Friday, July 31, 2009

Toronto Strike - Is It Over?

I'd like to see my garbage collected as much as many people would (much of the last four weeks I was out of town so in a way I was living a life of garbage collection privilege - I generated garbage elsewhere).
City Council votes this morning on the settlement; I still do not know what is in the deal. Passage is not at all automatic.
I have no position at the moment though the union's apparent contentment is a prima facie case from my point of view that a No vote is called for.
One of our Mayor's usual supporters describes some widespread frustration:
“Yes, there’s a lot of anger out there — the union is angry, the residents are angry, the Mayor is angry ... The way it’s being expressed is by people saying ‘Vote no to the deal,’ ” said Mr. Mihevc. “The deal obviously has warts on it. But the vote tomorrow is not ‘yes, but’ or maybe, it’s yes with all the warts or no with all the implications.”

They symbolic center of the battle has been the ridiculous previously existing sick leave banking provision:
The bone of contention is the continued accumulation of banked sick days for employees who want to keep them, rather than switch to a new sick-leave plan. It was something the Mayor pledged to “modernize” to reduce $140-million of a $250-million unfunded liability for the city — and it became the iconic issue of the strike.

It appears much of the criticism of the deal (and again, I know NO details) is that employees get to keep their current sick leave bank. While this provision was a piece of union feather-bedding that would have even seemed egregious in "I'm All Right Jack" I had never imagined that the City's position should be to deprive employees of anything they had banked under the previous stupid contracts that included this nutty piece of privilege. The goal should be to end the practice and eat the consequences of past idiocy. From what Miller says it seems that is what has been done, though we shall see:
“Some of the people who are being very critical of this, were in senior leadership positions under the previous mayor’s administration. They never had the guts to deal with this sick bank,” Mr. Miller said. “They left it through three collective agreements and it lies very ill in their mouth to criticize the way we’ve been able to deal with the sick bank, to end it and to phase out the obligations to the current employees.”

Heavens! I agree with Miller!
There was an entertaining blip in proceedings this week that caused the outside workers' ratification vote to be delayed by a day; it seems the union wanted some amnesty, given that it had engaged a variety of lawbreaking during the strike (as I have described earlier - I managed to dodge their behavior myself). Now this seemed silly - the idea that Miller would actually enforce the law against the union is as silly as the notion, projected by Miller himself, that he would get injunctions in order to get the union to obey the law. Ha-ha. He did not and taxpayers were subjected to harassment consistently across the city. (Hence some of the anger above, which should have been directed at Miller and not the union so much).
Will this change anything? I'd like to think the hegemony of Miller types on Council will die off after the next election (one year out - a long time and creative of forgetfulness) but I doubt it. I won't vote for my Councilor ever again but I live in a hopeless ward - Ward 31. It is dominated by very rich people so it votes left all the time.
I hope the local cable company is broadcasting the Council meeting so I do not have to go to it.


At 9:02 AM, Blogger rondi adamson said...

OMG -- I'm All Right Jack! What a great movie. Patrick made me watch it and I am so glad he did. I had never seen it.


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