BLOGEXCLUSIVE: Why CUPE Is Still Fighting
To be direct, I was quite anti-CUPE at the beginning since the City's side seemed so reasonable to me. However, as time went on, I began to feel and still do that I really have not been told the true state of affairs by either side. So I am doing my own digging.
I decided to visit with some picketers this morning so I was out at about 7:30 AM as their lines were just setting up.
I had been given some shocking emails about matters that I had not read about in the Star and wondered why not. The information if true would certainly give a totally different perspective of what this Strike was all about.
I wanted to talk to some strikers to see what the mood was.
A couple of comments. There is no doubt that the anyone who wanted to run against the Mayor if he had the nerve to run for a third term would have hundreds of votes. The personal animosity to the Mayor is probably the glue that binds the CUPE strikers together now.
The CUPE members are hurting financially I am sure but I did not hear anyone being prepared to back off. It has become very personal to them.
The workers also agree that their CUPE leadership has done a miserable job in PR and in not getting their story across to the public. It is one public relations disaster after another for them. That will just make it so much easier for CAW to take them over when Senior steps in. Why just look at the CAW help at the playing fields which will turn into another hopeless CUPE fiasco!
What can I say about the Windsor Star that I have not said before. I should like them after all. They are the reason I started Blogging in the first place. They in effect created the political BLOGs in town that arose because of their poor coverage of events in this City. Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think.
I do not have a problem with them taking an Editorial position---that is their job. In my view however, in a one newspaper town, they at least have the obligation to present the news fairly so that their readers can make an informed decision about events.
Do you see what I mean? If that photo and headline is not designed to inflame passions against anyone helping CUPE out then what is? Moreover, to me, it makes it appear as if CAW is helping CUPE too for the benefit of CUPE readers for what may happen down the road if my speculation is correct.
I have had my own personal fight with the Star over the coverage of STOPDRTP while the Star covered the border file and was a DRTP booster. I am sure that you know what my view of the Star is on the border file coverage today.
Can the City/CUPE strike coverage be as one-sided as that offered by the Star! But then again as we know:
- “We did things that newspapers can do to bring about change, positive change. I think we got a lot of results this year and this now validates the results we got."
In other words, the ends justify the means.
I wonder if the Star writers would still write what they do if they knew some of the other facts that have not been reported as you shall read in this BLOG. That would be interesting.
Let me give some examples.
Checkout these photos. (I blurred the faces in one of them)
What a strange name for a person---Handout.
Could it be that this was a Freudian slip? Could it be that whoever took the pictures did so in order to hand them out to the media to achieve a political purpose?
Isn’t it remarkable that the recipient was the Star and that the Star published so many of them when their quality was not especially good? Don’t you find it odd that the Star published the photos along with one by one of its photographers who was named without telling us who took them.
Why not? Who was this citizen who just happened to capture these photos?
Might it change your mind about the story if you knew? Could it be part of some anti-CUPE PR campaign perhaps? Or was it a civic-minded citizen wanting the facts out there for all to see?
You need to consider the presence of mind though of the person who took the photos in a very stressful situation and who then decided to send them to the Star. The identity of that person is an important part of the story that the Star has not disclosed.
IS THIS NEGOTIATING CITY OF WINDSOR-STYLE
Here is an email sent out by a Windsorite to a Councillor and the response.
Obviously the person who sent out the email is not a happy camper but it is the Councillor response that is staggering and another huge shock! To be direct, why was CUPE ever negotiating. It was capitulation or nothing it appeared.
That is why it was a huge shock to learn that the Mayor and the CUPE Presidents all of a sudden said that negoitiations were back on. I will reveal some more about that shortly too but read this first.
As elected officials the City of Windsor, the Mayor and Council are pathetic examples of spineless worms. A child in kindergarten has more sense than you people.
Obviously you do not have the wherewithall to negotiate contracts nor the sense to adminster a city. To allow this strike to go on for this long is a clear example of incompetence and childish behaviour.
You all should be ashamed to call yourselves public representatives. You are doing nothing to advance the quality of life in this city instead you have decided to engage in a protracted war with your fellow citizens.
This is another example why the City of Windsor is considered the asshole of Canada - not because of our geographical location but by the people who adminster this city.
There are no leaders among you, just mindless sheep happy to have their turn to slop up their paycheques at the public trough but unwilling to care about those who fill the trough.
You do not listen to the people who elected you but spin off on your own agendas and disregard public opinion. None of you have the gumption to stand up and say enough is enough - why would you?
If you are so certain you are bargaining in good faith and the city's position is fair, then send the issue to arbratration.
Certainly I can do little but vent my frustration and pray for the day I can leave this city for good.
In the meantime we have suspended our property tax payments and will continue to do so while we are not receiving any services, furthermore I am looking forward to filing a law suit against the city if you try and reclaim any payments not made during this strike.
Our family will not attend the Red Bull, or Summer Fest or any other activity the city is engaged in while this strike continues.
Boy, it sure wasn't difficult for you people to slap an 86% water tax, or give city management a healthy raise but when it comes to those who can ill afford any time off work you don't give a damn.
I sincerely hope (and if I can help in any way) that none of you people are re-elected.
Wow strong words. I can only speak for myself on the strike because my views differ greatly from the majority of council. First of all there have been 4 of us continually voting and speaking out against the majority. It is not fair to paint all of us with the same brush. It is hard for people to see when some of us are vocal with regard to the strike when the Star does not print our comments or edits what I say so it sounds like I am a part of the majority. Monday I was fully prepared to support binding arbitration until I heard from our negotiating team.
Throughout this process Council has handcuffed our team and not allowed them to truly negotiate because we have not given them the money or freedom to make decisions on their own. We have forced them to call off negotiations and come back to us for direction. We have offered nothing more than zero and a stubborn will, to do away with Post Retirement Benefits despite the fact that we currently have a hiring freeze. Monday night the team came to us with the latest offer from Local 82 and asked us to finally have faith in their ability to work with the Union leadership to settle this strike. They went through their experiences in great detail. Arbitration was debated and I would have been the lone vote on it. The team begged us to allow them to finish the job they started and for the first time in 7 weeks council listened. I felt encouraged for the first time in 7 weeks. We allowed them full control of the negotiations - no more having to run to us for approval and for the first time in 7 weeks we allowed them the freedom to make financial decisions. I voted for that motion because I truly feel they can get this settled. However if they do not have a settlement or word that they have continued talks by Monday I will once again bring up arbitration.
I wish people understood that the strike has caused even further divisions amongst council. I do not talk to any of my colleagues and do not read that rag of a newspaper called the Star. When we meet Mondays tension is very thick and every week someone gets into a shouting match with someone on the opposite side of the issue. I feel like I have been banging my head against a brick wall for months now and no one listens at council. For what it's worth I want this strike settled and I have been saying that since it has started but am not being heard by majority of council in fact four us have (names of Councillors omitted). I do go to work, sit on my butt and debate issues to collect a paycheque but I do work. I work more than 40 hours a week and feel I earn every penny I am paid. I do stand up for what I believe is right and I do shout when necessary and go against the grain (unfortunately quite a bit).
THE STAIRWELL DEAL TO SETTLE THE STRIKE THAT NEVER WAS
This is a startling disclosure that I have never seen reported in the Star before. If true, the strike should be over by now. In fact, some of the strikers I talked with today were so confident that everything was going to be settled that they said good-bye to their picket line colleagues.
I just could not believe what I was reading given the total break-down in the talks and the continued strike What is going on?
I have edited the email I received slightly.
- A friend of mine e-mailed your web site to me today, and I wanted to let you know that I enjoyed the read. You are missing a few details on the strikers picketing the Mayor’s street. I thought I’d fill in some answers for you. The pictures that the Star published were taken by [Name of person] on her cell/blackberry, which should explain the blurriness. The Star must have shown up after we left and took the picture of the police car in the driveway. They cropped their picture on the web after one of my friends called and told them they had photographed the Mayor’s house number on the garage.
There were actually 27 strikers that arrived on Huntington that morning but we strolled down the street in small groups, a few of us stopped and talked about the strike to neighbours, who were curious about us being there. By the time I had parked and walked a couple of blocks, Eddie was outside and on his cell phone. He drove his car [description of driving style deleted] out of his driveway and along the street, but must have changed his mind about running off again. He pulled into a neighbour’s driveway, backed out and drove back up the street towards our picket captain, Patrick, and slammed on his breaks. We had no idea that his 2-year old daughter was in the car. Nobody saw her. I think Eddie was very disappointed that no one crowded around his car, or touched his car, or even reacted to his temper tantrum. Eddie told Patrick that it was pretty sad when the mayor’s house has to be picketed (speaking about himself in the 3rd person). Patrick agreed that yes, it was sad we had to picket the mayor’s street, then Eddie floored it again and off he went. Those were the only words exchanged. There was no name-calling or shouting from anyone.
Meanwhile, Michelle had run out of the house [description of her actions]. [Three of our female strikers] were so upset that they got back in their car and drove further up the street. [Further description of her actions deleted]. Apparently Michelle had called her 800 A.M. radio station where she hosts an experts’ show, and I think she also does movie reviews. Anyway, the reporter arrived about ten minutes after we did, and sat in her car watching us strolling along. She eventually conducted a very short interview with Patrick asking him why there were 100 picketers on the street. Patrick advised there were 27 of us, and we were out for a nice morning walk, which she recorded. We stayed all of 20 minutes at the most, got in our cars, and drove back to City Hall.
In retrospect, the Huntington visit was a major mistake in judgment, and instinctively many of us felt very uncomfortable, however most of us feel uncomfortable picketing period. This was what the strike committee had come up with, thinking that Eddie, and several other Councillors would be embarrassed if we brought the strike home for their neighbours to see. Talk about way-over-the-top reaction by the Mayor and his wife. A “mob mentality”? Marching? We were a group consisting of clerks and social workers ooooing and ahhhhhing the houses and gardens around us. Eddie obviously felt comfortable leaving his wife alone in the house without his “protection”, and the first phone call Michelle made was to the radio station. One police car, an after-thought I’m sure, arrived ten minutes after we left. By the time we drove back to City Hall, everybody knew that the Mayor was mad and why.
That afternoon, I understood why teams had been sent to the Mayor’s street and three anti-union Councillors’ streets. An information session for both locals was presented by Jean Fox and Jim Woods. We were informed that the Mayor had a “secret meeting” in the stairwell of City Hall, with both Jean and Jim, which was witnessed by [Name of two Councillors]. The Mayor explained that his head was spinning and that the strike had to be settled. He offered post-retirement benefits extended for new hires until the age of 71, a $2,000 lump sum payment in the first year, followed by a 2.5% raise in the second year and 2.5 % in the third year….. Plus, if they agreed on a four-year contract, then 3% in the last year. Both Presidents agreed that it was a good place to start, and agreed to return to the table and put an end to the strike. A press conference had been set up, where both Presidents attended and the Mayor made the announcement that he would be contacting the conciliator to advise they were going back to the table. Jim Woods assured both memberships that he would not leave the table until an Agreement had been reached.
When Local 82’s negotiating team met with the conciliator on the Wednesday, Jim advised him of the Mayor’s proposal. It was news to him, but he repeated the offer to the Management’s negotiating team. It was news to them too. Jim requested that the Management team contact the Mayor. The Mayor denied that he had made that offer. That was the start to the last negotiations, however Jim was determined that he was going to make these talks work. After 50 hours of negotiations, the Mayor brought everything to a stand-still again. However, Jim had requested arbitration but it wasn’t publicly rejected until the Mayor met with Council in another closed session.
Since then, [Name of Councillor] has stated that the meeting in the stairwell did take place and those were the figures presented by the Mayor. [Name of Councillor] now admits that the meeting did take place in the stair-well; however the Mayor did not “discuss” any figures.
Our picketing team had the Sunday and Monday off. Tuesday was our first day back, and that was the day we were sent out to Huntington. So, you were right on the mark, Ed. Indeed there was something else of which the public was not aware that may have warranted the Huntington visit. Sorry I was so long-winded. I hope you managed to sift through this."
Who is right, who is wrong? What is the truth? At the least, something for the traditional media, especially the Star, to pursue and tell us what is really going on.