some of their Wednesday making garbage art, in part to make a point to people bringing trash into their neighbourhood.

 

Unionist

Here's a short but typically incisive piece by Sam Gindin:

[url=http://www.socialistproject.ca/bullet/240.php]The Toronto Municipal Strike: Who Do We Get Mad At?[/url]

Quote:
Where is the anger at the Provincial Liberals or Federal Tories for the cutbacks that were causing the deterioration in local services before the strike? Why is the Mayor of Toronto – our Mayor – not highlighting the pressures Queen’s Park and Ottawa have placed on the city’s budget and perhaps made the present strike virtually inevitable? Why, rather than taking this as a given, is the Mayor not leading a challenge against the policies of higher levels of government – all the more so when the deep recession we’re in increases local needs and when the official policy of all levels of government is to allegedly stimulate the economy. How does cutting back wages stimulate spending? [...]

Is the City’s response to its workforce, which came into this set of negotiations defensively in terms of their overall demands, really about the City’s deficit or is something longer-term at stake? Has the City, encouraged by other politicians and an aggressive business class, decided that this is the moment to exploit the crisis and make longer-term labour-management changes in its favour? Does the strike therefore reflect not a breakdown in negotiations but a conscious strategy on the part of the City Administration?

Stockholm

"It isn't just right-wing commentators who are suggesting the CUPE members be fired and replaced with non-union people.  It's a lot of people.  And they're going to be voting for the right-wing candidate next mayoral election, who will then enact this - instead of doing what Miller is doing, letting the negotiations take their natural course.

CUPE needs to be doing A LOT more to communicate its position with real clarity instead of just the usual rhetoric."

I agree 100% that CUPE's communications strategy in this strike have been the pits. I WANT to be on the side of labour and I find that I get zero information from them that makes it easier for me to be on their side.

As for the rest of this posting - one thing no one seems to have pointed out is that as far as i know know - it is not even remotely LEGAL for the city to do what all these rightwing crackpots keep calling for - namely firing all the strikers and replacing them with non-union people. There are labour laws and labour relations boards etc... I think that if the City of Toronto wanted to arbitrarily fire everyone who's on strike, they would practically have to have the Parliament of Canada and most provincial legislatures invoke the notwithstanding clause and amend the Charter of Rights etc... in short - it ain't gonna happen. Rightwing nutbars like Rob Ford can fulminate all they want - if they were mayor they would have no power whatsoever to do any of the things they seem to think Miller ought to do.

As for the next mayoral election - who knows if Miller will even run again. If I were him, I sure wouldn't, the budget crunch only going to get vastly worse, he may get a council that is even more unworkable etc... whoever is mayor 2010-2014 is going to have make some brutally unpopular decisions. who needs the aggravation?

If Miller does run again, I actually doubt that this strike will be much of a factor in whether he wins or not (unless the strike is still going on in Nov. 2010!). One thing we have learned is that as furious as the public often is about a strike, literally the day after a strike is over - the public is typically so overjoyed at having their garbage collected again, that they forgot that they were ever angry in the first place. By Nov. 2010 - this strike will be so far in the back of the public consciousness that it might as well have happened 50 years ago!

Sineed

Are you sure about that, Stockholm?  After 8 years of GWB and deep into the Harpocon mandate, I'm not so sure that what is generally regarded as illegal and indefensible is impossible.  That is to say, is it really illegal to Reagan-style fire everybody?

The Rob Fords of this world may be buffoons and nutbars.  But Rob Ford keeps on winning elections.

Seriously I doubt anybody's going to fire all the members of CUPE 79 and 416.  But the city could privatize - after all, Doug Holyday privatized garbage collection in Etobicoke before the merger.  And everybody has noticed how Etobicoke is business as usual.

Stockholm

...there are also laws that say that when public servcies get contracted out - unions still represent the workers - so it may be that its "business as usual" in Etobicoke, right now - but there s nothing to stop the people working for the private contractor from going on strike at some point.

Yes, it is illegal to "reagan-style fire everyone". Look at Ottawa. They have an ultra-rightwing mayor etc... and they had a transit strike that went on for three months - surely of the rightwing nutbar mayor of Ottawa thought it was as simple as just firing all the transit workers and hiring replacement workers - he would have done it in a flash. But its totally illegal so in the end there was back to work legislation, binding arbitration and the union got about 90% of what it was demanding.

"The Rob Fords of this world may be buffoons and nutbars.  But Rob Ford keeps on winning elections."

I never said he didn't win elections - just that he doesn't know what he's talking about. If he were mayor of Toronto, there is NOTHING he could do to match his union-bashing rhetoric without breaking the law. MAYBE if Harris were premier he could get the province to legislate the workers back to work with an IMPOSE settlement that was 100% on the side of the city's offer - but such is not the case.

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