Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Monday, June 22, 2009

CAW Take-over Of Windsor CUPE Locals Begins

There is no point being modest about it. I told you so.

Of course, when a mere BLOGGER says it, people snicker. But when Gord Henderson writes a column about it, then people take notice. C’est la vie
  • “Fire the coach and general manager and place the team under new management that knows what it's doing.

    Dumping CUPE and joining the CAW should be the first order of business for disgruntled union members when this unfunny clown show of a strike grinds to a merciful conclusion and they return to their city hall jobs…

    CUPE members should be madder than hell that they were led into this debacle. Hung out to dry for God knows what.

    When this is settled, they should think seriously about showing Sid and company the door and switching their dues to an outfit with some street smarts, good survival instincts and way better timing.

    If the CAW can accommodate flight attendants and newspaper reporters, it can surely find room for city hall clerks and gardeners.”

More about this further on. But a few interesting points first.

According to the Globe and Mail:
  • "[Eddie Francis] said residents have told him to find a made-in-Windsor solution rather than entering binding arbitration."

Isn't Eddie sounding just like ex-Mayor Mike Hurst who came up with his "made-in-Windsor" border solution. Ironically, Mike's so-called solution helped allow Eddie to become Mayor. I wonder who the beneficiary of Eddie's solution will be.

Gee, I must have been away when Eddie called me because no one asked for my opinion. A couple of polls were taken but since their results did not meet Eddie's needs, they could be ignored just like the Petition with those thousands of signatures. They don't count either.

I wonder what the Polera survey said. Since it has not been released by the Party who took it, one can guess.

Here is what really shocked me in the Globe story. Is this closing one's eyes to breaches of City By-laws. What happened to liability concerns? Could this be a contributor to violence? I am greatly disturbed. The consequences can be drastic:

  • "Residents are coming out, cutting the parks, cutting the boulevards. That level of support is a reflection of them trying to tell council not to cave,” Mr. Francis said."

I do not understand Eddie's logic actually. If more parks remain uncut than cut, shouldn't Eddie be caving? Isn't that the clear delivery of a message? Arbitrate now!

Have you noticed who have been virtually invisible in this strike, not standing up for their union supporters: NDP MPs Joe Comartin and Brian Masse.

Can you imagine how they would be screaming for the Government to intervene after a 10-week strike if the employer was a private enterprise organization and not the City of Windsor headed by Eddie Francis.

They can attend an OFL rally in Amherstburg and talk about the NDP fighting for pensions, benefits and EI or saying it is “utter nonsense” to have pensions referred to as legacy costs. Talk is cheap on a platform but where are their nasty comments about what the City is doing? I wonder if CUPE voters will remember that at election time.

Do you like the witch-hunt going on over the big leak? Integrity Commissioner, outside lawyer, swearing affidavits. I am waiting for the demand for lie detectors and hiring of private eyes. Whose phone call logs will be scrutinized, whose emails will be viewed? Whose Blackberry will be taken away for examination?

Why things are so bad that my inside moles are beside themselves, almost giddy actually, laughing so hard at what is going on! I wonder how many whistleblowers BLOGGERs will have contacting them after this strike is over. Revenge can be sweet after all.

Frankly though, if I was a Windsor Councillor, I would tell the Mayor and his lawyer to go stuff it. I would never sign an affidavit. Are the Councillors so cowardly that they will NOT stand up for themselves? Does their word mean nothing? It tells me that there is nothing but mistrust at Council amongst the people there that such action needs to be taken. It's a shame.

Perhaps we can hire the Michigan Governor's Hubby again to teach Councillors to be friends amongst each other.

It’s funny though. I have not heard this righteous indignation about other leaks to the media that impacted the City in the past. Just this case. Hmmm I wonder why.

I wonder if we can sell tickets at either the theatre at the Casino or the East End arena for people to watch the examination of the Mayor, Councillors and Union leaders during the negotiating in bad faith hearing at the Labour Board as to what took place during the stairwell deal. It would be a sell-out!

I am surprised that as part of their complaint CUPE did not refer to Councillor Postma’s comments in her BLOG but I am sure that she will make an excellent witness for CUPE.

I would think that if the strike is resolved before the hearing we may be deprived of that extravaganza. I would expect that a condition of the resolution would be the withdrawal of the Complaint. Who knows, that might be an incentive for settlement too.

Back to the CAW, remember what I wrote before:

  • "Deep Throat continued

    “What we are really seeing is the start of the war to see who will “rule” Windsor!”

    “Rule Windsor?” I sputtered. “What the heck does that mean? Who cares about this little pond in the forgotten part of Ontario...

    I understood it now in a flash. It was all to build a massive power base. The CUPE strike was nothing more than a tool to seal a deal between the CAW and the Mayor. I guessed that the CAW had no idea that it was being used either as part of something much, much bigger. They were primarily interested in the increased number of members.”

Go back and read this BLOG again: Explaining The CUPE Strike (Part II)

In a nutshell, if my suspicions are correct, the "strike"Plan was developed as far back as 2005 after the last contract negotiations. There is no doubt in my mind that a number of experienced "strike" consultants were hired. I wonder if we will ever see their costs.

The PRBs created a huge unfunded liability for the City that will negatively impact Windsor's S&P bond rating and would effect taxpayers down the road. It was not possible to get rid of PRBs all at once. After all, why be open like the Windsor Public Library and talk to your employees in advance of contract negotiations. So stage it. Take on one union at a time.

There were some "try-ons." However, the reality is that the arbitrators will not remove benefits from Police and Firefighters and other "essential" groups unless other employees lose them first. The City knew that and had to plan for it.

Accordingly, I expect that the decision was made to take on the vulnerable first, the ones who are lowest paid and most likely to fold quickly. As Councillor Mom disclosed, it would seem that the instructions given were not to negotiate but to crush:

  • "I strongly believe that for the past 7 weeks council has not given our negotiating team the tools to truly negotiate. We have set parameters for them but have not given them the autonomy required to get a contract. In essence they have been negotiating with themselves."

We'll see if she is correct when the bad faith claim is heard.

What the thinking had to be was that the employees could not afford a strike of more than a few weeks in length.

In my opinion, at some point in time, the Eminence Greasie woke up to the fact that this strike could give Eddie a powerbase he did not have. It was not a big leap considering that one of Eddie's good buddies on Council is Junior, the son of the head honcho of CAW!

The Eminence also recognized that the strike could also make Eddie a hero by standing up to the greedy unions to fight for taxpayers. Ironically, the "greedy" contracts of CAW workers and the attacks on them made it easy for CUPE workers to be attacked. If I had to lose mine, then they should lose theirs!

Get CAW some new members--CUPE members who have had enough of the "failings" of their union leaders and lack of significant help from their Ontario and National HQs---and all of a sudden Eddie has a political machine in town that can be viewed as unbeatable. It makes the E-Machine look sickly by comparison!

An "F.O." here and there works wonders to appear as a fighter for CUPE workers as does supporting CUPE workers at their sessions.

A savvy politician like Spanky can see the handwriting on the wall. No wonder he met with Eddie recently. And there is no doubt that if Eddie decides to run for a third term, then all of the forces well be aligned against Bill Marra to ensure that he does not do so!

In the end, this strike is all about crushing:

  • crush CUPE's vulnerable workers

  • crush police, firefighters and other essential workers

  • crush Dwight and Sandra

  • crush Marra.

Thanks Gord for validating my theory. The Sheriff strikes again!