Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Monday, June 01, 2009

Whose Strike Is It

I have some trouble understanding why the CAW is involved in the CUPE strike. Is it merely solidarity for another union?

Junior as Councillor invites his Dad as CAW National President to meet with the Mayor. Who asked him to do so? CUPE? I would have thought it made more sense to have Junior work to have CUPE meet with the Mayor. Ten minutes later, they part with Eddie saying that:
  • "Francis still opposed to arbitration.

    “The message that was being communicated to me was the message that I should send this to arbitration and bring this thing to an end,” Francis said following the meeting.

    “I reinforced city council’s position that we’re not going to be prepared to go to arbitration and put the decision in somebody’s hands that’s 300, 400, 500 kilometres away.”

Why bother meeting in the first place? What did it accomplish?

Why isn't the CAW more involved in solving their own taxi drivers strike?

  • "A strike by Veteran Cab drivers in Windsor, Ontario continues as CAW Local 195 members remain off the job in a dispute over lease rates for 195 cabs.

    Approximately 300 drivers at Veteran cab are fighting to reduce weekly lease rates for their cabs as well as taking on other issues. The strike started April 2."

It just seems so odd to me. Why not focus on one's own turf? I have not seen CAW being too successful in their efforts for their own union members here.

I found this interesting quote however from the President of CUPE, Paul Moist, who delivered a message of solidarity to delegates at the Canadian Auto Workers 2008 Bargaining and Political Action conference in Toronto a year ago. Perhaps that explains it all:

  • "On mutual CAW/CUPE support:

    "You were CUPE's strongest private sector ally during the Harris years. More recently your economist, Jim Stanford, has been a strong supporter of public services as a member of the City of Toronto's Blue Ribbon panel. You generously welcome locked-out Journal de Quebec Workers at a conference earlier this year.

    CUPE will be there for you as we were with you in Windsor, in Ottawa and often in the past."

And this one from Senior last November:

  • "All CAW university units across the country and the Educational Technical Office and Professional (ETOP) Council are giving their full support to striking teaching assistants, contract faculty and graduate assistants at York University. CUPE 3903 went on strike November 6.

    "Members of CUPE 3903 have the solidarity and support of the CAW and we will provide whatever assistance they request," said CAW National President Ken Lewenza."

Finally, this note on the CUPE website:

  • "Historic meeting of the CAW, CUPE and Steel Workers, March 12th -14th

    CUPE Ontario's historic Coordinated Bargaining Conference (March 12-14, in Toronto) brought together private and public sector unionists from Ontario and across Canada to pool their knowledge. At this perilous moment in time, faced as we are with a national economy in decline, it is critical that the Labour movement in Canada has decisively proclaimed that it pool its knowledge and power in order to protect Canadians.

    At a moment when the CAW are fighting hard to save the auto industry in Canada and the Steelworkers are bracing for the impact of the slowdown in industrial production, CAW's Ken Lewenza and USW's Wayne Fraser took the time to come to CUPE Ontario to say that the only way forward is for working people to support one another. Private sector unions support public sector workers because they know that public service workers provide the best services for them and their families. In turn, CUPE members understand that strong private sector unions mean a stronger Ontario economy. The message was clear and reiterated by all: strong unions, united, make for strong communities."

Perhaps that is all that this is. I'll just watch and see how it plays out.