Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My Mailbox Is Full

More comments from readers.

1) [Re Brian Masse's letter] It's a standard letter that was sent to everyone who wrote. Although, I only received it once instead of the total times I've written to him. Big surprise there.

2) Thought you'd like to know... this is the 12th scheduled meeting of the Tunnel Commission of The City of Windsor that has been CANCELLED since the last meeting actually was held in May 2009.

Makes you wonder:... WAS HAPPENIN'? ?

3) I sure hope this comes to an end TODAY. I don't know what will happen if this is not settled. Anyways have a nice day and keep your fingers crossed for us!!

4) In re: WEDC web site. When a major opportunity arises such as the need to sell Michael Jackson memorabilia, web sites are created in less than a week, operate for a few months until the market dries up and then are taken down. All in less time than it will apparently take WEDC to put up a web site.

5) Re: Brian Masse's letter

He writes:

"Thank you for copying me on your email and thoughts about the current situation. As you are aware, I have spoken to both sides and publically have and continue to call for arbitration, but as a Federal Representative I have no authority to make this happen as it is municipal issue overseen by the Province of Ontario."

So why then did our MP get a guest column in the Windsor Star denouncing the province over the city's proposed Greenlink concept?

He has no authority - save to huff and puff.

6) [Re Gondolaing about CUPE HQ and the environmentalists] Talk about striking a nerve. You shoulda been a dentist.

7) I love your blog and have been reading it faithfully for quite some time. I just have a comment to make regarding the Dragon Boat races and their decision to move the races to Tecumseh. Not sure if you noticed their insert in the Windsor Star last week which included the plans for the monument which will be built at the Tecumseh waterfront location at a cost of $250,000 (or something like that).

Funny how this whole switch from Sandpoint Beach to Tecumseh was blamed on CUPE but suddenly the monument which was supposed to be built there is going to Tecumseh as well............isn't that all a little strange. I think there's much more to this story than what we are being told.

8) I thought blogs were supposed to allow comments, but I see you pick and choose your emails and then use them as representative of all thoughts on your blog. Interesting, but not very factual.

[NOTE: To repeat again for new readers: I do not allow comments because of possible slanderous comments made by anonymous posters. That happened when I first got started and I learned that lesson quickly

I moderate what is sent me and generally post everything sent to me with the right obviously to edit as needed. I do not pick and choose as suggested.

And no, BLOGs do not necessarily add comments.

I invite people with opinions to start their own BLOG. It can be done at no cost to you through BLOGGER. Write whenever the mood strikes. You need not do it as much as I or other political Bloggers in town.]

9) Just a quick note, visited the Dragon Boat Races in Tecumseh this weekend, it was great they did a great job getting it ready and fun was had by all.

Can you please post this clarification about CUPE and the Dragon Boat Races. At no time was it CUPE's intent to picket the Dragon Boat Races in Windsor, in fact I was told that the DB organizers came to see what could be done, CUPE offered to bring in bales of hay and help tamp down the grass for the event, however the organizers kindly declined; they appreciated the attempts made by CUPE to assist, but did not want to get in the middle of the labour dispute and decided it was best to find another venue.

10) I see Eddie will have three days to review the offer and 3 days to brow beat the councillors into submission. I would not be surprised if this did not go through. Those councillors are all Eddie whipped. This is a tragedy.

IMO councillors should have met immediately and looked at the proposal at the same time as Eddie. That is a democratic way.

11) went by city hall a couple times this morning.[Sunday morning} eddie's vehicle with several others are there. my guess is they are checking the offer and
deciding what to counter for their final offer. he has to make it very,
very good for it to be passed by this union group. average guy out there
is down 10 thousand. be it in credit cards or loans...

i have to accept he does not care about us. that was hard for me.
the OLRB is the trump card, hope the union plays it. they always fold when
they have the winning hand.

12) i dread going back. Too many hard feelings

13) I emailed Brian Masse and got the same response - word for word......sad that he or a staff member cannot do anything but send out the same reply to all those who write in..... I have never heard from a picket captain that he has visited the lines. I'd love to know where and when.
He can fight for A Channel but not for CUPE members. I will remember that at election time when he comes to my door.

14) Just holding a collective breath about tomorrow and don't want to jinx anything. Could be a spa will be needed before the end of this nightmare to help everyone hold up.

15) Ed, just noticed something along Ec Row.

The grass is cut on public property.
Did someone lease the median between the roads to make it legal?
Even the on ramps are nice and neat.
Is the strike over?

16) I have recently moved to Ottawa after living in Windsor for all my life,
I just wanted to say keep up the good work!
In trying to get a sense of what is going on in Windsor I find your posts to be the best.
I am totally fed up with the Windsor Star, and mostly because when I read it, I feel like I'm being force fed the information the way they want me to receive it.
Your posts are well written, frank and a pleasure to read.. And unlike reading the Windsor Star, my I.Q doesn't drop in the process.

Thanks again

17) I am expecting the city to counter with a final to force a vote. That is
my eddie move.

i believe if the eddie counter offer is not exceedingly full of financial
riches the members will vote it down and force arbitration.

some of the members would take anything after 3 months. some of us just
wont let eddie win. if the membership can hang on through this we will
have achieved something worth being out for three months. eddie won't
get to break CUPE which was his original goal.

18) Just got a chance to read your blog about the Pasta Dinner and comment about the support CUPE received. We did in fact have a wonderful show of support for the Citizens of Windsor and from the Businesses. FYI – It is my understanding only not many of our own members attended (don’t have the money) but that the vast number were supporters of CUPE and our cause. Also I was told not one business refused a donation and not one business spoke in support of “Eddie”.

19) Cities chasing public unions to reopen contracts now - think automotive sector - open season time for sure. Maybe it is time for unions to chase employers for negotiations any ol' time instead of respecting contract dates. I mean if it's not respected by employers, why not us. Just imagine the instability across all of the economy if this opening of contracts continues....

Open letter to the Mayor and Council of the City of Brantford
July 10, 2009 03:12 PM

Dear Mayor Hancock and Councillors Littell, Kinneman, Sless, Bucci, McCreary, Martin, Carpenter, Calnan, Bradford and Ceschi-Smith:

We are writing on behalf of over 500 Brantford city workers who provide vital public services to the residents of our city.

The unions representing public works, housing, welfare, libraries, water and hydro, city transportation and parks and recreation workers have formed a Labour Coalition to stand up to the City's public positions against unionized workers and their collective agreements.

Collectively we are requesting that city leaders stop using the recession to target workers and our collective agreements. As city workers and long-time residents of our community, we are happy to work with senior elected officials and management to overcome this global economic downturn. But we will not participate in any actions that undermine the collective bargaining process including the City's request to open up existing collective agreements.

We are fully aware of the global economic downturn that is affecting everyone. We remind you this global recession was not caused by workers. We expect the leaders of this city to show leadership and work with us to find innovative ways to overcome this downturn. Targeting unionized workers and undermining the collective bargaining process is simply a non starter and could set back labour relations for years to come.

As city workers and full-time residents of our community we know intimately the strength, vibrancy and the current and potential growth of City of Brantford. So it came as a surprise and disappointment when senior management shared the City's 'Economic Position and Budget Direction' report with us.

We question the 'doom and gloom' picture the report tries to portray. This predominantly negative report seems to be missing important sections including current stimulus activities (such as the approved federal stimulus plan for the re-build of the Wayne Gretzky Arena and others that create local jobs) and a pro-active strategy by the City to combat this economic downturn. Surely a report of this nature should show a full and complete picture including jobs created in growth sectors and what the leaders plan to do to attract new investment to lead us out of this economic wilderness.

As public servants, we are happy to help senior leaders and work with management to outline the current growth in our diversified economy (a pro-active diversification strategy adopted by the City to combat the recession from the early 90's) that is not identified in the report and help you find savings including bringing back many public services that have been contracted out to private companies that cost more to the city. This is an opportunity to bring these contracted services in-house so the city can have cost savings with more control and greater accountability over public

As requested by the City, we are in the process of identifying savings that will help the city finances and will be happy to share this with you once our report is completed.

In closing, this coalition is urging elected officials and senior management to work respectfully with city workers. As city workers begin negotiations on Monday, July 13, 2009 we expect a fair bargaining process that will lead us to fair collective settlements.

Working together, like we have done with our coalition, is the positive solution to move the City of Brantford forward.


The City of Brantford Labour Coalition

20) you are right! The good stuff always comes at the bottom of an article!

21) Why hasn't anyone questioned Dwight Duncan's figures on the revenue estimate for Red Bull? I feel they are astronomically high. So I'll question them.

On a comparative basis, the NCAA "March Madness" Basketball Tourney can be used as a starting point. Even though it is an indoor event with attendance restricted by the available seating, the audience is much larger than the "paid attendees" and local businesses can still attest to the level of trade generated by the games. And even though it is a month long tournament, individual weekends can be used in our comparison, as opposed to an aggregate accounting.

With the college basketball giants of Duke and North Carolina playing, Greensboro reported $20 million US in direct spending in one weekend. "Direct spending" describes the outlay for such things as hotels, restaurants, retail products, etc. That's not including tickets or merchandising at the venue which can be estimated to be an extra $3-$4 million. So almost $25 million. But an argument can be made that Red Bull can't be compared to the opening weekend of March Madness. OK, then let's look at the Final Four.

Detroit (figures unavailable) expected 30,000 out of town visitors to the final weekend of the tournament. One that included home state favourite Michigan State. How much revenue could be expected to be made on the biggest basketball weekend? A sport ranked in the top three in the US (behind only football and baseball), in the last four years generated $40-$47 million in St Louis, Indianapolis, Atlanta, and San Antonio, each. Not even $50 million; so an aerobatic spectacle, with a limited following mainly in Europe and Africa, such as Red Bull could hardly be expected to out-perform the Number 3 sport in the US.

Dwight's off the mark with his estimate, given less than 12 hours after the resounding non-event was over.

The stats and figures are as reported in "NCAA Approved", Sports Illustrated, 6 April 2009 Issue.

22) For Immediate Release
Thursday, July 09, 2009

Will Windsorites Ever Learn the True Cost of the Strike?

The Concerned Citizens Action Committee, an ad-hoc group of Windsor residents formed to seek a fair resolution of the on-going City of Windsor strike, now has a new worry.

"We’ve been raising simple questions, trying to get clear, simple answers to questions about the sums spent by the City for lawyers, substitute workers, security guards, extra payments to employees who are handling extra work," said lawyer Victoria Cross. "To date, our questions have not only been ignored. They have been dismissed."

In correspondence with the CCAC organiser, Councilor Drew Dilkens was firm in his rejection of the idea of providing such information, characterizing the CCAC as a group set on destruction rather than a fair resolution. "I am not, nor will I ever be prepared to ask for the release of information to a group that is interested in destroying the position of the City of Windsor," wrote Dilkens in electronic communication.

"It is obvious that Councilor Dilkens sees any Windsor Citizens or taxpayer organisation not in full agreement with him and the Mayor as the enemy," said CCAC organiser and University of Windsor professor in Labour Studies Len Wallace. "Many thousands of Windsorites do not agree with the Mayor and City Councilors’ position. Does Councilor Dilkens suggest we’re out to destroy this city? If they claim to represent taxpayers then why are they not releasing essential information to the taxpayers?"

Member of the group and Windsor lawyer Kendal McKinney commented, "The City of Windsor should have been much more forthcoming with basic information about their position from the beginning. The selective release of information out of context and the withholding of important information has distorted and prolonged this dispute. The City owes a duty to all citizens to be as forthright as the negotiating process will allow. Hiding behind the City’s awful record on Freedom of Information requests and playing partisan games over the politics of labour relations is not serving this community."

"Will City Councilors do the right thing and be prepared to make a motion to Council instructing the City Clerk to use discretionary exemptions to release the records of meetings held in secret, and release advice memos provided to Council, and any of the information subject to solicitor-client privilege, including fees, disbursements, and services?" asked Victoria Cross.

23) [Re Snakes and Rats in Windsor] Ed, you are just way too funny. Your sarcasm is oozing this morning. Thanks for the laugh.

24) [Re Snakes and Rats in Windsor] So that's what is going on in City Hall. Endangered Species.

25) You seem to be the only one reporting BOTH sides of this whole mess. The Star could and should take lessons from you.

26) I very much admire your writing style and courage when it comes to political issues that have been doused with the fuel of lies and inflamed by the winds of deceit.

My wife is a striking CUPE worker... Local 543 and we are having a rough go of it all. Financially we are so strapped as I have applied for CPPD and she is drawing $200 a week in strike pay, for a family of four. She has cried more than once when she hears all of the tales impending doom and defeat spun by the mayor and the Windsor Star, only to cry again when she sees true acts of altruism that rarely reach the public through the tainted media. The pasta fundraiser is a good example of this; only a very few who read your blog, attended the fundraiser or are within a few degrees of knowing someone will hear about how many supporters there are of this Godforsaken strike.

My wife has returned from picketing many times to inform me of who was bumped or hit by a vehicle of an angry citizen. We never hear about such things from the media but we do hear about the mayor's demand for strong police protection for himself and the various city properties. We do hear about the mayor being livid about a handful of rogue strikers picketing his street and how awful this all is...and the heinous evil thugs who dared bring his strike to his door as he has for 1,800 CUPE workers and their families.

I have never in my life been so disgusted with the media in this city, especially The Star and The A-Channel. It's bad enough to hear the Mayor spin tales in the media and then to mealy-mouth back-pedal off camera and out of print... To have the printed word and the video news skew reality so much is in my mind not only an unethical act but also quite possibly an illegal one.

27) Hi Ed, Note this article from the National Union of Public and General Employees from 2005. This is what unions are up against, an organization who won't even identify their members. Well, I will be sure to look for the CFIB label on the doors of local businesses and I will NOT be doing business with them

28) I would have liked to have been at the pasta dinner, but we had picket duty 3-7, having a chance to meet you would have been nice as well, perhaps another time.

Thanks for the information you blogged about the dinner it was nice to hear about it.

We are all keeping our fingers crossed in hopes of an end to the strike, keeping the Faith.

29) just started reading your blog....I found that the media was being used against CUPE... I'm a big believer in propaganda and we are being lead like cattle by our local media....I don't trust them and I urge everyone I know to stop buying the star....

30)Ed, when will they decide that they own all of the crossings in Canada. Our governments have ignored rule of law and will regret it.