Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, June 19, 2009

City/CUPE Drama

Just some more thoughts. I told you that nothing is ever simple in Windsor


I wonder if she has cooled off yet after storming out of the City's meeting calling the City's actions unfair. While I am sure that she has scored a lot of points with CUPE members because she has again confirmed how the City has been acting, she was not elected to fume!

Her job is to act in the best interests of the City by being at meetings, presenting her opinions to her colleagues, trying to perusade them to her side and voting on issues. She achieves none of this by walking out in a fit of anger while ensuring that the media covers her. In fact, she hurts those she is trying to protect by NOT being there.

What was discussed after she left? What could she have contributed? Would that have helped in the final Council vote? I guess we will never know.


Would I ever like to be invited to the CUPE meeting on Friday. Perhaps some of my CUPE readers could arrange for me to get a pass:

  • "Information Meeting for 82 and 543 members - Friday, June 19 @ 1 p.m. at the Caboto Club (2175 Parent Avenue) - doors will open at 12 noon. You must present your Union card or two pieces of i.d. to gain entry to the meeting.

    Please be aware that there is a media blackout in place. Recent reports that you may have heard from the media do not reflect our Union's position."

I must admit based on the media reports, it seemed that CUPE might be prepared to trade PRBs for cash. I thought, if true, why was it necessary to have such a long strike about it when CUPE was going to cave anyway. If it was not going to happen, I figured it would be a very long and bitter strike that was going to require the Province to intervene to solve this. I wondered frankly, if the Windsor locals could hold out given the hardship that many members have been telling me about.

I assume that this is what is going to be discussed at the session, to see how members react and how far they are prepared to go. Moreover, the union leaders are going to have to talk about an action plan considering their charges against the City. Where do they go from here?

It should be interesting on Friday and I wish I could be there!


This is the third silly headline the Star has run in the past few weeks!

  • "CUPE charges frivolous: Francis"

DUH, what else do you expect him to say? Too bad that he forgot to throw in "vexatious" as well.

Here is a game to play over the weekend or on the picket lines. Who would want to sabotage the negotiations and why. Eddie claimed he was hoping that there was going to be an anouncement that a deal had been reached.

Someone in the Union could have done it as an example. That person could have been furious about the thought that PRBs were going to be removed after such a long strike. Rather than having that happen, a good leak to the media could get workers so upset that there was no hope that such a proposal would pass.

What about someone from the City? That person could have leaked the information knowing workers would get upset as well. Negotiatons would have to start again but now, the City would know how low the Union was prepared to go to settle and would come back with an even lower offer knowing that the alternative was weeks more on the line and more suffering!

Another alternative....well you can do your own guessing now!


It's about time! Given what Councillor Mom has said, I am surprised it took so long.

When you have a member of management setting out facts that make those charges seem possible and then walking out of a City meeting saying what the City was doing was unfair then what else did the Union need to go forward?

Did anyone forget the stairwell negotiations and what happened next? Were there media leaks that caused concern? Read the full complaint on the Star website.

Why even Percy Hatfield, another member of management claimed:

  • "Coun. Percy Hatfield, who supports eliminating post-retirement benefits for employees, also supports axing them for politicians.

    But after failing to defer that issue until after the strike, he voted against it. Cutting the benefits for politicians is the first step toward cutting them for employees, he said. The message is, now we're entitled to ask you to give them up. On the eve of negotiations.

    "I think that's bad faith bargaining," he said."

Like it or not when the matter is heard, when 2 members of management accuse their own group of negotiating in bad faith, that is very serious!

A cynic, which of course I am not, might wonder if the call for negotiations was just a ruse to prevent a complaint from being filed.


CUPE LAWYER: Councillor Postma, has the City acted in bad faith during these negotiations


CUPE LAWYER: Councillor Hatfield, has the City acted in bad faith during these negotiations


CITY LAWYER: Spends the next several hours attacking and trying to destroy the credibility of two Councillors who have been participants in the manner in which the City has chosen to negotiate.

In the end, if there is a benefit of the doubt as to whether there is bad faith or not, guess on whom the decision maker will be forced to rely! What a farce.


  • "Francis released to the media a copy of the 30-page complaint CUPE filed with the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

    Francis said the city would be conducting an internal investigation into a leak of the latest offer to the media Wednesday evening."
A WUC audit and now this for Eddie! Not good.

Did anyone notice in the CUPE materials on the Star website that it said:

I am unaware of Labour Board practice. I assume the Complaint is a "public" document once filed. However, I assume the Mayor got legal advice that it was appropriate to release the information to the media.


Not much of a slap on the wrist to the Mayor after reading Thursday's Editorial. More likely, it was a punch in the mouth to ALL Councillors to warn them to shut up or else. They are destroying the City's well-thought out plan to cripple CUPE.

Poor Councillor Hatfield. He sure got told off. What does he know about unions. After all, he is described on the City's website this way:

  • "While working at the CBC, Councillor Hatfield was a Union Shop Steward and held several National and International positions with his union, The Canadian Media Guild, which is a local of The Newspaper Guild and a Sector within the Communications Workers of America, including CMG Vice-President for Central Canada; three terms as an At-Large Vice-President with TNG/CWA; and two terms as TNG/CWA's Vice-President for Eastern Canada."

Now we have Star Editors giving out legal advice for free. No wonder Windsor lawyers are having a tough time generating fees when the Police and Editors can tell people what the law says. Why even Councillor Jones has been taught about "black letter law!"

Clearly there must have been a meeting in the Publisher's office between the 2 Star Editorials:
  • "The Windsor Star editorial opinions are developed and finalized in the Publisher's Office. They are developed in a group setting by a group usually composed of Publisher Jim Venney, Editor-in-Chief Marty Beneteau, Editorial Page Editor John Coleman and Karen Hall. We believe that even if one member of our group has a bias or conflict, the remainder of the group is in a position to offset that bias."

The newest Editorial is nothing more than trying to justify that Monday's meeting was not as bad as every one knows it is. Eddie blew the City's position big time by his poorly thought-out Motion.

Here is where the Star's logic falls apart since they refuse to correct what they have said happened Monday night in spite of my letter to the Star asking them to do so:

  • "There is no hypocrisy here. Hypocrisy is when you say one thing and do the opposite...

    More relevant would be to hear our councillors' views on retirement benefits for those yet to be elected. It would be wiser to judge them based on future actions on this matter, not the Monday night motion."

Regretfully for the Star, they did so Monday night even if the Star tries to deny it. While demanding that CUPE new hires not have PRBs, newly-elected councillors would keep them. The only difference would have been, if the MAYOR's Motion passed, was that in one case the costs would increase from 50% to 100% for Councillors. The newly-elected Councillors would still have PRBs.


Councillors Dilkens, Marra and Halberstadt could be the key players to bring this silliness to a close.

Like it or not, with the break-up in talks, negotiations will no longer work. There will have to be binding arbitration one way or the other.

If the three of them unite as a block and vote for arbitration, it will take place. But who would dare do it and face the wrath of the Star? And the Mayor?

Councillor Dilkens appears to be hard-lined opposed to the Union's position as a reflection of his constituents' wishes. His rejection of the CUPE 5,000 signatures petition as an example was ridiculous as far as I am concerned! Even if half were "flawed," it is still a significant number of people calling for arbitration.

Councillor Marra would be the most likely of the three to vote for arbitration as a last resort since he prefers consensus. If it cannot be achieved, what other solution is there?

In the end, it all comes down to Alan! If he swtiches, the strike is over.

Frankly, he has no choice but to do so. He admitted his self-interest in voting the way he did on the PRBs. His position was no different than CUPE's in giving up a benefit. He wants it. So do they.

Alan now must support arbitration since negotiations will never achieve a solution.

It's time already! Alan must do his duty no matter how unpleasant! However, he can take comfort in the fact that this mess was caused by "Eddie's gaffe" as the first Star Editorial called it. He can say that Eddie blindsided all of Council again as he did on the canal. I know what Alan should say: