Something fishy at the TDSB

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Doug
Something fishy at the TDSB
Maysie Maysie's picture

Some of those costs most certainly serve as exellent anti-union headline-grabbers. This is typical anti-union Toronto Star fare.

"exclusive contract"

"union boss"

etc.

This anti-union crap doesn't belong on babble, Doug, and you know it.

What about the salaries of high-level TDSB administrators? How many school library books and textbooks could be bought if their salaries were shaved by, let's say, 25%?

Something's fishy alright, but it's just the same old bullshit.

And the scare quotes around breakfast club show where the Toronto Star's loyalties lie, and it's sure as hell not with the kids who need those places for some nutritious food. Shame on you, Toronto Star.

Quote:
 A “breakfast club” kitchen: $250,000

 

Unionist

Fuck the taxpayers. My union would have charged them at least 83 hours. They got off cheap, miserable whiners.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I don't see a story in a couple of what look like isolated instances even in this exposé story. Like Maysie, I can't help but note the language of the piece: "union boss," "exclusive contract," etc.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Doug wrote:

A school library really shouldn't have $3,000 charged to its budget to have one power outlet installed.

Certainly and all our skilled trades people should be on call but not paid except for hours worked. [sarcasm alert] 

In BC that is what the BC Liberals do with paramedics. Your statement is a vile piece of corporate propaganda.  But I believe you probably just didn't think it through and didn't realize you were attacking workers.

The question is do our public buildings need trades people to maintain our investment and if the maintenance is required should the trades people expect to make a good living. 

This method of accounting for labour costs highlights what happens when you let MBA's anywhere near public services. You get a focus on numbers and budget lines and nothing else.

6079_Smith_W

What a wierd little story. 

Is it a company? Is it a union? Is is the Union's company? Is it Hazel's. That is never really made clear. If the union holds all this power and principals are scared of them how is it that rules can get changed so that janitors and other companies can do work as well? The kitchen job was another company entirely. So who is really to blame for the cost overruns? 

How is a maintenance company going to force a principal out of his or her job? 

And at least Hazel is talking to the press, unlike the board. 

And the quote from the sign company - were they aware that the installation involved tearing up concrete? Because $2,000 seems kind of cheap.

I wouldn't say there isn't a story there; in fact there's probably more than one, but that piece sure isn't designed to get to the bottom of it. 

One thing is for sure - they sure knew who to call to get the juicy quote, which I suspect is their real story. I wonder if he gave it to them right away, or if they had to badger him for awhile to get it.

 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Quote:

The TDSB’s chief facilities officer, Angelos Bacopoulos, said in an interview that the board realizes they have a serious problem.

“How widespread it is, I do not know,” Bacopoulos said.

He is trying to fix the system, but faces opposition from the union. The contract with the union expires this August and negotiations will begin in September, a TDSB spokesperson said.

The only part of the story that is relevant is contained in the above quote. Opening salvo in what looks to be a viscious attack on the union and its members.  Good work by the spin doctors dedicated to winning the race to the bottom.

Grandpa_Bill

Maysie wrote:

What about the salaries of high-level TDSB administrators? How many school library books and textbooks could be bought if their salaries were shaved by, let's say, 25%?

Good point: how many books and textbooks?

Some union could make this question the basis of a bargaining point.

 

MegB

The whole story sounds fishy to me. It's short on factual details and long on not so subtle union-bashing and innuendo directed against TDSB administrators.  Not that either shouldn't be subject to scrutiny, but I question the motive of the article. 

6079_Smith_W

Rebecca West wrote:

...and innuendo directed against TDSB administrators. 

I can see your point, but they fail to hold them to account. They seem to be portayed as being victims of a bullying and abusive union (with no evidence to back it up), when in fact the board sets the terms and the budget and is presumably responsible for dealing with any problems in the system. The administrators refuse to talk about some important points,  and the elected officials are left completely out of the picture. 

On the other hand, the writer seems fine with including an example of work by other companies, and not bothering to even contact them; instead leaving the union rep (is his title really "boss", I wonder?) to deny that they had anything to do with it.  Would I call up Mayor Don Atchison to ask about the Omnibus Bill just so I could print his denial? What's that all about? 

 

MegB

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Rebecca West wrote:

...and innuendo directed against TDSB administrators. 

I can see your point, but they fail to hold them to account. They seem to be portayed as being victims of a bullying and abusive union (with no evidence to back it up), when in fact the board sets the terms and the budget and is presumably responsible for dealing with any problems in the system. The administrators refuse to talk about some important points,  and the elected officials are left completely out of the picture. 

On the other hand, the writer seems fine with including an example of work by other companies, and not bothering to even contact them; instead leaving the union rep (is his title really "boss", I wonder?) to deny that they had anything to do with it.  Would I call up Mayor Don Atchison to ask about the Omnibus Bill just so I could print his denial? What's that all about? 

Agreed.  At best it's sloppy, lazy journalism.

A 900+ group of 'construction workers'?  With an exclusive contract with the TDSB?  While not all work for the public sector has to have an RFP, all jobs do have to go through submission of proposal, regardless of what the policy is around the extent and budget of the project. 

Of course there is corruption around the selection of contractors, but 'exclusive' contracting most certainly isn't allowed, even if it can be covered up.  This article simply doesn't supply any factual information to support the vague accusations it makes.

6079_Smith_W

And here's what in the story is being referred to as "an unusual organization, sort of a construction company with an exclusive contract with the public board":

http://tradescouncil.com/about.htm 

Though how can it be exclusive if the story contains several examples which disprove that?

And there are all these references to "the union" . Look at the list.

What a fucked up story. Unfortunately it is tailor-made for people who are not so interested in the facts, but very interested in  rhetoric which  backs up their biases.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Probably the Koch brothers are exercising some influence. Hey, as long as sloppy journalism and unfounded allegations are being thrown around... Tongue out

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Who cares about the facts when a smear sells more papers.  To reiterate this is about the contract talks coming up and the corporate media is playing its role in setting the stage for a hard ball approach by the TDSB's high priced negotiating team.

Quote:

A recent Toronto Star article attempted to cast a doubtful eye on pricing for jobs undertaken by the TDSB's maintenance and construction skilled trades employees. The story focused on five customer complaints out of approximately 190,000 annual work orders received by the TDSB's maintenance and construction division. All the complaints were previously known and reviewed by TDSB supervisors and where resolved to the customers satisfaction. One complaint centered on a job that was completed by a private sector contractor, not the TDSB.

Despite having the facts, the Toronto Star's headline story on the pencil sharpener ignored them. The charge for the pencil sharpener to a school was reversed in 2011 after a review of the job they found that a TDSB supervisor sent a carpenter to the job when it should have been done by the school's Caretaker. The school was not charged for the work due to the error.

TDSB supervisors had to remind the Principal to use Caretakers for minor jobs. Ironically, the same Principal complained to the Star about the charge and later admitted in a conference call with TDSB supervisors and the Board's skilled trades union that he did not disclose to the Star that the charge had been reversed back in November 2011.

The Star also knowingly omitted this fact from its story even though the email transcript between the Star and the Council clearly shows the Star knew that the charge was reversed and the school did not pay it.

http://tradescouncil.com/media.htm

Doug

I don't want their work contracted out. I just want it to be done efficiently so that the TDSB can concentrate its resources on what it's there to do - education. If the school board allows inefficiency, it's ultimately bad for everyone. Defending inefficiency in public services just helps people to give up one the idea of public services entirely.

6079_Smith_W

I don't think anyone is defending inefficiency. 

To my mind, even if there is a problem of inefficiency, I wouldn't trust the information in that article, and it raised far more questions (and confusing ones at that) than answers.

 

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

redundant

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Doug wrote:

I don't want their work contracted out. I just want it to be done efficiently so that the TDSB can concentrate its resources on what it's there to do - education. If the school board allows inefficiency, it's ultimately bad for everyone. Defending inefficiency in public services just helps people to give up one the idea of public services entirely.

You just feel for the Star's propaganda hook line and sinker.  Did you not read the response from the union?  Efficiency has been used as a catch phrase to beat workers over the head for decades now.  Do you not realize the quickest way to make a worker more "efficient" is to cut their pay and benefits?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Thanks for posting that union response, kropotkin. In conclusion, fuck the Star.

Doug

I still think there's something for the TDSB to look into, even if the result is just to change procedures. Anyway, it's obvious this writer went and did some digging on this TDSB union for whatever reason. There's now a second article about maintenance workers supposedly being pressured into campaigning for school trustees and Liberal MPPs.

6079_Smith_W

Any other media touched this story? 

I couldn't find anything.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Doug wrote:

I still think there's something for the TDSB to look into, even if the result is just to change procedures. Anyway, it's obvious this writer went and did some digging on this TDSB union for whatever reason. There's now a second article about maintenance workers supposedly being pressured into campaigning for school trustees and Liberal MPPs.

The second article uses "union boss" and still the phoney baloney story about the pencil sharpener. Those two things in the first paragraphs told me clearly that this is an attack piece directed at working people and their organizations. Who the fuck do you think is the right authority to investigate a union's internal affairs?  This is a smear campaign in the lead up to bargaining and you are promoting it on a progressive site.  What is your point in continuing to republish this kind of drivel? It is ant-worker, anti-union bullshit. 

No wonder this country is run by right wing assholes from Ottawa to Victoria to Quebec City, when seemingly intelligent people get sucked into a debate that is framed within a set of parameters that presumes there is a problem with the union boss and these union workers.  The right wing talking heads say look over here don't look at the real problems in our economy and provision of services lets all bash unions instead of pointing at right wing politicians and their corporate handlers. 

We have serious problems in the provision of public services but it is not this contract.  The public service house is burning down and this Star reporter in discussing the solution to arson thinks the key issue is the amount of standby time a firefighter gets paid.

Doug

Unions can have problems the way any other organization made up of human beings can. Indeed, the piece you mentioned in the labour forum on the SEIU shows that. Also like any other organization, sometimes they aren't motivated to fix those problems without public exposure. If the allegations are true, how is it pro-worker to deny your fellow members working hours because they wouldn't campaign for a Liberal MPP? If they aren't true, I expec the Star and the reporters involved will be facing a substantial defamation suit.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

This story is written form an anti-union perspective. It is in the language all the way through the article.  Its allegations are all from anonymous sources.

My union gives money to school board candidates. I received money from unions including CUPE when I ran for school board.  This article implies that a union giving money to candidates is somehow sleazy.  Not illegal of course just under handed.  The union is not one man and to go on and on about this union boss and his affiliates is deliberately misleading.  The whole fucking article asserts that this union is not an organization with various executives but a one man show run as a petty dictatorship. 

Given this posted on the union's website there seems to be a major disconnect.  As a unionist activist this kind of hatchet job is old hat.  Just more MSM union bashing.  I wonder what kind of perks this reporter is getting for the story and who is paying them?

Quote:

The TDSB's skilled trades division was the first public sector trade union in Canada to receive the National Quality Institute Award of Merit. We were the first public sector trade union to received ISO 9002 registration. These achievements and recognition come with rigorous, comprehensive and independent examinations of business practices and customer standards, expectations and outcomes.

Summer

deleted.  posted in wrong forum

Doug

This is very curious too, though I see the blame falling on the TDSB and the provincial government here rather than the union for not making sure funds that are supposed to be for professional development are spent properly.

The trades council has apparently given out electronics shop gift cards to its members worth at least $253,000 - the money being from a budget for professional development activities. Can't really blame the union for accepting free stuff that the school board and province are providing.