Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, July 03, 2009

Readers' Comments (Part 2)

More readers write

26) Excellent video addition, thanks. Would you be able to e-mail me a copy that I could save?

I wouldn't hold your breath for anything as original from the city may turn a little blue.

Now, if I were to guess who the leak was, would you tell me if I was right or wrong? lol

27) Finally, the real story about the bridge is coming out, thanks to you. BTW, I did not know you were a lawyer.

What we really have to learn about now is what is Eddie's role with the Green Link. He has spent a lot of money on promoting that.

28) I do think the idea of CAW taking over COW workers is a non-starter. Too many pitfalls re: decertification. Too much risk vs. reward.

29) But I think the idea is to SAVE taxpayer money so it doesn't have to be used to subsidize PRB's for future hires; and I'm sorry, but I can't see why taxpayers should pay for this (not even current employees). If you work for a private company, that's a different matter, but the taxpayer already pays for benefits after 65, so why should they double dip, so to speak? And I can't see how they keep saying they are low paid people - it seems to me almost all of them make more than I do, and I think I am paid reasonably.

If they are ligislated back to work, what happens to the negotiations? Is the contract status quo? If that is the case, then, you're right, nothing has been accomplished. Except that city workers have forever given themselves a bad name by many of the antics that have been pulled over the past weeks. The shame of it is, I know it's not the majority of them, and I know that many of them would just like to get back to work, but their union people just won't let them have a say in what's going on.

Never mind - looks like nobody is going to win in this, no matter how it turns out. Whatever happens, half the city is going to be mad. And my next questions, why is Gary Parent and Ken Lewenza and the CAW sticking their noses in this? I'll tell you why - it's just because they think they should be in charge of everything and that everything should be done their way. I say, in their negotiations with employers of CAW personnel, go for it - get what you can - those are private businesses. But this is none of their business... They're doing nothing to get the support of the people of Windsor for CUPE members.

Wow - I'm sorry, Ed - there I go off on another track. And I also apologize - I'm sure you have better things to do than exchange e-mails with me all afternoon!!

Stay cool in this weather, and have a great day!!

30) Does the mayor know the first thing about mediation? A good mediator wants a settlement and it's not his/her job to decide who's right or wrong. The mediator leans on the side considered weakest and will push until a settlement is reached. Why is the city afraid of someone not on the "Ministry of Labour" list?

What a mess.

31) [The Mayor's] just upset his mute button doesn't work outside of Council Chambers

32) Great response to the Jeffrey Simpson's column. You just handed him the very best condensed history lesson on the Ambassador Bridge ever. There are always two sides to every story.

33) The Civil Assistance Plan was signed by the U.S.-Canadian military in February of 2008. The plan would allow the military of one nation to support the other during a civil emergency. The agreement goes well beyond any cross-border crisis. Even though it threatens the sovereignty of each country, there was no public debate and no Parliamentary or Congressional oversight. Similar to the SPP, the Civil Assistance Plan is shrouded in secrecy with missing annexes that remain classified. There are concerns that this agreement could lead to foreign troops being used for gun confiscation and a martial law scenario. Increasingly, the military is being used at sporting events, checkpoints and in some cases, in response to crime. Foreign troops are participating in more training exercises on American soil. Many military drills are also taking place in urban areas to further acclimate military presence on the streets.

A government controlled bridge would go a long way in assisting transborder movement of troops! Enlarged staging areas/plazas at border crossings etc...

Having been in the military myself, it is faster and easier to move large amounts of troops and vehicles rapidly through open areas with good highway access than move them through conjested city streets, were the public can see you or threaten you.

My thoughts, that DRIC will be built to move troops deeper into Ontario or vice versa (not very likely though, more the other way around), the Gateway Plaza at the Ambassador Bridge, will be a staging area for local area control i.e. Windsor and the tunnel.

34) I see that, once again, the Mayor is wrong - but, in your eyes, he is no matter what he does.

My first thought when CUPE wanted to appoint the mediator was "sure - they want somebody who will go along with what they want". And who's to say who is telling the truth about "being inches away from an agreement" - could be the mayor - could be CUPE. I have to admit to feeling that Jim Wood doesn't actually know what's going on when I hear him on the radio. So we should really keep an open mind on that, and many other statements also.

Have to admit, though, I enjoyed your picture in response to the Mayor's "we can build mountains" comment - very funny!!! Even though, I think that particular mountain is the fault of CUPE, but there again, we should agree to disagree.

Another thing I agree with you on is that they should certainly let the bridge company pull down those eyesores on the west side (I think that's where you stand on that). Of course, it's the west side, and nobody seems to care about the west side anyway.

35) [RE Mount Francis] OMG ...too funny Ed. Speaking of funny, this morning on my way to the gym I was listening to 96.7 and they advised the public that our beloved Mayor was in Greece for the Children's Olympics but then AM800 reported that he was overseas trying to bring some company here to mention of Greece but then they said he was also going to Frankfurt to see about the Hub. Just goes to show you....

36) I still cannot believe that he would think so little of his employees that it is more important for him to go abroad than settle the dispute here in Windsor...but then nothing he does should surprise me.

37) Couldnt the mayor just sign a 2 year contract and let them keep their PRBs and put a 2 year hiring freeze in place?

That would solve his problem until the end of his term.

38) If the CAW is planning to make a move on CUPE it will come as a huge blind side. In my experience it hasn't even come up as a topic of speculation on the picket lines. Personally, even with the mistakes the locals have made through the course of the strike I don't see the benefit of switching unions.

39) It is interesting to me that the mayor's response to this [CUPE OLRB] complaint is that it is "frivolous" . He is not saying that it is unfounded or untrue but rather that it is "frivolous". I have never considered ethics, morality, honesty or the rules of fair play ( or the law for that matter) to be frivolous concepts...

There is my soap box for the day. Hope you are having a good one

40) Interesting read as usual. I think I will give Mr. Comartin a call this week see where he's been...under a rock?

[About the Mayor going to Greece] the song by the Clash comes to mind "Should I Stay or Should I go Now".

So now we sit and wait... I guess. I have really learned to be patient through this strike, but the hardest part is not having any control over what is going on. Putting a sign around my neck has become so second nature to me now it feels more like my job then driving into work.... Ah going to work, wonder when that day will come.

I really miss my job,I really enjoy it and I work hard at it. Isn't it sad that I have to tell you I work hard at my job, it has come to that now I think we feel we need to defend ourselves in every way.

Oh well Ce La vie.... This too shall pass.

41) Of course Eddie doesn't mind having a new mediator - as long as they start where they left off.

I don't know how slick Jim Wood et al think they are but an offer on the table is exactly what they put out... Their last offer is out there. No wonder Eddie doesn't mind picking up where they left off. In his mind, that final offer IS a good starting point and he can easily claim that they were only inches away.

42) The whole power of the strike seems to be coming from our fearless leader Eddie Francis. Everybody in our union passionately hates the man and he has through his media circus has caused an army of Francis defyers out in the city. The CAW was there at our meeting to show that they are with us 100 percent and gave speeches as well. The speeches were inspirational and kept the moral up to show strength. There is allot of people that have spoke up that have shown very bad losses in there homes and are struggling very hard. I don't read the Windsor Star Enquirer anymore or if I do I tell people the truth wherever I go. I find that if I talk to lots of bank tellers and hair dressers it seems to get the message out allot because they talk to several people a day. Most people I talk too don't like the Windsor star and find it very depressing.

43) People needed to vent and there were tons of questions to be had. Everything was answered -that helped.

CAW and Gary Parent were there to show their support - financially and on the line.

44) As for us ditching CUPE and joining CAW, I don't really see that happening. We've been CUPE forever and I think its the right union for us, along with all other public service workers. Maybe we will have to change our leadership but I can't see us changing unions.

I for one, would be glad if the Mayor was telling the truth about giving each and every one of us existing workers an iron-clad legal document guaranteeing us our PRB's. This is a battle that I DO NOT WANT to have to fight over and over again each time a contract expires. He claims it would be taken off the table forever, that is what I would like to see.

45) Hello Mr. Arditti. I recently stumbled across your blog. I am just e mailing you to say that it has been quite refreshing reading through your blogs, particularly the ones pertaining to the CUPE strike.

I am a local CUPE member, and I admit it can be frustrating when reading all the half-truths and misconstrued "facts" published in the Windsor Star and elsewhere in the local media. If only your blog could obtain the same numbers in local readership as the Star does. You would certainly have more than a few eyebrows raised and eyes opened after reading your material. There would still be many CUPE bashers and haters, there always have been. They have just recently found the opportunity to express their dislike of CUPE (and unions in general) through the Star, since they feel they have the support of the newspaper and other local media. They know that their views and opinions will not be shredded but rather CUPE supporters will.

I am not suggesting that I believe you are siding with CUPE. I just personally believe, from what I know about the situation, that you have a very firm grasp on what is taking place during these "negotiations". You can obviously read between the lines, and see directly through the tactics being pulled by our "faithful" mayor. It is wonderful that you have taken the time to research the information on the current issues, and provide both facts and opinion on them. All of the facts seem to be very accurate, and the opinions are respectful. It's too bad you do not have your own column with the Windsor Star. Then again, people can read your blog for free and receive a superior product to the columns written by the Star's columnists.

I shall continue reading you blogs even after this strike ends (whenever that may be). I will also refer some fellow CUPE members to your blog to maybe boost their morale a bit, and realize their are some people who see this strike for what it is.

46) I'm very upset and want my regular life back! I hate being degraded by the public. I work very hard and I [did] like what I was doing for the community... It's really a slap and spit in my face!

I wouldn't say we are joining CAW, but they "support" us in what we are doing. We were told we have more support then we realize... I still wouldn't say that's a lot because what we think we have in support is pretty much zero... but that kind of support won't help us to pay our bills. I hate that we have to beg for help; go to food banks, etc. I had a somewhat normal life not too long ago...

From what I read in the comments of the online Windsor Star (which I just vowed to myself I'm going to stop doing, because it's too upsetting), many people seem to be behind the Mayor. And in regards to the Mayor, he more then upsets me! What he's doing to us, is totally crazy and unforgivable! We have taken it very personally. I guess that's why many don't want to give up. But then many of us are facing very serious financial ruin, too. Our employee/employer relationship, is without a doubt, ruined for many years to come.

I can only hope I'm able to with-stand whatever's in store for us. I don't have a lot of confidence in this whole process. It's really a horrible never-ending nightmare! I don't want to cave, but I can't see how I can survive this, financially and mentally, for much longer. What does the end mean? I hope it's arbitration and not destitution.

I am seeking other temporary employement in order to survive. But pickens are extremely slim... and I suppose once they find out I'm a striking city worker, I won't get the job anyways...

It's probably going to get very nasty now, not that I would do anything nasty, but I'm sure others will. The public hates us as it is; it doesn't matter what we do. If we leave them alone, then we're lazy; if we make them wait then we're greedy...

We need a miracle...

47) I don't think I like being called a clerk and a gardener, even though I do have a flower garden at home that I tend to. Ha!

Maybe Henderson should join us on the picket line sometime, he would find out first hand that there are still a number of City residents that support us and he would be hard pressed to find ANY supporters of Eddie's regime. Every day more and more residents are seeing through Eddie. We hear a lot of people say that they absolutely hate Eddie, they want him gone. They are saying this even when they do not support the strike!! Of course the Star and AM800 would NEVER report that. Eddie pushed us into this strike, it's his bullheadedness that is keeping us out. His actions are causing undo hardship to not only the CUPE membership but also the community at large, the residents, the business communiity etc.

The Chrysler and GM workers still have more in their contract AFTER their 'massive contract sacrifices' than we currently have without ANY sacrifices. Eddie keeps saying he doesn't want to give up the farm. BUT he wants the farm from CUPE workers. If he is successful in his fight with us, our contract will be so gutted, we might as well not belong to any union. Grrrrr. He makes me very angry. But...who says we lost this battle? If it does go to arbitration, we may be winners after all.

The Star is so poisoned it is pathetic....but I did get a chuckle reading the story CUPE strikers mow Tom Wilson Field as 'favour'. The statement, “They’re saying that with some of this grass, they just might have to do a controlled burn because you’re never going to cut it.” Wouldn't it be just beautiful to see each of the City parks on fire. (sarcasm here) Hey, maybe Eddie could work his spinmaster magic and turn it into a world event! The catch phrase may be something like 'Once in a lifetime event...Come watch the savanna at Ford Test Track Park be transformed into a spectacular green space featuring magnificent gardens, playing fields and picnic areas. WOW

Thank you for letting me endulge and rant a bit.

I think the work climate is in constant flux. And the labour unions are losing ground quickly, especially the CAW/UAW with the collapse of the auto industry.

Personally, I don't think it matters if we did belong to the CAW, we would be in the same boat. (Look what has happened to the union jobs at the Casino) The era of the strong unions is gone.

Eddie has made this strike personal for each of us and it seems that the each of us now has the resolve to stick it out to the bitter end. It certainly is not going to be easy, however, we can't let Eddie win and be the City hero.

I loved your blogg today, Why The Anonymous Source Did It.

How can we possibly get the 3 other councillors to call for arbitration?

There are going to be even more houses up for sale in Windsor before this is over, further driving down the realty market. And more people collecting Ontario Works (we don't qualify for social assistance).

Anyway, keep up the excellent work!! You are my only ray of sanity in all of this!!

48) A bottle of wine is yours if so..................and not 2 buck chuck either!
Maybe YOU should run for mayor!
Hoping we see the end to this hysteria soon,

49) and your influence have out did yourself. The God Lord smiles apon you, and deservingly so. Although, I cannot ignore this 'sources' bravery, even if its a tad late, we all know, 'its better late, then never' even if its at great cost which makes me sad. 'Woman and children' is more honest than you might ever know or appreciate, but that is another story.

As usual, I rely on your commentary and look forward to it, as I walk the lines, motivate, donate, feed and of course, dream of things better for this a City that lacks any lustre.

You Sir, should run for counsellor and if bored for mayor. If and when I decide to listen to my peers, I'll be sitting across the table from you. You must be getting bored of the legal field. The City has potential like no other, as was demonstrated at the Energy Fair at the Casino. City planners are afraid to speak-up, transportation, parks, and yes, even the business commerce, are all sick of the same rhetoric.

50) Listening to the Lynn Martin show this morning, there was an older man who was getting very emotional about how he see the city putting money before people. I appreciate his argument and was hoping that I could have helped him reframe his argument to this:

When the Mayor (or anyone else who has the power to decide how much money and benefits other should get) says that he "cannot afford in these economically challenged times (or some other cliché)" whatever; ask him to say

I/we have chosen to spend our resources on (arena, canals, my blackberry account, and so on) and not on pensions, salaries and so on.

The point is, someone made a decision to spend money here rather than there. The city still spends money. To let the spenders get away with explaining why they cannot do things, is a cop out. I only wish that talk show hosts and journalist would have the courage to get the mayor to declare his real preferences, his real values as indicate by how he wants to spend other people's money.