Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A Few Strike Thoughts

Just some ideas I had that would not fill up separate BLOGs:


It would be nice to be able to talk to her or at least to have someone give me her side of the story.

I just do not think it is just as simple as it is made out to be. If one looks closely at the video, the question at the 35 second mark is has it been edited. If so why?

Why wasn't there any audio either? Was it deleted for a reason?

There was also another person "littering." Who was he and why was he doing it?

Of course, many people know who this lady is, including me, but why she won't give her side of the story, if there is one, surprises me. It just makes her look "guilty!"


Take a look at this video taken from City Council by Chris Schnurr and especially at the 1:08 minute mark.

Considering what the Mayor said about liability, why were citizens allowed on the grounds at Willistead. The Star described the Park as "downright dangerous." There was a huge risk of liability that necessitated the Mayor sending out a letter to protect the City's position.

I wonder if 15 year old Zoe was there to let people know where the pieces of fencing were found so no one would get hurt. After all
  • "It's really dangerous," she said. "You can't see them hidden in the grass and weeds."

    [She] said she found most of the wire -- which appears to be cut from chain-linked fencing -- littered along the perimeter of the park with tire tracks running alongside where the wire was found.

    She speculated that the wire was placed there by striking CUPE workers to prevent private companies from mowing the grass before the Art in the Park festival, scheduled for June 6 and 7."

The Star reported at the Ford test track that

  • "Windsor police, concerned about possible conflict, also advised against the citizens' mowing initiative."

Was that warning given at Willistead too?

I just don't get it...why did the Police allow the mowing to take place. They must know City by-laws inside out especially since they are so familiar with Supreme Court of Canada decisions about picketing at private residences!

All's well that ends well. The grass was cut just in time for Art in the Park!


On April 18, we read:

  • "Jim Wood, president of CUPE Local 82, accused the mayor of taking too dominant a role in the failed contract talks. "I've said all along (Francis) has been driving the bus," Wood said. "This is my fourth negotiations and this is the weirdest thing I've ever seen with the mayor coming in and talking to me."

    Contacted for a response, Francis said he won't be drawn into making the dispute personal.

    "Listen: They need somebody to attack," Francis said. "That's fine.

    "It's part of my job. They're more than welcome to attack me. They're more than welcome to personalize this. But that's not going to bring a resolution to the matter.

    "At the end of the day, I'm following council direction."

    Francis is not an official member of the city's negotiating team."

Was the City ever negotiating?

Caroline Postma in her BLOG states clearly:

  • "Last week was rare with a unanimous motion not to go to binding arbitration and to reaffirm faith in our bargaining team.

    Last week we made the decision to allow our team more freedom to negotiate a contract that is fair to both parties and we also agreed that binding arbitration is not the right path for us. 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...

    I am not sure what the next steps are other than to get back to the table and negotiate the contract...

    I just want the negotiating teams to return to the table and get it done"

So let me see, for most of this time while the strike was on we now know that there were no real negotiations. The City did not allow their team "the tools to truly negotiate" nor "the autonomy required to get a contract."

Does anyone truly believe that things will be any better now? There are no talks scheduled so there is nothing to negotiate!

Our Mayor threatens with "a supervised vote on the employer's final offer, which could be requested by the city under terms of the Ontario Labour Relations Act."

He won't. That requires there to be a "final offer." Is there one? I'd sure like to know the terms.

Eddie of course knows it would be rejected and that is why he is afraid to do it now. He would look foolish! Better to wait until a few striker homes are foreclosed or some strikeers cross the picket line first.

Then the CAW can step in to facilitate a settlement!


If so, when?

I saw this story:

  • "City services grind to halt; Inside workers poised to join strike 04-18-2009

    Windsor's 1,400 municipal inside employees were poised to join striking outside workers -- worsening the work stoppage that has forced the suspension of city services such as garbage pickup, recycling collection, parks maintenance and now licensing.

    Despite hours of discussion, city negotiators and union representatives could not reach a resolution late Friday night, and CUPE Local 543 prepared to stand by Local 82 on the picket lines."

Yet a CUPE worker wrote to me and claimed:

  • "I haven't seen it printed anywhere about the physical locks on City Hall being changed by 3:45 p.m. April 17/09 either. The locks were changed before the negotiation teams even met on that day to "resolve" the issues. I happened to take a late break and laughed and asked the person changing the lock if they were getting ready for a lockout. He simply grimaced at me and continued on. Shortly after, [another person]came out and said "Did you see that? They just changed the locks on my door!". He was quite surprised."

Does that means that there was no hope of a settlement and the negotiations into the night were all for naught?


Councillor Halberstadt raised the bogey man of arbitration in his BLOG as if somehow the sky would fall even though the City firefighters are now involved in it because they could not negotiate a contract with the City either.

How quickly can a decision be reached? It can take some time.

  • "Contract negotiations between the city [St. Catherines] and its firefighters broke down in 2005 and an arbitrator was appointed to resolve the dispute in 2007."

The decision was reached in 2009, four years later, just in time to negotiate again on a new contract:

  • "But because the contract has expired, the city has already begun negotiating again, said city clerk Ken Todd, whose department handles negotiations.

    “We are basically right back at it for 2009,” Todd said. “We’ve already had a preliminary meeting.”

Don't feel too bad for that City:

  • "St. Catharines Mayor Brian McMullan said Tuesday the city is disappointed, but not surprised because similar raises and seniority awards were being handed out in Ontario."
So why was taxpayer money wasted if this decision was expected:
  • "City administrator Colin Briggs said the municipality was expecting the raises, and has been setting aside money over the past four years in anticipation of having to make the payout.

    But the city had hoped to avoid having to give recognition pay, also known as “3,6 and 9,” based on the amount of seniority.

    However other cities’ firefighters were routinely being awarded recognition pay, Briggs said, which is why the city included $664,000 in the 2009 budget, in anticipation of being forced to pay it."

The City gambled and lost in other words. Why in the words of a Windsor City lawyer, Patrick Brode, in a City of Windsor losing case concerning an expropriation

  • "The city would have owed Meconi the $143,000 plus interest and legal costs last year had it done nothing, so it was worth spending a little more in the bid to overturn the OMB ruling, said Brode.

    "It was well worthwhile for city council to decide that we should contest this before the courts," said Brode.

    "We weren't successful, but I would suggest to you it was worth a try."

Is it really CUPE who is the desperate party and not the City who is afraid of losing?

For whom is arbitration worth the try? Perhaps if there had been negotiations there would be no need to talk about arbitration!