Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, October 30, 2009


  • “Frivolous!”

What a bloody insult from Mayor Edgar (aka Eddie) Francis. At least CUPE members were not “dismissed” out of hand as is the term used in the past when there is something with which he does not agree.

  • "Mayor Eddie Francis denies the allegations, calling them frivolous.

    He told CBC News he welcomes a hearing in from the OLRB."

Edgar has still not learned his lesson about the CUPE members. He just does not get it because he just cannot understand:

  • “They want to pursue something that they started, and they feel that they deserve the respect," Fox said.”

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Edgar ought to read the lyrics of the Aretha Franklin song.

What an absurd statement for him to make about complaints that should deal with

  • 7 weeks of non-negotiations at least according to Councillor Postma,
  • some members of Council that wanted a strike and who were in favour of “dragging out the recent municipal strike for political gain” according to Councillor Lewenza,
  • a supposed stairwell meeting understanding and a denial
  • a leak (with no report yet on the findings) and
  • a near riot.

What an outrage to people who have lost $30M in wages, or is it only $20M since City Finance seems so confused about such an easy to arrive at number, because of a strike that need not have happened and which deprived businesses in the Community of customers. And still does.

I am so glad that the Windsor CUPE members strongly rejected the advice that I am told seemed to have come from their National Office to “move on” and not continue on with their OLRB bad faith action.

  • "The lawyer said we would end up with bad press if the labour board refused to look at it or if we lost."

Heck, the lawyer probably did not see the Star. It cannot get any worse.

I wonder if the lawyer was reading from the same book as Councillor Valentinis with his comments in the Star. Edgar would have liked that too since he is the one at the centre of all of this with the most to lose. He said:

  • "Pursuing the labour board complaint at this stage would only serve to "continue to expose wounds of a very bitter and divisive strike," said Francis.

    "All I can say is we've moved on and the community has moved on ... if CUPE doesn't want to move on, that's their prerogative."

To me, if the CUPE lawyer said that, it shows how out of touch CUPE National or Ontario or both seem to be. They were useless during the strike in helping their Windsor Local and are just as bad now.

Get real. The flames are still being fanned. The Community has NOT moved on. CUPE members are blasted whenever possible. They are an easy target. Who can really blame Windsorites? They have not been told the whole story by the traditional media as was done in Toronto where their Mayor had the sense not to run again.

Will Junior's Report set out the facts or will it be another whitewash? If it is the latter, after what Junior claimed, his political career would be over!

With respect to the complaint itself, I would love to see the final version. From what was publicized before, it was not complete and left out key matters. And after the shocking news at the meeting about what was NOT filed, someone’s head should roll!

It just makes it so much easier for a new Union to take over after a decertification vote that will surely come. I heard that there were cries of “CAW” at the meeting although I am not sure that this Union is the best choice either to replace CUPE.

Oh sure, there is fear of retribution against CUPE members if the OLRB action continues. However, attacks against the Union will continue regardless, as the Star online photo the other day showed. CUPE bashing is viewed as an easy way to win the next election. Just ask firefighters how they feel after fighting the City in their arbitration with their job losses.

As I was told yesterday

  • "we got 5 more local 543 lay-off notices today. That brings the total up to lucky number 13 so far."

There is only one way to deal with Edgar. Confront him straight on and put his name on the line. Make him the issue and the subject of blame if there is a negative impact on the City. Do not let him hide behind Council as he always does with bad news or Administration if he indeed was the driving force. Citizens of Windsor need to know the true story of the strike and not the Messenger version.

It is only hearsay but I was told that the CUPE legal rep at the meeting was not well-liked it seems. From what I was told, I heard a lot of “business” advice was given not just “legal” advice. That is NOT the lawyer's job!

I heard that there “many calls at the meeting to get a new lawyer.” Was this because a certain action was not taken even though local CUPE leaders instructed that it be done and were told it had been done. CUPE members should demand an inquiry into why it did not happen.

Frankly, if true, I would dismiss the lawyer and retain the best outside Labour Law firm around to fight the complaint and any subsequent lawsuit arising from it. I would do it regardless. I might even be mad enough if I was a CUPE member to file a grievance against CUPE as well just to protect my own interest in the complaint against the City.

There is a lot at stake, never mind RESPECT. Windsorites need to know the truth about our 101 day strike. I want to know who was really calling the shots since I strongly still believe that it was not just Edgar involved. The similarity about how the strike was conducted in Windsor and Toronto, the approach taken, the Provincial role and how the strike ended in both cities are truly remarkable. And now the Provincial Government wants to go after their Union.

For CUPE members, there is the matter of millions of dollars in lost wages. If there was bad faith, no negotiations for weeks, efforts to sabotage possible settlement and the desire to prolong the strike for political reasons, why should CUPE members suffer? Let the wrongdoers be put in jeopardy, not the innocent victims.

I am not a Labour Law lawyer and do not know whether the OLRB has decided whether they can order an employer to pay back wages but that ought to be part of the complaint if there is a possibility they can. As I read the Labour Relations Act, at least, I believe the remedy is there and the Board can do so.

Again, there may be a civil action that can be taken as well for damages for wages lost in addition to the OLRB action or alternatively and perhaps even a punitive damges claim for egregious behaviour, perhaps even a class action lawsuit. If so, the lawyer ought to keep that in mind as he/she pursues the OLRB complaint, not just go through the exercise pro-forma.

What if he City loses and has to pay $20M or $30M to Union members. That would be horrific to the City Budget. However, isn't it better to know that now and kick those people out of office who are responsible rather than have them stay around and be re-elected? What damage could they do in the future? Heck, we might even be able to sue them and have their insurance pick up the tab!

I am so thrilled that Edgar "welcomes a hearing in from the OLRB." Let CUPE give it to him with Edgar being the star witness. We ought to sell tickets for both the Casino theatre and the East End Arena to watch that show on closed circuit TV. "This is it" too.