Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Thursday, June 18, 2009

2 Baker's Dozens Of Mail

Here are more comments from readers. Have you submitted yours yet?

1) I just discovered your blog a few days ago. You appear to be the only alternative to the CBC, AM 800 and the Windsor Star. I teach at [Name of school] and in my class today I had the great opportunity to talk about political suicide, the Mayor's motion on Monday night. Your post yesterday was really great.

I don't know who is advising him, but he or she should be fired immediately....then again, you write that he acted on his own. And now I read you brilliant post on Halberstadt. Seems to be a political death wish virus going around!

And, I wonder what went on this afternoon at the in-camera meeting. Postma did not see very happy when she left. I wonder what this might mean at 9 AM tomorrow morning when negotiations start again?

2) [RE The Next Attack On CUPE] You sure you were not on the line today....that is exactly what we were talking about. We have so many temps on the line with us that they are truly fearful that once this strike is over....they are out of a job.

3) with Caroline Postma walking out of the "Mayor's meeting" I am certainly not optimistic...but I guess they are meeting again tomorrow with our people at 9 a.m.

By the way, ever thought of running for Councillor?

Just to let you know myself and my fellow picketers are thrilled with your blog. You report on everything accurately and we feel we have a true sounding board which we can rely on.

I appreciate your efforts and comments. Keep up the good work!!!!

4) You know Ed They are finaly doing what they supposed to be doing bargaining and its a media close out. Maybe the MAyor relises he is doing no good for the comunity
making everyone fight.

5) The strikers have said that now that they have lost 10 weeks pay and cannot get it back,they are prepared to stay out another 10 weeks. I think its become personal against Eddie.

They also said that they would like to wait until Toronto members go out on Monday and are ordered back by the goverenment and into arbitration. If that happens ,they would petition for the same treatment (probly get it).

One person i spoke to said that it would take 15 years to repair the damage that the Mayor has done to employee/employer relations.

All strikers i spoke to said that when they go back, they will do as little work as possible, and do everything by the book.

They will treat the taxpayer like they have been treated.

Doesn't sound or look good at all.

6) I just want to know if Mayor Francis can do anything right in your eyes? Obviously not - I guess your blog is OK, but I, myself, would like to see something that was even a little more unbiased.

Even now I fail to understand why anybody should have post retirement benefits at the tax payer's expenses - if you can get it from your private employer, go for it. And I don't believe your take on Monday's council meeting, nor (maybe) the Windsor Star's - I think it is somewhere in between. Poor Eddie - he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.

And by the way, I seem to recall it was CUPE members who wouldn't let citizens who were actually on the agenda speak at a recent council meeting, about issues far more important than future hires being covered for life on the backs of the tax payers.

7) Want an example of how this strike has affected my young child? He's
had nightmares the past few weeks and today he woke up and told me he
had a dream about a man cutting down trees and mowing the lawn and his
Dad grabbed the chainsaw and walked over to him and then they got into
a fight, then I woke him up so he wasn't sure what happened to his
Dad. These nightmares have been almost nightly. I'm sure many other
families are having their kids experiencing the strike, even if they
think they're not, this strike is not just about the "lazy"
city-workers. Many kids in this city are doing without, for many
different reasons and there's not enough people out there who can help
them. Lucky for me, I have a program at work to help with mental
health issues so I'm going to check it out for my son's sake. I'm
sure many other families can tell you similar stories or some even
worse. Thankfully, I don't have a child with special needs who needs
special help, I just have a stressed out kid and we've tried to
shelter him from all that we can.

8) Morning, why did you disable the comment section on your latest blog? Just a quick question?? Why didn't you write what the city workers are making per year? What there last wage increase were through out those years?

[NOTE: I disabled Comments years ago because certain people who were posting were making comments that were offensive and slanderous. I welcome reader comments and generally post them with the right to edit them as required.]

9)I guess the city's team went to council for direction this afternoon. From what I gather it must of been a heated meeting . Postma walked out before it ended. That is not a good sign... Things,and moral is getting tested on the line now. I know of a couple people that will probably lose their homes... Lots of us feel battered and beaten down. I guess that was Eddies stratagy.

10) cupe has no support for their actions, I hope jobs are cut, since cupe has shown less people are needed for the same work.

11) Hope this strike gets settled else in for a long and stinky summer- we can be the next New York City- smells just like it!

12) couldn't let your latest blog pass without commenting- as you may or
may not know I read your blogs every day and find them most enjoyable.

If you had been downtown Saturday night (were you?) you would
not have believed the size of the crowd- wall-to-wall people- felt
like New Orleans or Beale Street in Memphis.

Concerning the Henderson editorial, I thought he nailed it. .... but you have to
imagine how tough it is to be a merchant in downtown Windsor these
days- the strikers have really made it impossible for us to deal with
the trash- we already had enough issues that I could list ad nauseum-
(US passport, US dollar exchange, 9/11, SARS).

We are an easy target and it is killing us.

Ed- our businesses really are hanging on by their fingernails- Red
Bull was a huge lift- both psychologically and financially- for them.
Without Red Bull I am sure a lot of places would be done- they may be
done yet as I am hearing the American business is down to 15% from a
high of 65%, pre-9/11- economic Darwinism....

The real story of downtown is how zoning changes allowed the big boxes
and strip malls to surround our city and effectively kill retail in
the core. Any one parking lot between Provincial and old Highway 2 on
Walker has more shoppers than we see in a weekend!

Ed, that, as they say, is my two cents...

13) This weekend kick-off event has always been known as "Carrousel BY THE RIVER". All day long on Saturday, AM800 was calling out to residents to come on down to "Carrousel BY THE RIVER". We went down to look for them "BY THE RIVER"
and they weren't there! Were they another displacement for the Red Bull? Does the Multicultural Council realize that they may have been turned into second-class citizens? I guess that it must have cost them a pretty penny for new signage &
letterhead. Wonder what it will be called next year? "Carrousel BY THE CANAL"?

14) I do not have much hope in reaching a settlement. Did you watch CBC Windsor News at 6? Caroline Postma walked out of the negotiation update meeting and seemed quite angry. I think we're being set up for an MOL vote in a few weeks... This has become personal and political. Not your typical negotiation is it.

15) A reader sent me an article that started off like this:

"Rampant attendance exaggeration in the air show business is not a joke.
It’s not harmless or unavoidable. It’s not quirky or cute. It’s a serious
problem that threatens our industry’s credibility, invites public criticism and causes prospective sponsors and government officials to question not just attendance, but all other claims put forth by our industry.

Without so much as a wink or a smirk to acknowledge the irony of what they are
saying, air show professionals will often ask, “Do you want our no-kidding attendance
figures or what we tell the media?”

16) It occurred to me this morning that many people are talking about how well we're getting along without the city workers, with management filling the vacuum. It is obvious that management cannot replace thousands of inside and outside workers and that only very necessary things are getting done. Yet, we are managing to get along with this skeletal staff, by actually seeing to things ourselves.

As an example, in my neighborhood, a few doors down from me, a vacant lot was overgrown with grass and weeds and had not been attended to in months. Calls to the city were useless, since they pointed out that with the strike, they were stretched too thin to respond. Finally, my husband hunted down the property owner/caretaker himself and asked him to take care of it. And so he did, cutting the grass and restoring the hedges to some semblance of neatness.

The moral of the story is, I think, that we probably don't need all this city staff and management anyway...and there should be haircuts all around.When did we become so helpless that we cannot do for ourselves anymore?

17) Hi Ed

Is it just me or is the whole Red Bull economic impact (and even attendance) numbers overblown?

Here's my Saturday experience....

We went shopping in the states - crossed the Bridge at 12:30 - no wait either direction.
Returned at 5:50 pm - took the tunnel this time - same scenario. Literally no line up - pulled into the plaza and there was a back up of about 1 car per booth.

We went to see Huey Lewis at 9 p.m. - the show let out around 10:45pm - the Casino was noticeably not busy. We walked to the Keg for dinner and downtown looked dead. Pappa Cheny's had an overflow space with picnic tables in the parking lot - 5/6ths of which were unoccupied. Elias Deli on Ouellette was dead - 2 tables on the patio - 1 in the restaurant. Got to the Keg - the hostess told us it was one of the worse Saturdays they had in a while. I also checked online and Saturday at 6:30 pm (I was curious because of what we saw at the border crossings) - rooms were still available at both the Hilton and Caesars.

For $100,000,000.00 impact on the weekend - 100,000 people would have to spend $1000 a piece. Who are they kidding? Or am I completely missing something?

Keep up the great work - you're blog is one of the few sources in Windsor that tells the truth. The Windsor Star needs to either reform it's ways or go out of business.

P.S. As a side note - I believe the city should negotiate in good faith or arbotrate the CUPE strike. The fact that they have let it go this long (and impacted "Windsor on the world stage") is an embarassment.

18) Just wanted to say hello. I lost cable, internet and phone due to financial hardship so I was out of the loop for a bit. At least I got back internet, or I'd have lost my mind by now. I just caught up on all your blogs; thanks for quoting me, that was pretty cool. I am no longer naive, though. What can I say? You were right!

I've now lost my land phone, cable tv, taken my car off the road and have been issued an eviction notice. I'll probably be declaring bankrupcy in a month. I have also lost my naivety and faith in the bargaining system here... With hard work and determination, we both hope to get the hell out of the City, both the employment and the city itself, within months...

As you can tell, I am bitter and cynical. A fellow striker was saying on Friday..'What do you think about the good news? Francis is going to take an offer to 543..' Right, whatever. It's worth nothing until the signatures are on paper', I replied. It's nothing more than propaganda at this point.

Anyway, just wanted to check in. Your blogs are all I read now, no more Windsor Star. Thanks for listening to me grumble, no one else will..

19) Let the real Bull begin!

Red Bull had 290,000 viewers - $11 subsidy per person from the province.

Eddie said 42 jets landed at the airport - maybe 42 aircraft, most of them small light aircraft that they don't get landing fees from. The airport has been working for months on fixing the airport.

If they got 750,000 last year this is a dismal failure.

The finance minister said it generated $100 million. No wonder this province is so broke.

Meanwhile he's chasing Red Bull with a chequebook while hospitals close rooms due to lack of funding.

20) Just wanted to say thank you for your blog. I am an inside City Worker and find your blog a breath of fresh air in the garbage rotting City we call Windsor. It truly is the only form of news I care to consume at this time, I can't stand to watch or read or listen to the so called journalism being spewed to naive citizens of Windsor and Essex County.

I have cancelled my subscription to the Star and shame on me I didn't learn from the last time we cancelled the paper, when the teachers were on strike (my husband is a teacher).

I let as many people know about your blog as possible... you know tell a women, telephone.

It is not easy to be the constant center of negative attention and your blog has kept me sane over this long strike. I have been with the City for over {X} years and I have never felt more disrespected by an employer in my entire working career.

So to you Mr.Arditti, I say thank you for your humour and candor it is truly refreshing.

Myself and my fellow picketers will stay out as long as it takes, we will not be bullied into submission.

21) I am so confused

Windsor's Red Bull Air Race weekend was an "absolutely amazing" success, Mayor Eddie Francis said Sunday, and he's already lobbying for the city to repeat as the host of a stop on the 2010 international schedule.

Red Bull organizers reckoned 220,000 people watched the show from Windsor and another 70,000 looked on from Detroit, Francis said. Interesting that no figures given as to people who paid to watch. Also - I cant believe the 220,000 figure

Estimating that the event generated $100 million in economic activity, Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan added that he's already planned to meet with Red Bull officials in Toronto in the coming days to discuss that possibility. How does he account for tis? What are his multipliers?

"Our hotels have been packed and our restaurants did very, very well," said Francis shortly after he was led on the arm of a Red Bull Girl to the winner's podium to present the second-place trophy to Austria's Hannes Arch. I undertand that the Holiday Inn downtown was full but that was with Red Bull staff. Also they stayed at the Raddison and Hilton - although did not take it over completely. Wonder how many actual visitors stayed

Francis said 60 aircraft landed at Windsor Airport over the weekend to unload international guests and another 50 were turned away because they were ineligible to land here."ineligble to land here" Not sure what the heck that means. Cant be because they were too big.

22) You're bang on. One slip - whether voluntary or not, I'm not certain. CUPE has known this agenda all along. We have all been informed since strike day minus 6 months that CUPE 543 & 82 were the scapegoats for the rest of the city services plus the nurses and caregivers at Huron Lodge as well as unionized nurses working for private employers who are arms-length from city services. The nurses at Huron Lodge recently went through arbitration. The arbitrator would not remove PRBs since the rest of city services had them. The Corporation was told that in order for arbitrators to remove PRBs from essential service workers, a negotiated removal of these benefits first had to occur with non-essential contract workers. Eddie and herd targeted us so that they could have this leverage.

Yes, CUPE has been having difficulty in getting it's message across. Two reasons. One - the traditional media and the fact that we can only buy space to tell our story (and underutilizing that as well). Two - we're being led by people with morals... Jean and Jim have been attempting to get the message out by playing by the rules...Is it any wonder why of 1200 people, one or two people have a "mental moment" and in frustration, tear up a bag of trash and scatter it all across a park? In the grand scheme of things, I would rather see someone get some frustration relief by tearing open a bag of garbage than to see that person take it out on a human or an animal.

Eddie was wrong in thinking the resolve of CUPE members, in whole, are weak. Yes, there are a number of members who will cry and complain to management and to Eddie himself... At our 543 information meeting a couple of weeks ago, in the crowd of about 400 (that's how many chairs were put out at the hall and there would only a dozen or so empty) there were only two people voicing concern and wanted to accept what the Corporation offered, with only about a dozen or so applauding in support. Multiply that response to better reflect those who may be intimidated to speak out and I would say that the majority is very strong in it's resolve. Personally, I have no concern about a supervised vote by the Ministry of Labour - the majority of the members are resolved to see the time that we have invested into this strike return a desired outcome for the workers.

Eddie and his tactics has actually been one of our biggest inspirations to continue the fight. This strengthens the resolve of the staunch unionists, those that have respect for others and care about people (many public sectors workers), and particularly the social services and childhood caregivers. Those three sectors make up the majority of our unions.

Personally, I am a one-income household. Luckily, only two cats are others in my home dependant on my income. I was in the private sector... This after seeing 55% of my retirement investments disintegrate in the course of two weeks, with apparently bad brokerage advice. So I applied and was hired on in the public sector. Even though I had to take a 40% pay cut, I wanted a job that was secure with benefits for retirement. Tell me I'm a fat cat city worker. I no longer get the bonuses and perks of the private sector. So from my perspective, I don't care if I go into debt for this strike. I'm looking for a secure retirement.

Yes, the PRB for new hires? Only a threat for those not yet employed? Nope. This PRB fight is for anyone who has more than ten years to retirement.

Thanks for reading, and thank you for discovering the truth about this mess. Not an easy task.

23) [Re Post Retirement Benefits: Temps, Women And Children First] Well stated mate! You should give yourself a pat on the back and the community at large 'owes' Mr Arditti a huge thank you.

24) [Re Post Retirement Benefits: Temps, Women And Children First]That would be what we've been trying to say all along. We are the first step for all across Canada!

Amazing isn't it? The Mayor has just picked the "weakest link".

25) Ed, Ed, Ed.... of COURSE CUPE knew what the plan was with the setting of precedent.... but who the hell other than our invaluable bloggers was listening, or for that matter, THINKING???

(I won't include "caring", because nobody did....)

our Sister Jean was marvellous when the Mayor called in to reprise his role in the Monty Python argument sketch....

she not only managed to get the mayor to admit that the $290m figure was for ALL city staff PRB's, not just CUPE's.... AND when she called him on his "I wasn't the mayor then" statement with regards to the Council vote that brought the councillors and the Mayor into the PRB plan."... she respectfully and firmly pointed out that WAS a councillor, and he supported the motion.

THAT'S why they don't DARE to simply amend the existing By-law. There would be two councillors who would either vote no, or have to declare a conflict of interest and refrain from voting.

That leaves 8 councillors, some who've been around long enough to qualify for their PRB plan...

remember that horrifying video of the raging cupe worker kicking trash??

of COURSE you do...

but have you SEEN anything about WHO took the video?

Grandparents, right?

Geez, I'm grandparent age and I haven't got a CLUE how to work a cellphone, let alone film with it...

oh, I am SURE that loving, tree-hugging grandparents would take their granddaughter to a riverfront park, during a bitter conflict, to pick up trash in knee-deep grass, trash which likely would consist of used condoms, hypodermic needles, broken glass, and god knows WHAT ELSE....

speaking of the granddaughter who the trash was being kicked AT.... I didn't see HER either - could her cries of distress POSSIBLY have been heard on a sound track?
(digital video DOES record with a soundtrack, I believe??)

And if the daughter of a union president could appear in the paper with her CHILD, WHY would these poor distressed grandparents NOT have been interviewed by SOMEONE in the mainstream media?????

They could have had their faces obscured, their voices altered... how much more IMPACTFUL would it have been to HEAR the poor child tell us how SHE felt???


Surely THIS wasn't a SET UP?

Could there POSSIBLY have been someone SO INSIDIOUSLY EVIL to have goaded, taunted, and provoked someone to momentarily SNAP, hoping to capture such a moment for posterity???


(and for the benefit of anyone who doesn't 'get' sarcasm...


Now I'm being serious - provoking folk to the breaking point and beyond is NOT an uncommon practice IN the City workplace... and look how EFFECTIVE it has proved to be outside the workplace, in the presence of cellphone camera video.

I guess all the extra security cameras didn't come through with the hoped-for negative footage... so, like the National Enquirer, if you can't GET a juicy story, MAKE ONE ....

If only those tech-savvy, nature-loving grandparents would have come forward elaborated on what actually happened that day....

Maybe someone would have had the nerve to ask them what they were THINKING, and why in god's name they would endanger their grandchild's health by taking her garbage-picking in tall grass, let alone at a picket site during a very bitter strike....

Maybe they could release an enhanced version of their footage, complete with the soundtrack???

And as for the Star's NON-coverage of the rally on Friday, well, NOTHING BAD HAPPENED.... ho-hum, people came to town, they brought emotional AND practical support to help CUPE to make it through this storm, they had a bbq, and then they went home.

IF they had marched down the Drive kicking garbage at little children, now THAT would have made page ONE!!

Ah, once again, I ramble and meander till way past bedtime...

26)Ive done some polling at the picket sites and the majority have said that they will vote down ANY offer eddie makes them.

They want arbitration.