Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Daycare Aftermath

Rush, rush, rush...Edgar (aka Eddie) had to fulfill his mission last night. Lead the attacks on Unions. Make up for the near riot that put everything behind schedule for 6 months and cost David Miller his job as Mayor of Toronto.

This time he could not dare screw up.

He almost did. He almost lost out again when he went foolishly went overseas and County Council dared defy him by requesting consultation.

That was NOT going to happen last night.

Darned citizens.

What is their problem? Consultation requests. Pshaw... who cares what they think or have to say just because it is their children that are involved.

How can one explain this:
  • "Parent Dave Taylor was among a number of delegates critical of the “rushed, hurried, almost frenzied” pace the city appeared to have taken in proposing and implementing the cuts. He said parents with children at city-run daycares received letters on Jan. 15 that assured those positions would continue “for the foreseeable future,” but that news of the possible closures came just two days later."

One of the funniest but tragic comments of the evening at Council was when Ms. Warsh said that there was no point in consulting parents in advance because that would just concern them unnecessarily. Now that Council has made a decision, I guess there is no point in consulting with them because there is nothing to consult about. The decision has been reached.

Sure sounds to me like Administration did not want to talk to anybody about anything for fear that the Mayor’s grand plans might be set back, even for a month.

This lack of consultation is very reminiscent of how the canal matter was presented to Council. They were merely asked to rubberstamp exactly what the Mayor wanted to do. He got his way eventually. In the day care matter there was no need for “eventually.”

Second funniest moment:

  • "At one point, Mayor Eddie Francis came to the defence of administration. “This has been one of the most agonizing, difficult decisions for them to be involved in,” he said, adding some staff had been “in tears writing this report.”

He did not say what kind of tears you will note....laughter probably, considering the joke of the report.

It is very clear to me that Administration had not done their work properly. No alternatives were presented or discussed in the Report, pro and con. We had to take their word at Council that they had considered them all, whatever they were.

If this is what Councilor Gignac thinks is one of the best reports that Administration has ever presented to Council, then Lord help us. Again it is reminiscent of Administration not doing their homework to tell us what the Arena lands were initially purchased for by the London developer before we bought part of it.

It is very clear to me at least that very little work had been done on alternatives. Administrators really could not give us firm figures about various alternatives presented, for example keeping open three of the centres or even Jefferson alone. You know the ones I mean, the ones that are operating at capacity. All we were told is that the cost would be higher without any justification whatsoever.

Even when businesses are in poor economic shape, one of the matters that they consider is reorganization, before shut-down. That was not considered by the Administrators in the report, even to pretend that they looked at all sides.

It may well be that there is no need for Municipal daycare given the economics but what I found very interesting is why 425 children were placed back in Municipal daycare even after the strike. If they were placed in such wonderful locations during the strike by a caring Administration, then why did they come back?

We are not being told something significant with the rush to close down and put people out of work

I was very disappointed in CUPE.

I was contacted very late on Saturday night by a senior CUPE Official who wanted to enlighten me about certain matters involving the daycare situation. I was presented with some information that I did not have before but nothing frankly that I thought would change what Council was going to do anyway, no matter what anybody said on Monday night.

However, I was shocked to learn about certain allegations made about an Administrator and a possible conflict of interest. I heard the rumour before but was not going to write about it until I had something firmed up. I don’t spread unsubstantiated, vicious rumours in my BLOG. However, this official confirmed what I had heard.

I was shocked.

I suggested to the Official a course of conduct that I thought should be followed if in fact the Official knew the information that I was being given was true. Interestingly I also received confirmation subsequently from a couple of readers but was not provided with any hard evidence that I thought was satisfactory for me to put on my BLOG.

To be absoutely candid, if what I was said was true, then the Administrator should have been fired and the police called in immediately to investigate. It was that bad.

What I suggested was that the Official contact the Union’s lawyers immediately and have the lawyers write to Council with the allegations and demand that Council investigate before a decision was made. My guess was that the investigation would take no longer than a day or two and at the least this matter could be deferred perhaps for a week so that it could be concluded one way or the other.

I contacted the Official on Monday morning several times and in fact e-mailed, assuming that the lawyers would have already sent out a letter. Frankly, I wanted the scoop for my BLOG.

Imagine my surprise when this e-mail was sent back to me:

  • "In meetings all morning have not contacted our lawyer."

I could not believe what I had read. What meetings could possibly be more important than the livelihoods of over 100 workers and clients, children, of the daycare centres, never mind some of the adults who would be receiving training at the various Municipal daycares.

But it was all going to be OK I thought in the end. CUPE 543 President Jean Fox was supposed to speak according to the Delegation List and she would reveal all I assumed. Yea, right!

This is more confirmation to me that CUPE is a useless union for workers in Windsor. The only thing that they have done since the strike ended is to ask Union members to pay money to build up the strike fund, presumably because a good strike fund is needed when the contract ends.

If this is the kind of union that the CUPE workers want in Windsor, good luck to them. The women and children have lost thanks to them…the women on the picket line and the children in the daycare.

As for me, if I was in the union, the first thing I would consider is replacing the leadership. I would toss them out. Secondly, and this would be a lot more difficult, I would seek to decertify the Union and join another one… even, shudder, CAW.

The result last night was totally predictable. People got to vent but the hard-liners really didn’t care. There is an election to be won and beating up on CUPE is a sure way to be victorious. Will the parents of the children who were forced out of the daycares plus employees who will lose their jobs over a 3 or 4 year period, because it takes that long for the City to reorganize their worker pool after all the bumping, be politically active during the next municipal election to show their disgust? If they do, there will be a rather significant turnover in Council.

The failure of CUPE leadership in Windsor, and their Ontario office, is far-reaching and will make it much more difficult for the Union movement to deal with the attacks on them that are surely to come as seen in the recent Star story.

Councillors recognized that there would be a political price to pay as well in their dealings with the County. But that didn't matter to them either. If they were not prepared to defer the debate for their own citizens, then why would they do so for the County just because the County requested it. Windsor as we were told did not legally have to talk to the County at all and could do what it wanted. Let the County do a deal with the City and run their own daycare if they were so concerned. I wonder if that is how the County will now treat us over ambulance service.

No wonder we cannot save a million dollars on a sewer pipeline costs thanks to Edgar and City politicians who refused to sign a deal with Tecumseh for reasons unknown.

How long would that have kept daycares open?


By the way, the PETU people were fools. I am sure today that they recognize their mistake.

With Edgar and the hardliners in charge, they should have unionized!