Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, January 08, 2010

Items Of Interest

A few things that may interest you.


A little birdie told me that there were some unhappy people at City Hall over my BLOGs on what is happening to the caretakers. I wonder if employees will be gagged now:
  • " Rona Warsh and John Miceli are absolutely beside themselves. They are angry both with your article and with the fact that someone emailed you the letters. Warsh thinks it was one of her people that did that. She is pondering a change to email policy to disallow the forwarding of email outside the corporation, but I don't know how that would be enforceable.

    So you've stirred the pot on this one. No doubt that Jean will claim victory over Miceli on this Square off.

    What started in 2007 as a way to ensure the caretakers had enough time to do everything they need to get done has transpired into union vs. union vs. management.

    And now supervisors don't know what to do regarding the garbage pickup. Can no one make a decision or was your article too distracting?"

Oh my goodness. A policy not to forward emails. What would the consequences of that be? How idiotic.

Hmmm, will there be a ban on fax machines next so no one can fax copies out. Expect there to be scanners placed at all exits from the building and employees to be patted down too as they leave to ensure that no one carries out hard copies of emails either.

Pathetic. Is that all that management has to worry about!

And just to rub it in:

  • "From: [Name of person]

    Subject: RE: Campus Operations: Centralized Refuse and Recycle Collection

    After I forwarded the email and many read it, many discussions and concerns were raised about this new initiative that need to be addressed. I contacted [Name of person] directly to ask him several questions, and I asked him if I could relay his answers to you now. He agreed.

    I told some of you that it was my understanding that the cuts had already taken place within the caretaker group. The few that remain, have been doing the job of many; picking up garbage and recycling from individual offices and desks takes up a good deal of their time. The time spent on these tasks takes away from other tasks, such as cleaning common areas, vacuuming and cleaning of washrooms. Placing the garbage and recycling in a central area will actually lessen their load to allow them to get their other jobs done.

    [Name of person] confirmed this to be true. He told me that only 4 full time and 2 part time caretakers remain to handle both buildings. No further caretakers will be added to the numbers, and yet the same tasks need to be performed; they used to have 16 caretakers. The move to a day shift has been slowly put into place and most all work during overlapping shifts between early morning and late afternoon.

    Some have expressed a fear that emptying their own garbage and recycling will allow the remaining caretakers to be laid off. [Name of person] tells me this is NOT in the plan.

    Some have expressed a distaste for emptying their garbage into a larger container. We are reminded that we already handled the garbage when we placed in in our own container earlier in the day, so it ought not to be toxic. If it is really messy, we should place it in the larger container right from the get go.

    While I don't think it happened on our floor, there have been a few times when the caretakers were berated for removing items from personal garbage cans and recycle boxes. For instance, some staff have placed shoes, socks, boots, umbrellas, and other personal items in these containers, only to have them tossed out. This then caused grief to the caretaker who assumed it was garbage, and had to listen to the backlash from this action.

    Over the last couple of years, the caretakers have become part of our daily experience. Most of us know them by name and they know ours. That we are concerned over their well-being shows that we have developed working relationships with our fellow workers, and we don't wish to disrespect them by doing their jobs.

    From what I understand, their jobs have changed - they work different hours than in the past, they have fewer coworkers and help, and yet they still have to take care of all of our needs. If their job now requires that they come to our floor twice a day to empty garbage and recycling, perhaps the onus is upon us to ensure that we have done our bit and emptied our personal containers.

    I hope this clears up some of the anxiety caused by the reading of the new directive when it first made it way to us. I beleive the truth to be as I stated. This will not lead to layoffs - these have occurred already and the remaining 6 are doing the job of 16.

    Thanks," [As written, typos and all]


It seems inconsequential but it is not:

Central Transport relocates jobs to Delray area of Detroit

WARREN, Mich. – Less-than-truckload carrier Central Transport International Inc. expects to position itself for growth and improved customer service by consolidating some terminal operations into a newly acquired facility in southwest Detroit.

Central Transport plans to consolidate most of its metro Detroit terminal operations into a facility on West Jefferson Avenue that was formerly operated by competitor YRC Worldwide Inc.

Central Transport initially will move most of its terminal operations in Romulus into the Delray facility.

The move is expected to immediately transfer 100 jobs to Detroit and may bring up to 400 jobs over time.

“The Detroit terminal will make us faster, more reliable and reduce our handling of loads,” said John Locke, executive vice president of Warren, Mich.-based Central Transport. “The new facility also enhances other logistics opportunities with customers. All of this translates to increased customer service and satisfaction.”

“The Delray terminal is purpose-built for the less-than-truckload (LTL) business, which is what we do,” Locke said. “It’s larger than our Romulus facility and this is a great opportunity for us to save on our infrastructure costs. There are few LTL companies that could use a terminal like this.”

Central Transport is part of the CenTra Inc. family of companies, which also includes the Detroit International Bridge Co., owner and operator of the Ambassador Bridge."

MDOT's Mr. Shreck immediately repsonded by saying:
  • "The approach ramps for the planned Detroit River International Crossing bridge project between Windsor and Detroit would cross one corner of the parcel. DRIC is a joint project by the governments of Michigan, Ontario, the United States and Canada to build a new publicly owned bridge from Detroit’s Delray district to Windsor.

    Moroun bitterly opposes the DRIC plans because it would siphon traffic and toll revenue away from his bridge. With Moroun now owning the Yellow Freight land, the DRIC coalition would have to resort to a government taking of the property, or at least the corner of it. That could lead to a court fight.

    Bill Shreck, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Transportation, said Moroun’s purchase of the parcel shouldn’t hold up plans for DRIC. Noting that governments have the right to seize property for public uses under eminent domain, he said the only fight would be over how much the state had to pay for it."

I think Bill better do a bit of expropriation research before he makes such a comment again.


Imagine if DRIC and DIFT both get approved.

Oh you don't know what DIFT is:
  • "The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for a study regarding the Detroit Intermodal Freight Terminal (DIFT) has been completed by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The study has centered on stimulating economic revitalization in southeast Michigan by improving rail freight transportation opportunities and efficiencies at a consolidated terminal in southwest Detroit. The terminal is located in southwest Detroit between Wyoming and Livernois avenues south of I-94...

    A key feature of the FEIS is the agreement reached among MDOT and all four Class I railroads operating in Michigan - CSX, Norfolk Southern, Canadian Pacific, and Canadian National Railroad - to jointly develop the project. The consolidated terminal will accommodate existing and future demands, while supporting the needs of residential neighborhoods and businesses in the area.

    "This is a significant accomplishment in that it represents the largest public/private venture in Michigan history, with the railroads agreeing to pay a large share of the costs," said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. He added that no public/private partnership legislation is needed to make the project happen."

Oh, I guess P3 legislation would have to be passed for the DRIC bridge. I wonder if the Michigan Senate would go along with that. I doubt it!

Naturally, it and DRIC were looked at individually from an environmental perspective and not together or else someone would have figured out that people would be run out of that area of Detroit just like the people in Delray. It would become a wasteland

I guess Ken Cockrel Jr forgot about his previous Motion. Environmental Justice anyone:


    WHEREAS The Michigan Department of Transportation is planning construction of anintermodal freight terminal in Southwest Detroit; and

    WHEREAS The proposed Detroit Intermodal Freight Terminal project would be an 840-acre complex of terminals to be operated by four railroad companiesfor nil and truck use; and

    WHEREAS MDOT secured a consultant to assess the feasibility of three different "nil strategies" for development of the DIFT and, having completed that process, is proposing to build the DIFT under what is known as "Rail Strategy 3," and;

    WHEREAS Based on MDOT's own projections, implementation of DIFT Rail Strategy 3 would bring an additional 16,000 trucks into the surrounding neighborhoods each day even though this area is already overburdened by excess truck traffic; and

    WHEREAS Diesel exhaust fumes contain numerous toxic substances and have beenproven to be a major health hazard particularly to children and seniorcitizens; and

    WHEREAS Southwest Detroit already has the state's highest level of "particulate matter," a substance found in diesel exhaust fumes; and

    WHEREAS Bringing 16,000 additional trucks into Southwest Detroit daily would generate more noise, create additional wear and tear on city streets, and pose a safety risk from truck drivers who might travel residential streets; and

    WHEREAS Construction of the DIFT under Rail Strategy 3 would require the displacement of people from 75 homes or apartments and the movement of 78 businesses; and

    WHEREAS The economic benefits of this project to Detroit residents and particularly those who reside in the surrounding neighborhoods have not been documented; and

    WHEREAS At numerous public hearings on this issue, including three conducted by the City of Detroit Planning Commission, resident opposition to this project was overwhelming; and

    WHEREAS the City Planning Commission last month voted unanimously to recommend opposition to the DIFT Rail Strategy 3; and Now Therefore Be it

    RESOLVED That the Detroit City Council opposes the construction of the Detroit Intermodal Freight Terminal under Rail Strategy 3 having determined that this project would do a huge disservice to the quality of life in Southwest Detroit; and be it finally

    RESOLVED That the Detroit City Clerk provide copies of the resolution to the director of MDOT, the director of the Southeastern Michigan Council of Governments, Governor John Engler, all members of the Michigan House of Representatives and State Senate, Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, and Congressman John Conyers.