Schism in Toronto CUPE strike: Summer workers start petition to get legislated back to work

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Unionist

Even keel wrote:

Not everyone is born with a perfect knowledge of labour rights, and this should be a safe(r) place to bring up these issues and have them debated.

We're not sticklers for academic prowess and scholarly perfection here. When someone says: "Force those people to work on pain of incarceration or fines, so that I can make my money this summer!", then this is not a safe place to bring up or to debate that view. You see, every other place in this society which degrades and devalues workers is a "safe" place to spew such classist and enslaving venom - from the mainstream media, to the legislative assemblies, to the classrooms at all levels of our educational systems, you name it. Here, we have built a place, just one lousy little forum on babble, where we expect it to be taken for granted that workers are not to be treated like slaves.

If that's unacceptable to you, then I strongly suggest that you get lost.

Quote:
If this is the kind of communicative tone the labour rights movement intends to have in Canada -- then I predict a poor future for it.

Oh, boo hoo, we ought to maintain some "tone" in defending one of the most basic rights a human being ought to have - to work or not to work for some boss - otherwise you, in your first post here, will look down from your pinnacle and lecture us about "toxicity". Go have a cool drink and think about what human freedom means.

 

josh

"In a rare, high-stakes bid to end the strike, Mayor David Miller has gone over the heads of union leaders to give Torontonians and city workers details of a new offer that includes a 7.2-per-cent pay raise over four years.

The mayor's gambit was denounced by the presidents of Locals 79 and 416 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, who said they were "disgusted" and rejected the slightly sweeter proposal."

 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/miller-skirts-union-reveals-details-of-deal/article1215095/
If only Toronto had a mayor with an NDP background, there wouldn't be such anti-union tactics. Oh, wait . . . .

Refuge Refuge's picture

Even keel wrote:

Calling people assholes,

I don't believe anyone here called him an ass, I believe that they were calling him by the name that he choose self_important_ass

Stargazer

People are fuming at Mayor Miller on Facebook. These people are NOT pro-worker. They are anti-union, selfish asses and I am about the only person (short of perhaps two) that is on the side of the unions. I'm getting hammered by right wing idiots who actually beleive these workers should be paid less because they collect garbage and don't have a university education. They are disgusting! I hate getting all worked up but shoot, this is really depressing. Is this a representative of the majority? Who are these people to drive from the burbs in their gas hogging cars, dump all over Toronto then split back to the burbs giving us all the finger? And to these fools, it's all about garbage. Nothing else. The city doesn't look like hell, I know it but to hear these people speak you'd think we were wallowing in garbage downtown.

I can't keep this up on Facebook alone.

Refuge Refuge's picture

dp

Unionist

Refuge wrote:

Even keel wrote:

Calling people assholes,

I don't believe anyone here called him an ass, I believe that they were calling him by the name that he choose self_important_ass

Sorry to contradict you Refuge. I began upthread by calling him a self-important ass, you're right, and then he appeared. Once he came here and lectured us - and said in one breath that he supported the right to strike and in another that he wanted this strike crushed by legislation - I dubbed him "asshole". I repeat that characterization here, for the record, so that there is no possible confusion. He is not an ally, he is not confused, he is on the other side of the trench and his calls for crushing workers' rights have no place here.

 

Skinny Dipper

I just read the petition at the top.  It seems like the summer student workers do belong to the union.  Yes, I do belong to a union.  However, I would never take any action that would contradict my union's position.  This includes creating or signing a petition demanding that the government legislate the workers back to work.  If one is pissed off at the union's position, talk to the executive privately.

Unionist

Skinny Dipper wrote:

 If one is pissed off at the union's position, talk to the executive privately.

And/or go to the membership meeting and speak out in front of everyone. Or lobby the other members to support your position. That's what the rest of us have to do. But once a decision is taken, unite behind it.

A_J

Toronto Star wrote:
On Thursday afternoon, the union instituted a minimum 15-minute wait time and three-bag limit per vehicle at dumpsites across the city.

However, the union's hardball approach has sparked mutiny among its members. The Star visited eight dumpsites and transfer stations across Toronto yesterday. Strikers were forcing residents to wait at only three locations.

"The higher-ups want us to be more rigorous, but our fight isn't with these people," one picket captain said.

Another captain called the protocols frustrating.

"It's stupid. One minute they tell us they want to get the public on our side, then they turn and do this," he said. "We have people who are 75, 80 years old in the line. These are my parents, my grandparents. I don't want them waiting."

The picketers asked that their names and locations not be used for fear of reprisal from the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Locals 79 and 416, which represent roughly 30,000 civic workers on strike.

Several pickets said they only institute the restrictions when union supervisors are on site.

"When we do it, we just see tempers grow. It's not worth it," a striking employee said.

remind remind's picture

They should do neural linguistic tests to ensure those who fall into the social approval designation, do not man pickets. And I am being serious.

Refuge Refuge's picture

Unionist wrote:

Sorry to contradict you Refuge. I began upthread by calling him a self-important ass, you're right, and then he appeared. Once he came here and lectured us - and said in one breath that he supported the right to strike and in another that he wanted this strike crushed by legislation - I dubbed him "asshole". I repeat that characterization here, for the record, so that there is no possible confusion. He is not an ally, he is not confused, he is on the other side of the trench and his calls for crushing workers' rights have no place here. 

Well, irregardless of your irritation of him he participated in making the ass or self apointed ass (or some other variation therin) his name by  taking it on himself so it can hardly be used against anyone here at babble.  Just as threatening someone that they need to follow the policy of babble or lest they are kicked off (when the policy of babble is follow it or get kicked off) is a little silly.  Why should people not refer to him as ass when he took on the name and why should he not have to follow babble policy just because he started the stupid ignorant petition.  I don't refer to anyone as ass even if I am irritated (or some stronger emotion) with them, unless they ask me to.

1weasel

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1weasel

More lazy reporting from The Toronto Star's Nick Aveling in today's paper.  The headline reads:

 

Cracks in union resolve as strike nears Week 4 520 workers decide to cross picket lines as others refuse to endorse 'stupid' dump site wait times

"As Toronto enters Day 21 of a strike that has stopped garbage collection, curbed municipal services and shut down scores of daycare centres, more than 520 striking city employees have decided to cross their own picket lines and go back to work, city officials say."

 

 

However, Aveling later says: "

Exactly which workers - inside or outside, full-time or part-time - have crossed the lines is unclear. Also unclear is how many of their requests to return to work have been granted. A city spokesperson declined to comment, and Daley said the union does not keep track."

 

Of course, that reveal is buried deep in the "article".

Ghislaine

A_J wrote:

Toronto Star wrote:
On Thursday afternoon, the union instituted a minimum 15-minute wait time and three-bag limit per vehicle at dumpsites across the city.

However, the union's hardball approach has sparked mutiny among its members. The Star visited eight dumpsites and transfer stations across Toronto yesterday. Strikers were forcing residents to wait at only three locations.

"The higher-ups want us to be more rigorous, but our fight isn't with these people," one picket captain said.

Another captain called the protocols frustrating.

"It's stupid. One minute they tell us they want to get the public on our side, then they turn and do this," he said. "We have people who are 75, 80 years old in the line. These are my parents, my grandparents. I don't want them waiting."

The picketers asked that their names and locations not be used for fear of reprisal from the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Locals 79 and 416, which represent roughly 30,000 civic workers on strike.

Several pickets said they only institute the restrictions when union supervisors are on site.

"When we do it, we just see tempers grow. It's not worth it," a striking employee said.

 

What is the point of instituting a mandatory 15 min. wait if there is no line? I cannot see how those would help the union's position whatsoever. If union member are scared to use their names when discussing this, I doubt they would feel comfortable speaking out at meetings, as unionist suggests.

Unionist

Ghislaine wrote:

If union member are scared to use their names when discussing this, I doubt they would feel comfortable speaking out at meetings, as unionist suggests.

Yes, they're comfortable speaking with a Toronto Star reporter, but not to their own co-workers. That's because workers who get up in union meetings and say, "I think this 15-min thing won't help - I have alternative ideas for tactics to build support", will probably be assaulted on their way out of the meeting and find their home burned to the ground and their family held hostage.

Or, is that not the stereotype you had in mind, Ghislaine?

You have obviously never been a union member nor attended a union meeting in your life. Why not, instead of drawing conclusions from reading MSM propaganda, just ask a few questions about subjects you know nothing about.

Ghislaine

Unionist wrote:

Ghislaine wrote:

If union member are scared to use their names when discussing this, I doubt they would feel comfortable speaking out at meetings, as unionist suggests.

 

You have obviously never been a union member nor attended a union meeting in your life. Why not, instead of drawing conclusions from reading MSM propaganda, just ask a few questions about subjects you know nothing about.

I have been a union member, with UPSE here with the provincial gov't and with IATSE. I have attended union meetings with both and worked on devising a public response to government cuts to early childhood programs with UPSE members. I am currently non-unionized fed. crown corp (which enjoys union-level benefits due to the efforts of PSAC). 

Why not, instead of drawing conclusions about people who you don't know, just answer the questions?

I will take your advice and ask a few questions:
Is the union's decision to have min. 15 minute wait times MSM Propaganda? If it isn't, why would they make such a decision?

Are the comments from union members in that article MSM propaganda? Could you imagine for one moment that striking members might legitimately not want to enforce these new measures?

Michelle

Ghislaine, there's a big difference between discussing tactics at a union meeting and breaking solidarity to criticize the tactics the union decided upon publicly to a Toronto Star reporter.

The time to raise objections to tactics used IS at the union meeting during strategizing time.  Or by calling a meeting now and saying that they don't want to alienate the public and that this tactic isn't working if they feel it needs to stop.  The time to raise objections is NOT on the picket line, talking to a reporter who will then use it to undermine the bargaining position of the local during a strike.  Those anonymous picketers have now given the city public relations ammunition by invoking the stereotype of "union bosses" facing a revolt by the "membership", at a time when public opinion is already against the union and being flamed by the mayor and the media.  Why help the other side?

remind remind's picture

Here is the link for 1weasel's snippet above. Loath though I am to go to The Star, but will use it as an opportunity  to find their advertisrs in order to write them letters of boycott of their products and services.

My Cat Knows Better My Cat Knows Better's picture

 

I'm sure the people who started this petition believe that they are going to be able to overturn the wishes of the majority, and it was a majority of Union members who voted to withhold their services, but has anyone taken the time to see what the law states with regard to this. Check the Ontario Labour Relations Act, (1995). Those who believe the city simply is able to terminate all or part of the Union's bargaining rights are dreaming. Just for example, under Termination of Bargaining Rights during a labour dispute, nothing can be done for at least six months. At that point it would take forty percent of the entire bargaining unit stating that they wish to decertify. That would get you a supervised vote. It isn't going to happen.

http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_95l01_e.htm

Mick

I'm no fan of back to work legislation, but unless the City Administration is ready to remove its demands for take-aways and concessions in the contract and reach a negotiated contract, wouldn't the back to work legislation also make binding arbitration mandatory?

What would the likely outcome of government mandated binding arbitration be for the workers?

Would it be the status quo contract? A lesser contract? More or less than the City's latest offer? Or even a better contract than could reasonably be expected to be negotiated?

 

Unionist

Ghislaine wrote:

I have been a union member, with UPSE here with the provincial gov't and with IATSE. I have attended union meetings with both and worked on devising a public response to government cuts to early childhood programs with UPSE members.

The reason I said you have never been to a union meeting was your idle speculation that picketers were "SCARED" to raise their views. I guess you must have lived in fear when you attended your union meetings?

 

My Cat Knows Better My Cat Knows Better's picture

Mick wrote:

What would the likely outcome of government mandated binding arbitration be for the workers?

Would it be the status quo contract? A lesser contract? More or less than the City's latest offer? Or even a better contract than could reasonably be expected to be negotiated?

Usually, but not always, the Union will achieve a better contract monetarily than they would be able to negotiate, especially during a recession. Arbitrators tend to apply industry patterns when making their determinations about what is fair. Back to work legislation tends to poison future negotiations. One side or the other will decide there is no sense bargaining when the province will send them back to work and they will "roll the dice" that the arbitrated settlement will be to their advantage. Collective bargaining works best for both sides when they come to a mutual consensus.

Unionist

Great column as usual by Antonia Zerbisias - thanks, writer.

Hey - will the Star be apologizing for this one as well? Undecided

 

johnpauljones

also their was an amazing article by a 16 year old highschool student who is a lifeguard. she wrote about being on strike with 79.

 

 

writer writer's picture

Enough trash talk about striking workers

They are public health nurses who care for new mothers, the poor and those with sexually transmitted diseases.

They look after the weak and fragile in the city's homes for the aged – and, by the way, these people have no right to strike.

They put their lives on the line and yet, considering the salary increases being offered to them in comparison with what the mostly male-dominated police and fire fighters have won, they are being insulted, if not outright discriminated against.

"During the SARS crisis, during the Legionnaire's Disease crisis, our members continued to go in there," Dembinski tells me. "They pick something up, they don't get a single day in sick time."

Just because they are invisible, both in their jobs and during this strike, does not mean their work is not as valuable or necessary as that performed by the police and firefighters.

It's just that their front lines are different.

Their picket lines should not be ignored just because they perform what too many people think of as "women's work."

Walk a few hours in their shoes, will you?

Show some support.

writer writer's picture
johnpauljones

thanks writer...got stuck actually doing work for a bit and did not have a chance to post story

nussy

I took my morning walk and I noticed the grass was cut on the boulevards along Steeles and Bayview (on the Toronto side). Is this work done by private contractors? Paving work seems to going on as before as well. 

RANGER

My Cat Knows Better wrote:

Mick wrote:

What would the likely outcome of government mandated binding arbitration be for the workers?

Would it be the status quo contract? A lesser contract? More or less than the City's latest offer? Or even a better contract than could reasonably be expected to be negotiated?

Usually, but not always, the Union will achieve a better contract monetarily than they would be able to negotiate, especially during a recession. Arbitrators tend to apply industry patterns when making their determinations about what is fair. Back to work legislation tends to poison future negotiations. One side or the other will decide there is no sense bargaining when the province will send them back to work and they will "roll the dice" that the arbitrated settlement will be to their advantage. Collective bargaining works best for both sides when they come to a mutual consensus.

 

 

 

 

I was in Toronto the other day and nothing like the smell of hot piss! whew!, I had a nice chat with one of the picketers at city hall and warned them about binding arbitration, I've been through it and I would bet to a member would have rather gone down swinging then agreed to this draconian situation:

 

 

 

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2003/dec2003/ferr-d18.shtml

Doug

nussy wrote:

I took my morning walk and I noticed the grass was cut on the boulevards along Steeles and Bayview (on the Toronto side). Is this work done by private contractors? Paving work seems to going on as before as well. 

I'm not sure about the grass-cutting, but paving work is contracted-out.

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