CUPE's First Law And The Caboto Club "Riot"
Councillor Halberstadt's son might have been a witness to history in the making as a result of the potential riot during the CUPE strike
- "My son is taking a course in local history at the U this summer, and is working off a book chronologizing the 99-day Ford strike in 1945. The 1919 SW&A bus driver strike is also part of the course. Things were much different in those days. Andrew tells me that the bus strike was settled when the government sent in the militia to drive the street cars."
Given what Jim Wood said, there is no doubt that the Police, Windsor with perhaps OPP as back-up, would have been called:
- "I thought there was going to be a riot"
People could have been badly hurt, or worse, and no doubt there would have been many arrests.
Think I am exaggerating. Here is what the CAO admitted in his letter:
- "In my 28 years of employment in the field of municipal administration, this has been the low point in my career. This is an action I deeply regret as these employees were placed in a difficult and potentially dangerous situation.
I have just returned from a meeting at the offices on McDougall (Parks and Recreation offices), where I apologized to these loyal management employees."
Here is what bugs me if I as a citizen of Windsor am to take the following statement seriously. What absolute hypocrisy by the person who took responsibility for the Caboto fiasco. What else could he do as the Head of the City and the one in charge of the strike? He acted once again in taking these steps without the knowledge of his Council colleagues. He is out of control, a one-man show with no checks and balances it seems. According to the Star, "Francis said he dispatched the managers:"
- "Absolutely we are disappointed," he [Francis] said. "We wanted our workers back, we needed our workers back, we wanted to get our city running again. But at the end of the day there is a process. They have a legitimate right to strike and they are on strike. It is regrettable we are not announcing the end of that strike today."
Oh Lord, not process again. His process ensured a NO vote.
Look at the finger pointing and excuse making going on. Notice though the City's outside counsel has not been interviewed and no one has asked exactly what advice he gave. Sure he said give information to the workers but did he advise the method by which it was to be done
- "I wish to advise you that in order to mitigate against CUPE messaging to vote against Council's proposal as a result of the lack of a return to work protocol, the Mayor, with advice of external legal counsel, made a decision to release to the union membership, the draft return to work protocols...
Against my own instinct and advice to the Mayor, I asked the Executive Director of Parks and Facilities to mobilize his supervisory staff to undertake the task of distributing these documents."
Then why did the CAO do it if he suspected it was wrong? Was he forced into it? Was he overruled? Did he just go along with it? Did he warn the Executive Director of Parks and Facilities and his supervisory staff about the risks and dangers in advance. Were they told to go or given the option not to go without a reprimand or penalty?
We learned more:
- "Francis said he ignored Skorobohacz's misgivings and listened to the advice of lawyer George King, who said it was important the city provide workers with details of its back-to-work protocol proposal.
"I took the advice of legal counsel and what happened, happened. I explained to city council that I'll take full responsibility for that," said Francis.
"We apologized obviously and I will apologize. At the end of the day, the decision that was made was to try to put information into the hands of workers that were calling and saying there was concern about back-to-work protocol."
How cavalier..."what happened, happened." I think it was more "Que sera, sera."
- "Asked about the e-mail Friday, Skorobohacz said he wasn't blaming the mayor because the mayor was simply following the advice of a lawyer with expertise in labour matters."
Right, like the CAO is going to blame his superior!
Poor outside lawyer. Mind you, he gets the big bucks so that fault can be passed to him. Is it George King? He is being blamed for the fiasco. But as I said, no one knows what he actually advised.
In the end, an outside lawyer only gives advice. The client, in this case the Mayor, makes the ultimate decision. He cannot pass it on. He must accept the blame.
And Eddie has NO excuse. After all as he took pains to tell us in the Library incident:
Ahhhh, but should we listen to Councillor Valentinis who "said he would rather focus on finding solutions than casting blame."
Sorry, Councillor, that technique does not work. We need to focus on management actions that almost caused a human disaster but for the common sense of some CUPE employees who had the brains to escort the supervisors off premises, away from possible harm.
I do not want to protect the Mayor, the CAO, the outside lawyer and whomever else was involved from the consequences of their stupid move! I want blame found and people punished for their misdeeds. This cannot and should not be be swept under the rug.
Remember the howling after Eh-Channel released the Youtube garbage video and the ugly comments made. Eeryone can guess it was a set-up. That incident pales in comparison with the Caboto episode. Where is the mob screaming down our Leaders?
Remember the cries of indignation when the CUPE workers picketed the Mayor's home only to learn now from the Mayor himself that there was nothing illegal about what they did. What a switch. Now no discipline will be taken against them. How could there be anyway if what they did is legal? Thanks for nothing.
How about the poor CUPE worker who took the keys of the car of a person illegally dumping trash and was charged by the Police. Has the case been thrown out yet by the Crown?
Never mind Councillor the pain and suffering caused to City supervisors and CUPE workers who have not yet received an apology. Never mind Councillor that it will cause the City more pain since the strike has been prolonged. We cannot forget. How many workers would have voted YES but for the incident.
There is a need for consequences for management too just as there is for CUPE members who misbehave. It is not all one-way.
CUPE, and if not CUPE then individual CUPE members, should obtain immediately legal advice and consider some or all of the following steps:
1) Demand that the Windsor Police Services Board call in the OPP to investigatge whether charges should be laid in this matter and if the Board refuses, it should call in the OPP.
2) Call in the Occupational Health and Safety Branch to investigatge if there were breaches of the statute that should give rise to charges
3) File another claim of bargaining in bad faith and of unfair practices and ask the Board to make the appropriate order against the City including but not limited to damages for lost wages
4) Demand that the Labour Minister set up an "industrial inquiry commission to inquire into and report to the Minister" on the way that the City has acted in this strike and in particular with respect to the Caboto incident and other provocations.
Am I suggesting that CUPE take these actions to be vindictive? No. As Jim Wood said and has become clear because of the lack of apology by the CAO and Mayor:
- "Our people want respect, and they didn't get it today."