Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Monday, January 25, 2010

City Daycare---Why Bother Fighting For It

I am sorry but save your efforts. In Windsor at least, there is no point in fighting. Petitions, distributing flyers, attending meetings and going to Council won't help.

It's a done deal already. Don't bother going to City Hall because the hardliners and penny-pinchers are in control and hammering CUPE is their re-election meal ticket.

And CUPE leadership has allowed this to happen and the CUPE members have allowed them to get away with it.

In Ontario, province-wide, the battle over child-care is framed this way:
  • "In 2006, the McGuinty government took a one-time federal payment, for child care and spread it over four years. Each year since $63.5 million went to support our vital child care services.

    This year the money runs out...

    If the Province does not replace the $63.5 million dollars in this year’s provincial budget,Municipalities across Ontario will have no option but to make dramatic cuts to child care subsidies."

Sure there will be full-time kindergarten eventually but has anyone considered:

  • "The Provincial Government has announced full-day learning for 4 and 5 year olds, starting this September. A collapsing child care system will be a disaster for full-day learning. Parents will lose child care options for younger children, child care centres will be financially vulnerable or close – all at the same time you build a new program?"

In Windsor, in addition, we see that City child-care centres may close putting 118 CUPE workers at risk. Why it is so bad that "additional counselling and trauma debriefing sessions" will be needed. But who cares!

As of Saturday Night at 8:30 PM when I am writing this BLOG, the Star must not have allowed people to write for some time on the Forum on the article "CUPE, parents prepare to fight Windsor daycare closings" since there were only 7 comments. I will hate to see what happens once people know they can write. There won't be too many pro-CUPE articles. (I was right at 4PM on Sunday with over 80 comments)

Here is the ammunition provided by the Star to help attack CUPE:

  • The city-run daycares are operating at a capacity of less than 50 per cent

  • Enrolments were down 24 per cent at the conclusion of the 15-week CUPE strike

  • With the number of child care centres run by the private and non-profit sectors increasing in recent years, the looming start of full-day JK and SK in Ontario, as well as the city's Housing and Children's Services department facing the same fiscal squeeze felt across the corporation, the closures are cited as "part of (the department's) proposed budget reductions."

  • There is no way we can look at those ... factors and assume it's a sustainable model -- it's not," said Mayor Eddie Francis. "It is a difficult recommendation because of the impact on our staff."

  • Closing all seven daycare centres and two satellite programs operated out of schools would result in annual savings of $743,572 for the city and $317,971 for the county, the report says.

  • private and non-profit operators have the capacity to absorb the 425 children affected by the closures

  • city operations cost more than double the per diem rate of the private or non-profit operators.

  • The starting rate for the city's early childhood educators is $23.71 per hour, a pay rate that climbs to $27.88.

For a comparable number of reasons to keep them open, try and find it in the Star. Look hard.

You see, dear reader, it is CUPE's fault and that of the City's Labour Council. They are not providing a strong alternative argument so that people have the facts to make an informed decision. Not just on this issue but on outsourcing as well. As for what happened during the strike...

CUPE is so weak and lacking in leadership that they have refused to take aggressive action on their OLRB bad faith claim and a back wages claim. If they have, it sure would be nice to hear about it and to get a decision sooner rather than later.

Accordingly, the vast majority of people in Windsor have believed the anti-CUPE rhetoric that comes out of the mouth of the Star and its writers and photographers.

A strong OLRB decision against the City would open up the eyes of Windsorites. Can you imagine what would happen if $30M of back wages had to be paid out! The hardliners would never be able to appear in public again.

CUPE people were in attendance at the Lewenza Ward meeting but what have they done to spread what he said to the general population in the City to explain that the actions of the hardliners cost the City plenty! What have they done to prove that the City acted in bad faith during the strike as a number of Councillors have already confirmed publicly? What have they done to try to boost their public image in the eyes of Windsorites especially with members of other City unions.

In Toronto, the media chased their Mayor out of town effectively by demonstrating how David Miller failed to achieve what their long strike was supposedly all about. Here, there is talk that Edgar will run again even if he breaks his 2-term only promise. Too bad that CUPE and the Labour Council have sat on the side-lines and done nothing to show that the same happened in Windsor. Instead, Edgar and the hardlining pennypinchers are allowed to get away with saying:

  • "Given the city's increasingly difficult fiscal situation, Francis described the recommended daycare cuts as "not an easy decision, but it's a necessary decision."

Who cares that there is money for out of country Lufthansa consultants and that Edgar can fly off to London again as money for Red Bull is found for the next 2 years.

The daycare workers better start advertising in the Kijiji Windsor ads to try and make a buck. Because no one cares what will happen to them.

At least CUPE has done one good thing for their members even though the vote was only 23-18 in favour:

  • "As per the September 15, 2009 General Membership Meeting where the following motion was approved there is a $5.00 special assessment being deducted from your pay cheque starting January 22, 2010 for the purpose of topping up the strike fund."

If Edgar and the hardliners are still around, they will need that money during the next 200 day strike.