strike

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other than the grass getting too long for ultimate... has anyone been affected by the civic strike? whats it going to take to solve this stand off?

Affected, yes... but mostly in a good way.

I now have a composter in my yard and have been able to cut my garbage down from between one-and-a-half and two bags a week (small kitchen canister sized, not massive green babies) to less than one a week. And that's easy to store in a corner and wait for the strike to end to get rid of it... or take it to the dump when it gets large enough to make the trip.

Other than being more careful to not throw out stuff that'll get too stinky, I haven't actually noticed.

Hi,

I'm one of those city workers - with the Public Library - on strike...for such radical issues as women being paid the same wage for doing the same work as a man (which is incredibly still an issue in Canada in the year 2007). Part of earning my meagre strike pay has been to document the experiences and issues of Library workers on the picket lines. You can view one of the videos I've made in this regard at the link.

If you are so moved please consider setting aside half an hour of your time and write a letter to each member of the Vancouver city council, urging them to use their influence to get our employer - the City - to return to the table in good faith. And that your vote in 2008 will depend on their action or inaction.

Such letters, I'm told by those in the know, actually carry weight.

Cheers and thanks

I've been talking with a few different people who believe that the city wanted this strike , and that they plan to keep the workers out on strike for 6 -8 weeks. If this is true then writing letters may not speed up the process.

The reason the city planned the strike, depending on who you talk to, is either simply to save money in order to pay for the next CUPE contract, or else its to put the employees in a financially desperate position so that there will be less resistance to forcing new concessions such as contracting out and "the olympic partnership program". (which would turn city employees over to the charge of VANOC during the games).

I'm not convinced yet because I am skeptical of conspiracy theories and if this is true then it seems to be a very unethical way to manage basic HR issues. But then again, it does seem as though the City bargaining committe spends more time spinning PR than bargaining.

Any thoughts?

I had written up a long post, but in the end decided not to post it for the following reasons:

a) Both sides appear to be acting like blubbering babies. Both sides are full of rhetoric and not solutions. Neither side is negotiating in good faith what so ever (or alternatively both sides see this as simply part of the negotiation dance)

b) Anything said that could be construed as critical of one side could easily result in either decreased services or black-balling (or getting beat up) should the criticism be tied to a posters real name.

My only question though is whether or not it's true that women have a different pay scale than men for seniority and position.

Dugly writes: Neither side is negotiating in good faith what so ever

I would be very interested in how you feel the CUPE unions are not acting in "good faith". My own local - 391 - has presented numerous offers in an attempt to get negotiations started.

I can point to a number of actions by the City of Vancouver that indicate, to me at least, bad faith:

1. Not turning up for scheduled negotiations, for one. Our bargaining committee sat in an empty room for 65 hours over 5 days simply waiting.

2. Mayor Sullivan's accusation that the unions were planning on holding the city hostage prior to the Olympics based on "union documents he had seen". These documents have never been produced. I have never seen them. Our leadership has never, ever said this was there plan and have always indicated a deal that lasted beyond the Olympics would be acceptable.

3. The CoV's insistence on continuing to offer the same deal even though it had already been rejected by CUPE 15 members in a ratification vote by 89%.

Etc. There are many others. If one wants to understand the City's strategy, Google "Boulwareism" to get a better idea. Particularly damning, in my view, is how the other municipalities quickly abandoned Vancouver's hardline and entered into good faith negotiations with their workers.

I see I have to break up replies.

Part 2:

Dugly writes: "Anything said that could be construed as critical of one side could easily result in either decreased services or black-balling (or getting beat up) should the criticism be tied to a posters real name."

It's certainly true that while during the Great Depression unionized workers were beaten up by police and hired "police specials" in Vancouver (for example, the Battle of Ballantyne Pier), this rarely had anything to do with simply "speaking out publically". I would ask Dugly to provide one instance, just one, in Vancouver's recent history where a member of the public has been beaten up - by one side or the other - simply for public criticism of their positions in a labour dispute...or in other instance. This is libelous towards both City and Unions alike. On the other hand I, as a city worker, am expressly forbidden from commentary critical of the city government in rules brought in under Sam Sullivan, in an attempt to muzzle workers over Olympic mismanagement (and which is why the City refuses to discuss whistleblower protection). It's quite likely such rules violate the Charter, nevertheless they exist.

I would ask the same for "blackballing" or "decreased services".

Dugly writes: "My only question though is whether or not it's true that women have a different pay scale than men for seniority and position."

I didn't write "women have a different pay scale than men for seniority and position". According the Statistics Canada, the average woman in Canada in 2003 earned 71% of what the average man did (and this is down from 72.2% in 1998). Librarians - a traditionally female dominated job (the Vancouver Public Library's workforce currently is 85% female) - do similar work as other traditionally male-dominated jobs in the public and private sectors, yet are not compensated accordingly. In fact, a librarian is the lowest paid position in Vancouver that requires a masters degree. Pay Equity is a method in which to achieve a gender neutral determination of the actual worth of a job. British Columbia is the last Canadian province not to enact Pay Equity legislation, which has led to Vancouver municipal librarians to be significantly underpaid compared to their counterparts in other provinces, and in the educational and private sectors. I've attached our local's presentation on Pay Equity at the link.

I would note that the City of Vancouver management positions felt this issue was significantly important to enact Pay Equity for it's non-unionized workers. I note, too, that other municipalities have begun the process of enacting Pay Equity, such as Burnaby and Port Moody.

Shoeless Joe writes: "I've been talking with a few different people who believe that the city wanted this strike"

The City's motivation for it's actions remains a mystery. However, the taxpayer has power over the civic government: your vote counts. If Sam Sullivan wants to be mayor during the 2010 opening ceremonies - and I believe he desperately does - then letters from voters do count. I would also add that you should demand a refund on your taxes for withheld services.

1) I quite like that garbage collection has halted in the city, it is beneficial to society for people to see how much garbage we actually spew forth over a short time. This should be done every year. Great to have people out of their comfort zone when it is obscene what we are comfortable with.

2) This taxpayer refund is garbage, pure ignorance. I, and many others who are affected by the strike are renters, and although our rents allow landowners to pay their taxes, we are losing services because of the strike. If there is a surplus, this should not only be given back to those who are by definition richer than the rest of us. Another case of being socialist when it comes to burdens in BC, and capitalist when it comes to gains.

"This taxpayer refund is garbage, pure ignorance."

Pure ignorance? That's a great way to state your opinion.

I live in Vancouver and aside from long grass last night at the fields, I haven't noticed a thing. True, I don't use day care or other services that are currently unavailable, but this strike is seemingly having little effect on many people. I seem to remember the garbage strike of a few years ago to have caused much more whining and complaining...

ignorance = lack of knowledge. I'll stand by that assertion, and meant it in the most loving of ways.

Men had more leverage in wage negotiations for decades, so these positions are now paid more. Those positions were granted pay increases based on women not being paid fairly. Is it fair to reduce the income of traditionally male jobs to allow traditionally female jobs to catch up? Of course it is.

Actually 2shoes, you did say that women weren't getting paid the same as men. In fact, here's your quote (you can refer to your own post to verify this)

"for such radical issues as women being paid the same wage for doing the same work as a man (which is incredibly still an issue in Canada in the year 2007)."

I see that you're only interested in pushing your party line. I might as well ask Sam Sullivan for some insight. You state that I'm being libelous for stating my concern that you or people you associate with will treat me differently should any criticism of your union be linked to me. Well, I'm afraid you've already proven my point.

Take your rhetoric back to the bargaining table, I couldn't care less. Jerks who treat other people with no respect deserve none from me. Your position and attitude give me even less sympathy. When this strike began I had held out hope that both sides would work towards an agreement, now I see that neither side is willing to. The issue has become too politicized and polarized. It's either "with us or against us" (regardless of which side the 'us' in question is)

Dugly, I agree the issue has become too politicized. And thats unfortunate because the politics are obscuring the real issues of the strike.

There really are two separate battle fields, the actual bargaining and the PR. The real agendas dont seem to get much media attention. Most of the crap about what was offered, who broke off talks or who invited who to the table is simply posturing to massage public support. The City is more skilled at using the media. CUPE might do well to hire a PR consultant.

For me the interesting questions surrounding this strike are
1. Is CUPE asking for a fair deal?
2. Is the City's tactic of non-negotiation (Boulwareism) instead of traditional bargaining effective? Or is it causing unnecassary inconvenience to the citizens of Vancouver?

One more thing. I didnt get the impression that 2shoes was disrespectful in his/her reply... I'm suprised you did.

Dugly writes: "Actually 2shoes, you did say that women weren't getting paid the same as men."

I did. But that's a long way from your claim that I said "women have a different pay scale than men for seniority and position"...that a woman in the same organization in the same position would be paid differently than a man in the same.

I see you are unable or unwilling to provide actual evidence to back up your assertion that you would face some sort of retribution, including physical violence, if you were not anonymous on this board. And, from someone who entered this thread calling each side "blubbering babies", I find the accusation of being disrespectful uncompelling.

As for being either "with us or against us" note I simply requested people write City Council to urge the City to enter good faith negotiations. I'll leave it to the audience at home to decide whether Dugly's characterization is accurate.

Cruzee writes: "This taxpayer refund is garbage, pure ignorance."

I tend to agree that a renter would not see a taxpayer refund reflected in a reduction of rent. However, it does take away the motivation to withhold services (which you are paying for indirectly through your rent).

I wish you luck finding a deal that you and your employer find fair.

"Men had more leverage in wage negotiations for decades, so these positions are now paid
more. Those positions were granted pay increases based on women not being paid fairly. Is it
fair to reduce the income of traditionally male jobs to allow traditionally female jobs to catch
up? Of course it is."

I don't think that's fair, or a sensible solution. Robbing Peter to pay Patty in a city with
billions in surplus funds will only hurt working families who are already struggling to get by.
For most of us (GVRDers) with familial responsibilities, a household income of less than
$100,000 a year makes it a struggle to provide for today and plan for the future.

Your assertion Cruzee -- that male workers have been taking the wages of female workers is
an interesting statement, but I'd ask you to provide some basis for that belief and remind you
that men, as the main breadwinners in most N. Amer. households for a number of decades,
had a greater need for, and more power to, demand a fair wage. Pitting male against female
workers when the real enemy is the greedhead capitalists who are destroying our planet and
its variegated cultures in the relentless pursuit of a global consumer mono-culture will only
hasten the downward trend we see now -- where a few haves accumulate much, while have-
nots have little or nothing.

Which is not to say capitalism a priori is bad, but certainly many of its practitioners would
have done well to have studied ethics and ecology with the same fervour they have embraced
economics, esp. the Neo-conservatives.

For anyone interested in castigating Sammy (or congratulating him) send him an email and tell him what you think. Here's his address:
sam.sullivan@vancouver.ca

Just a couple of issues to add to the discussion:

1) "The City is more skilled at using the media." They are because they have hired a private PR firm called the wilcox group which is costing taxpayers thousands of dollars. They have also been running full page ads in the papers to tell their side of the story (which isnt cheap!). funny also is that the wilcox group also does PR for canwest global, owners of the vancouver sun and province. hmm!

2) There are lots of rumors on either side about why the strike is still on.. people say the city wants to prolong the strike to save money for the olympics.. people say the union wants to prolong the strike to get a better contract then neighbouring unions, which have "me too" clauses (which basically mean if vancouver gets a better settlement, they will also be entitled to that same settlement)

3)The GVRD bargaining committee has not been involved or even present at many of the contacts that were agreed to in other cities. Richmond, one of the first to settle, opted out of the GVRD bargaining committee long ago. however, vancouver seems to still think they are needed

4)The city has tabled two contracts recently but again expects them to be final offers (not negotiated). the union will respond on monday so we'll see what happens

5)i really like those videos!

emd By emd
emd By emd

And to wade into the fray a little...I sure am getting tired of seeing "mandatory" raises in the public sector. I don't get mandatory raises at work. I do get them if I earn them, but mandatory?

Bah, I don't want to get into my rant...needless to say I am not a huge fan of unions. I do understand why they exist, I just don't like what they have become.

Unions are arguably less powerful now than a decade or two ago. Given your bias I would
think you'd be loving "what they have become" EMD!

Public sector raises aren't mandatory. They're negotiated, like most other union contracts.
There are times when contracts have little or no pay raise (in both public and private sector
unions) so I think your characterization of raises as 'mandatory' is off the mark.

You're not a huge fan of unions we know. How about health and safety rules, vacation and
sick time, parental leave, and the excellent money you make in your field? All those things
came about because as some point collective bargaining set the standard that non-union
employers have to meet as well. Non-union employees also get some of the trickle-down
advantages, but they don't have to go on strike, or pay union dues, to get them. You're
welcome free-loader! ;-)

Any city that can spend hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars to fund a two week party
can also find the money to deliver increases of a few percent per year IMO. Any union
that negotiated a long contract in this uncertain economic climate without attempting to
maximize its members' return on their investment of time and labour, would be failing in its
duty (to its members) just as surely as a corporation that
failed to try to maximize its profits would be failing in its mandate (to make money for
shareholders).

not to mention non unionized public service workers always getting their raises.. for example: MLAS (just gave themselves 29%) and city of vancouver manager judy rogers(who recently got a raise and now makes $300,000+ a year). its not just the unions!

emd By emd

"How about health and safety rules, vacation and sick time, parental leave, and the excellent money you make in your field?"

Vacation = 3 weeks, accrued monthly
Sick time = 5 days
Parental leave = fed. gov issue. No top up at my company
Excellent money = earned every frickin' cent...you know, merit-based pay

So thanks, I suppose for these "trickle-down" benefits.

Now, one can make the argument that I should have negotiated better for more vacation, but that didn't work.

That being said I completely agree with this:
"Any union that negotiated a long contract in this uncertain economic climate without attempting to maximize its members' return on their investment of time and labour, would be failing in its duty (to its members) just as surely as a corporation that failed to try to maximize its profits would be failing in its mandate (to make money for shareholders)."

I mostly agree with this, "Any city that can spend hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars to fund a two week party can also find the money to deliver increases of a few percent per year", as long as people are getting raises for GOOD work, and not just for filling a seat. CoL increases are fine, but more than that MUST BE EARNED.

Let's vote on it...hands up those that want union members to get more money.

Now hands up those that would like to see that money go somewhere else, like healthcare, education, child-care, cause-du-jour.

Heck, the strike has been going on long enough to organize a city-wide vote, n'est pas?

emd wrote: "I sure am getting tired of seeing "mandatory" raises in the
public sector."

In the 1990's CUPE 391 accepted 2 3-year contracts of 0, 0, and 1%.

When the inflation rate is taken into account, these were defacto pay cuts.

mrdmbond writes: "i really like those videos!"

Thanks! A colleague has also made some videos. I've attached the link.

"CoL increases are fine, but more than that MUST BE EARNED."

If you are in a job for x amount of years, you gain experience and are more valuable to your
employer than a new hire off the street, hence you should be paid more.

Demanding workers exercise restraint when asking for more money isn't fair in a capitalist
economy. Nobody demands corporations or shareholders voluntarily reduce their profit
margins and I don't know why we (working stiffs) should be held to a different standard.

Collective bargaining is the only tool workers have to avoid exploitation. That's why the
Supreme Court has recognized it as a right in this country. Without it, the race to the bottom
merely picks up momentum.

I have no doubt you work to earn every penny EMD. So do the unionized workers I work with.
Pride in a job well done is not restricted to entrepeneurs and non-unionized workers. Failure to
weed out lazy or incompetent workers is the fault of management not unions. There are
always mechanisms to fire people. If management chooses not to use them, that's not the
fault of those of us who come to the workplace ready and willing to get the job done.

"Now hands up those that would like to see that money go somewhere else, like healthcare,
education, child-care, cause-du-jour."

I think the workers in the three sectors you mention all are deserving of more money. ;-)

emd By emd

"Failure to weed out lazy or incompetent workers is the fault of management not unions. There are always mechanisms to fire people. If management chooses not to use them, that's not the fault of those of us who come to the workplace ready and willing to get the job done."

After seeing unions fight dismissal tooth and nail, I am not sure I fully agree with you here. I do agree that if there are *reasonable* means to fire someone and the management chooses not to do it, then it is their fault. However, if the conditions to fire someone are unreasonable, then who's fault is it?

"If you are in a job for x amount of years, you gain experience and are more valuable to your employer than a new hire off the street, hence you should be paid more."

That is based on the assumption that the person is actively doing work and contributing to the company. If that is the case, then yes, I agree with you.

"Demanding workers exercise restraint when asking for more money isn't fair in a capitalist economy."

In a capitalist economy, the company should be able to fill roles from anywhere...overseas, etc, not just a union job.

"Collective bargaining is the only tool workers have to avoid exploitation."

Huh? It's called quitting.

"So do the unionized workers I work with. Pride in a job well done is not restricted to entrepreneurs and non-unionized workers."

I completely agree with you here. My main argument is that in the unions I have been in or had visibility into, have restricted merit based growth (that job is outside your grade, so don't bother applying) and have not rid themselves of the people not earning their pay. Unions seem to reward mediocrity, which I don't like.

I see unions like religion...I see their purpose and agree with their overarching goals, I just don't like what they have become.

emd By emd

"I think the workers in the three sectors you mention all are deserving of more money. ;-)"

Not sure I know enough about all the positions to agree with you. However, city jobs *usually* don't pay well, so that may well be valid (deserving of more money).

emd By emd

As an aside Stump...I take it you aren't an Ayn Rand fan?

;)

"However, if the conditions to fire someone are unreasonable, then who's fault is it?"

It's management's fault for agreeing to a contract that makes firing for just cause an
unreasonable exercise.

I thought Ayn Rand had some good points... when I was twenty-ish. Her philosophy relies too
much on assumptions and is prejudiced against acts of charity or goodwill IMO.

"My main argument is that in the unions I have been in or had visibility into, have restricted merit based growth (that job is outside your grade, so don't bother applying) and have not rid themselves of the people not earning their pay. Unions seem to reward mediocrity, which I don't like."

I think you are confusing the roles of management and union members.

The failures you note IMO can be traced to poor management. It's not the job of the union or its reps to discipline or motivate employees. Representing their interests and protecting them from unfair labour practices are.

Perhaps your distaste for unions may stem from this misunderstanding?

"In a capitalist economy, the company should be able to fill roles from anywhere...overseas, etc, not just a union job."

The Supreme Court begs to differ. Its decision linked below. To summarize, collective bargaining is protected by Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms due to our constitutional right to freedom of association. The decision was reached in a court battle over the provincial government's treatment of HEU workers (ripping up their last contract).

emd By emd

Some letters to the editor in today's Sun

emd By emd

And an editorial.

Comments?

emd By emd

"The Supreme Court begs to differ."

I don't agree with all of the Supreme Court's decisions.

emd By emd

"I think you are confusing the roles of management and union members."

No I don't think I am. My wife was unable to advance because of the level (a union thing) of job
she was in versus the one she wanted. It wasn't a management rule that said she couldn't
advance, it was a union rule.

Well, if you feel you have a better understanding of the issue than the Supreme Court there's not much point in further discussion.

As to your wife's issue, I couldn't possibly comment w/out more details or a look at their collective agreement. I would venture to say it's the exception rather than the rule that a union would prevent its members from seeking promotions.

I notice you didn't link to the editorial from the Sun telling the City to act like grown-ups and actually negotiate a deal. :-)

For those not clicking the link, the editorial and letter both take issue with promotions based upon seniority rather than merit

I've seen in my own workplace how merit-based promotions can be abused. I will explain that situation and why promotions and layoffs based purely on merit are a terrible idea later today, (when I'm not at work) because it will take a while to put together a post on the topic.

But, before I do, ask yourself how merit-based criteria might be abused by management? It's easier than you think.

emd By emd

"Well, if you feel you have a better understanding of the issue than the Supreme Court there's not much point in further discussion."

I tried to read that decision but I am a little confused. Does it affirm that the workers have the right to form a union? Or just bargain collectively (or is that the same thing)?

If it is the former, then I actually do agree...if the majority of people want to form a union they should most definitely be allowed to form one (but not require *everyone* to be in it). However, this should not guarantee employment with that particular employee. Is that what that decision says?

I am tired of this discussion...you have made some good points, but I have just seen too many IMHO unreasonable union requests to support them. I go agree that they MUST maximize the benefits of their members, but I don't like how other people suffer when they choose to strike.

Can we just agree to disagree?

"I tried to read that decision but I am a little confused. Does it affirm that the workers have the right to form a union? Or just bargain collectively (or is that the same thing)?"

For all intents and purposes it's the same thing.

You can bow out if you like. I plan to explain (later today) why seniority based promotions are the best and fairest way to let people advance in an organization.

and for 2shoes, you'll note that the only part of my point you harped on and picked out was the parenthetical remark (you can see it's actually in parentheses) which is further evidence that you had no intention of discussion, you just wanted to use this forum as propaganda. The other thing you try and defence is that women and men get paid differently for different jobs. Quite a zinger! Unfortunately it's not true and you've provided ZERO evidence that it's happening. Maybe you can stop wondering why public opinion is so anti-union right now. Any decrease in the power of unions over the last decade can almost certainly be linked to idiotic positions such as this that are nothing more than self serving whining to try to get a better deal for oneself.

Try doing a search for picket-line confrontation on YouTube, you'll find hundreds of videos (with various variations of this) in which the picketers act violently towards people. Literally HUNDREDS. If you don't think it happens, then you're being purposefully ignorant. (i.e. Plain old Stupid)

I wasn't going to post again until yesterday while I had a discussion about unionized employees with some of my co-workers. They vilified and demonized all city employees and I found myself defending the unions and in particular the individual employees. Of course it's a fact that some people abuse the system, but the facts are that most people don't. I suppose part of the problem is that the Unions protect those that do from being terminated.

Stump, I'm sorry to see you so woefully uninformed about the issues. I figured with your often rabid defence of your position you might have become more informed about the normal course of affairs. When you make statements like "The Supreme Court begs to differ. " in response to whether or not in a capitalist society should be able to hire based on merit you should probably link to a document that supports your decision. You'll note that in the link and subsequent decision the Supreme Court doesn't even ONCE mention capitalism. The Supreme court decision was for IN Canada with OUR charter of rights and freedoms. And yes, it did reaffirm that collective bargaining is a right in our society.

And when you say something even more ridiculous like "If you are in a job for x amount of years, you gain experience and are more valuable to your employer than a new hire off the street, hence you should be paid more." (reponse 26) you show another glaring omission of research. Probably without exception (I suppose it's possible there are some exceptions, but I doubt it) union contracts have a scale of pay for employees who have X years of experience. They invariably get paid more than more junior members, so a member with 5 years experience gets paid more than a member with 3 years experience, regardless of whether or not that whole scale moves up by 20%.

In these cases any member who is under the maximum for the scale will get a raise in the following year regardless of that scale moving. (automatically).

And if you think that the mechanisms for firing employees is adequate, I suggest you tell that to the 2 people who died when the Queen of the North went down. The Union is grieving the termination of those 2 slackards who were too busy making busy out on the bridge to actually do their jobs. This lack of respect for their employer, their jobs, and their customers resulted in the loss of 2 lives and millions of dollars of those customers property. But hey, they're good union members, so I guess we can't fire them. Can you possibly defend that? Or how about the city worker in the interior (I think it was Nelson) who beat up their boss last year? Can't fire him either! Good thing we don't have retarded Unions protecting them from termination, we wouldn't want them to suffer.

Honestly, I think it might as well all be privatized (except the library, where I think they should come up to industry standards for pay).

Shoeless Joe (response 12) I agree with you on everything but your last statement. The part of 2shoes I take offence to is his unbending self interest and obvious adherence to points that are patently false.

I didn't make a connection between the Supreme Court decision and capitalism in post 26. Re-read it.

Using isolated examples of personal negligence to condemn an entire system isn't very smart. By that logic we'd have to ban automobiles.

On second thought....

You're welcome to join the discussion Dugly, but please don't make erroneous inferences and accuse people of posting things they haven't written.

"Maybe you can stop wondering why public opinion is so anti-union right now."

I don't think public opinion is "so anti-union". Most people who give the matter some serious thought understand the benefits to society, individuals, and the economy that accrue from having unions as a valuable bulwark against worker exploitation.

Isolated incidence? Isolated individuals yes, but the BCGEU and BCFMWU are 2 of the biggest unions in BC, so if 2 of the top 3 are exhibiting this behavior (it's the union themselves that are to blame for the union protecting these individuals) then there's a problem.

2/3rds is NOT an isolated example, and I don't suspect it would take long to find examples from CUPE and the Forestry Workers where the union grieved the termination of employees who were clearly derelict in duty, to round out the top 4.

I'm not suggesting that all union employees are lazy or derelict, I'm suggesting that these Unions are fighting against VERY clearly correct terminations just for the sake of being difficult. I'd say that this behavior is self destructive. I feel if the BCFMWU wishes to grieve the clearly correct termination of those employees, that the BCFMWU should be immediately barred from operating. Sorry, but it just blows my mind that these people would be defended by their union. They are essentially murderers and their Union doesn't even want to let the Ferries fire them. Good job!

Like even the guy in the interior who beat up his boss, sure maybe his boss had it coming and the union should push for a more complete investigation before he does, or does not, get fired. Probably people just don't go around punching others just willy nilly and it quite often is a conflict of personalities that results in fights. However he still should be disciplined for losing it like that.

And I've seen clear examples where 'merit' based promotions have resulted in less ideal people being promoted. However I've seen many people who are excellent managers hired ahead of people with more seniority that would (in a Union environment) have gotten the job. So it goes both ways, I think a mix of the two is necessary.

Just to back up one of my original points, while I haven't, and won't cross this picket line, I would like to point out that there has been some violence on the picket lines projected at those who do not support this strike.

From CKNW "The memo says concerns have been expressed about conduct on the picket line. It says people should not be physically restrained from crossing a picket line"

If you don't think think that it's a real possibility to be shoved/pushed/punched by union members for disagreeing with them, then I suggest you at least have a quick look at the article. If you don't support these actions, then I hope you mail your Union representatives and captains to express that displeasure. Perhaps you should publicly denounce those actions?

Dugly writes: "If you don't think think that it's a real possibility to be shoved/pushed/punched by union members for disagreeing with them, then I suggest you at least have a quick look at the article."

This is significantly different from your original point that if you were not shielded by anonymity on this board you would face some sort of retaliation.

But I will certainly join you in unequivocally condemning any violence, including picketers being shoved/pushed/punched by those that disagree with the strike. For example, a death threat was phoned in to our local's headquarters, where my spouse was working.

I'm not in Cupe15, but a blogger who is (and who is critical of the union at times) has the story of the memo at the link. I disagree with his take, as he seems to be taking what I would consider due, if bureaucratic, diligence that countless organizations engage in a wee bit personally.

Just to add: there is a lot I would change about how unions conduct and market themselves during strikes. The leadership of the union movement still has bastions of the "old school" - where the emphasis is on picketing physical locations and simply lasting longer than the other side and your public relations consisted of how many insults could be hurled at the other side. It's a relic of an age long since past.

Modern labour disputes are all about public opinion. The City understands this, which is why they pay the Wilcox Group 10's of thousands of dollars, and why 4 week old memos are "leaked" to the media.

How the Library workers have conducted their first strike is a taste, in my opinion, of what the future should be for conducting yourself during a dispute. Author readings, travelling Bicycle Brigades, internet videos...etc. All done is a deliberately positive fashion.

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