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Subject: Day 40 of Transit Strike rss

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Rant......

I am not anywhere near the hardships of some of the people here in Ottawa due to the transit strike, however life is not easy for me either.

Thankfully my parents drive my husband to work in the morning and I only have an extra 1 to 1 1/2 hrs of driving each day to pick him up. However, with traffic and the fact that he works weekends - I no longer have much free time.

Our downtown is deserted on the weekends and businesses are failing, university students are missing an enormous amount of classes, people are losing jobs, and others cannot get to critical doctor's and chemo appointments. The selfishness of the people involved in the strike is phenomenal.

With the economy the way it is why do the bus drivers think that they can keep their schedule arrangement which allows the senior drivers to book over time at big pay before the junior drivers get to pick their regular schedule which means that transit costs a lot more, and they want 7% raise over the next 3 years. I know that no one in my company will be getting a raise this year, in fact we will all be thankful if we get to keep our jobs, and if I told my boss that I was working overtime and he had to pay me, I would very soon be out of a job.

The feelings of the public here are very evident in the poster in the front of the store window.
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It's good to know we can come together as a people in times of adversity and put aside looking out for our own individual interests in the name of the common good.


Oh wait... what?

Oh yeah, right. We can't do that. Carry on.
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Randy Cox
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I didn't know anything about a bus strike in Toronto.

But didn't you mean that the selfish bastards who won't give them necessary benefits have heartlessly shut down people's ability to get around? After all, an average of 2 1/3% per year isn't all that much and I don't know what kinds of raises they've had over the past few years or how their working conditions are. There is likely another side to the story.
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There is always another side to the story....

There is no bus strike in Toronto, their strike lasted 3 days because the provincial government legislated them back to work. (or were you being funny). In Ottawa the buses cross provincial lines and are thus under jurisdiction of the Federal government, and since the Governor General was nice enough to prorogue our government it is unlikely that they will do anything about the bus strike.

Right now it is a big he said, she said thing going on. The city said it offered to send the matter to arbitration, the union said no they didn't. The union requested arbitration on everything outstanding, to keep what they had already negotiated and to have the scheduling mediated and that they wanted the bus mechanics to go back to work as soon as arbitration is scheduled, because in the union bosses words "this is not about the money". The city counter offered with lets send everything to arbitration with the following conditions: whatever is agreed on cannot cost more than the original offer which included a $2500 bonus and a %7 raise over 3 years (which is more than any other union got), and whatever the schedule turned out to be it had to conform with the provinces transportation health and safety guidelines. The union said NO, and we are not sending anyone back to work. Currently no talks are scheduled.

Note that of the 2500 drivers and mechanics, over 100 drivers made $100K+ last year. That is why there is not a lot of sympathy. We have car plants closing, Nortel has gone bankrupt with 22,000 people facing losing their jobs here people are not overly sympathetic.
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The strike is in Ottawa, not Toronto.

Don't let that innocent looking 7% over three years fool you.

Drivers with seniority can pick and choose their shifts in a way that maximizes their earnings and minimizes their hours worked. For example, if they choose a 4.5 hour shift they will be paid or 6 hours. They can pair this with another split shift of 4.5 hours and be paid another 6 hours in the same day.

At your work, would you be paid 12 hours for 9 hours work? They can do this even when it means that the person driving the bus, having his mind on a big paycheque, hasn't had enough sleep to drive the bus safely.

I should emphasize, the drivers get to pick their shifts. Starting with the most senior. That alone is great but it allows them not only to book overtime but to get paid for hours they don't work. I won't even go into the overtime thats paid to them. Often, these people can almost double their salary by working overtime.

Bus drivers in Ottawa earn similar to City workers. These people enjoy high salaries for their qualifications and security and benefits that I, who had to work years for my accreditiations and know that my job may or may not be here tomorrow, would love to have.

Bus drivers are the most hated people in Ottawa right now because people working in the private sector would love to have what they, the drivers, have forgotten to value.

(Getting ready for the move to RSP)
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I will almost always side with a union in such circumstances. My question to "the private sector" is: If it's such a cushy job, how many have quit their job and applied to be bus drivers?
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If the current union is being such a pain in the ass, and the jobs are so coveted, why wouldn't the gov just train new people and put them to work without the union? (I fully acknowledge that I may be missing something and am not the most informed person on the topic.)

And to Randy above, my experience has been that the need for unions is pretty much past and for the most part they are more of a pain for workers and companies than good.
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The last transit strike in NYC only lasted a few days, but when you have to walk 6 miles in below freezing weather, you don't take a likin' to the striking workers (especially since they already had better pay and benefits than teachers, NYPD or NYFD to begin with).
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Randy Cox wrote:
I will almost always side with a union in such circumstances. My question to "the private sector" is: If it's such a cushy job, how many have quit their job and applied to be bus drivers?


Yer just poking for fun ain't ya?
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spearjr wrote:
If the current union is being such a pain in the ass, and the jobs are so coveted, why wouldn't the gov just train new people and put them to work without the union? (I fully acknowledge that I may be missing something and am not the most informed person on the topic.)

And to Randy above, my experience has been that the need for unions is pretty much past and for the most part they are more of a pain for workers and companies than good.


To be honest I'd love to see that. It would have the long-run effect of lowing my taxes (bus service is funded by taxpayers) and it would mean that bus drivers would be no better off than most people.

But labour laws don't allow you to just dismiss a workforce without a great deal of trouble and cost. Also, training a workforce takes time and money.
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Thanks for piping in on this Don - you are right on.

The thing is that this is not about rights - which we need unions to protect - this strike is about greed.

The bus drivers have had no sympathy from the start of the strike and their attempts to picket craft fairs, paratransit, colleges and universities, the junior world hockey championships, and threats to picket school buses have been met with derision and anger. There have been no rallys to support the drivers and the letters to the papers and responses to call in shows (unless they are relatives of bus drivers) have unanimously been in support of not giving in to the drivers demands.
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I have to admit, this kind of scenario is exactly why I loathe labor unions (as a whole). I think that in the "intended" form, they were once good entities that made sure workers weren't becoming slaves. Nowadays, too many of them start going beyond what's reasonable in terms of pay/benefits, into things that are just greed and power based.

It's a reflection of the "gimme" mentality that is growing in the world. I want it all, and if someone else has it better, then I'm being treated unfairly.

That, and seniority taking precedent over talent? Granted, in bus driving, I don't think there's a lot of opportunities to go "above and beyond". But in many cases, a skilled worker is basically smothered until they have been there a certain amount of time because seniority is more important, even if senior workers are less skilled than new ones.


The idea of what unions SHOULD be isn't all that bad. The practice of what unions often BECOME is what I take issue with, and this bus strike takes the cake.

In answer to Randy's comment about "well, if their benefits are so much better, why don't people quit and join them?" I prefer the other side of the coin: if the drivers are so unhappy with their lot in life, why don't they find better pay and benefits elsewhere? From what it sounds like, in this case it's simply because they want to get paid more for working less, for mooching the system, and they want MORE! Greed is all it is.
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Randy Cox wrote:
I will almost always side with a union in such circumstances. My question to "the private sector" is: If it's such a cushy job, how many have quit their job and applied to be bus drivers?


Randy, you didn't read anything written, did you?

Both Don and Jennifer have clearly stated that SENIOR DRIVERS get to pick and choose their hours.

It is only a "cushy" job for those who have been there the longest time.

Why would a new person want a job where he has to compete with senior union thugs to get a decent shift?

The pro-union mentality is the exact reason why the auto industry in the United States is failing. Western Civilization with advanced industrialism doesn't need unions any more. At all. They provide no benefits for the average member, and do nothing more than drive up the costs of products and services they make and provide.

Unions are cutting off their own faces just to spite their collective noses - which have been up their own asses for 40 years. Feel free to spend a few weeks in Detroit, then tell me if unions are still "doing good" for their members.
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spearjr wrote:
If the current union is being such a pain in the ass, and the jobs are so coveted, why wouldn't the gov just train new people and put them to work without the union? (I fully acknowledge that I may be missing something and am not the most informed person on the topic.)

And to Randy above, my experience has been that the need for unions is pretty much past and for the most part they are more of a pain for workers and companies than good.


Not sure about Canada, but I know that the US Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board don't allow such actions. Collective Bargaining Agreements, at least in the auto industry, don't let strikers get replaced by wiping them out en masse.

Both the DoL and the NLRB, as well as unions in general, have overstayed their welcome in this country.
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Koldfoot wrote:
There is no job so bad that a union can't make it worse-

Koldfoot


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sigmazero13 wrote:
Nowadays, too many of them start going beyond what's reasonable in terms of pay/benefits, into things that are just greed and power based.


Which seperates them from the employer side by what?
 
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Tanakor wrote:
sigmazero13 wrote:
Nowadays, too many of them start going beyond what's reasonable in terms of pay/benefits, into things that are just greed and power based.


Which seperates them from the employer side by what?
Typically employers don't hide that they are out to make a profit. You know what they want and their motives. A union gets into a place by telling you it's there to help the workers, to make sure they are taken care of fairly. Only later do you find out that they are a business too, one out to make money for the union officials and by intention or not, drive the employer into the ground. *May not be true for all unions.
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Tanakor wrote:
sigmazero13 wrote:
Nowadays, too many of them start going beyond what's reasonable in terms of pay/benefits, into things that are just greed and power based.


Which seperates them from the employer side by what?

Stooping to the level of greed does not make it right. Many companies (unfortunately not all) employers that treat employees like garbage eventually lose all their good employees.

Plus, in this case, the ones that are hurting are the public, not some corporate suit. These people are trying to extract their money from everyday Joes, so even if you think it's OK to rip off the evil corporate empire, ripping off the taxpayers is something else completely.
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spearjr wrote:
Typically employers don't hide that they are out to make a profit. You know what they want and their motives. A union gets into a place by telling you it's there to help the workers, to make sure they are taken care of fairly. Only later do you find out that they are a business too, one out to make money for the union officials and by intention or not, drive the employer into the ground. *May not be true for all unions.


I have to quote that for emphasis. Many people do not realize that UNIONS ARE BUSINESSES TOO!!!!
They earn income by increasing membership and total fees. They sell their product by convincing the masses that they need protection - that they are victims of an unjust faceless corporation.

Well this corporation has a face. It is supported by fare payers and by taxpayers. If I thought bus drivers were paid less than the average person with their level of education and training I'd sing their praises but the fact is that that simply isn't true.

Here's another development I read this morning:
The City has asked that the Union allow mechanics to work on keeping the buses maintained so that they can be used once the strike is over. Given the fact that they've been sitting idle for 43 days now, safety is a concern. If this is not allowed then, once the strike is settled and the Union gets what it wants, the city will still be without bus service for a few weeks while maintenance and repairs are done. Don't forget that the Province has to certify these buses as operational.
This means that the workers themselves will likely be laid off during this time.

Do I really need to write the Union's response? Well I will. They said no. They told their members that these were just scare tactics. We're all intelligent people here. Would you want to climb onto a bus that hasn't been maintained for 43 days in Ottawa's winter?
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Lockridge wrote:
Do I really need to write the Union's response? Well I will. They said no. They told their members that these were just scare tactics. We're all intelligent people here. Would you want to climb onto a bus that hasn't been maintained for 43 days in Ottawa's winter?

Well, not that I want people to lose their jobs, but I hope the government calls their bluff, and lays people off as expected (if I read your post right).

Another thing about all this: I wonder how many of the drivers themselves are actually AGAINST this strike, but are bound because of their contract? Obviously, the majority are probably in favor since they voted to strike, but how many WORKERS are being unfairly punished because the union seniors want to be greedy?

I'd rather quit my job than ever join a union. Fortunately, in my line of work, unionization is probably not ever going to happen. Hopefully, the next time the "right to work" vote comes up in Colorado, it will pass so that it won't ever even be an issue for me, even in the off chance that they DO try to unionize.
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chrisnd wrote:
Randy Cox wrote:
I will almost always side with a union in such circumstances. My question to "the private sector" is: If it's such a cushy job, how many have quit their job and applied to be bus drivers?


Randy, you didn't read anything written, did you?

Both Don and Jennifer have clearly stated that SENIOR DRIVERS get to pick and choose their hours.

It is only a "cushy" job for those who have been there the longest time.

Why would a new person want a job where he has to compete with senior union thugs to get a decent shift?
Oh, yeah, I read it all. And if only the "senior drivers" have the cushy jobs, then the union would never get the rank-and-file to approve a strike. I am pretty sure that even the "junior" members of the union are feeling put upon in some way by management. Maybe the senior folk are protecting their seniority priveleges (and good for them) but maybe the junior members are also in need of some changes, so they're voting for it too.

So, again, if the majority of the union (not just the upper echelon fat cat laborers) are striking, there must be something wrong. And again, if outsiders feel that they have it too easy (and they can't pick and choose just one type of job), then they should be joining the union and becoming licensed to drive a bus.

For a group to pick on an entire union because of a few good jobs would be like me whining that I don't get to work for MicroSoft because Bill Gates got well paid there.

Quote:
The pro-union mentality is the exact reason why the auto industry in the United States is failing. Western Civilization with advanced industrialism doesn't need unions any more. At all. They provide no benefits for the average member, and do nothing more than drive up the costs of products and services they make and provide.
If the textile industry had unions that required the company to employ the majority of their workforce domestically, there would be several million more people working in that industry today in the US. Instead, even more people are employed to make all the clothes and shoes--they're just employed in Pakistan, Turkey, India, and China. I am certain that protectionist policies/unions could have averted that disaster.

Quote:
Unions are cutting off their own faces just to spite their collective noses - which have been up their own asses for 40 years. Feel free to spend a few weeks in Detroit, then tell me if unions are still "doing good" for their members.
If they're keeping people employed in Michigan, rather than letting them move overseas, they're doing some good. If management has trouble producing the product AND PAYING THEIR OWN HUGE BONUSES in that environment, maybe it's time for new management?
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