Strike, Strike, Strike

It was on, it was a cert according to the media, who couldn’t wait for bad news days filled with person-on-the street interviews, mainly of the stick-it-to-them variety; then it was off. They’d made a deal. Mayor David Miller did not want a strike, and the TTC managers, in their usual noodle-spine way, gave the union what they wanted. One had to wonder why management bothered to negotiate, or did they just talk tough at the beginning so that at the soon-to-be-announced-next-fare-hike, they could say we struck a fair deal, a good deal for the city, and it has nothing to do with the tens of millions more in salaries we’re paying out? Who knows.

But then rumblings stirred the ground. The maintenance men were not happy. We all know what they did to the deaf guy who complained about them smoking inside and allegedly near flammable materials. Well, they’re doing it to us now. They made their unhappiness known to the other half of the union membership. Don’t worry, be happy, everyone said. The union will ratify the deal. Ha! Nothing stirs the blood and let’s Torontonians and TTC management know where they stand than a good strike, and a fast one too. So much for the 48 hours notice.

Miller is fuming. He gave the union what they wanted in 2005, he had the managers do the same in 2008, and this is how the rank and file, the plebes of the union, repay him? He’s not a happy man. The proletariat are already pissed at him over the monstrous garbage bins and his China trip. This is not going to help.

Let’s hope this makes management rethink the fact that these union members provide the public with less service, costing the TTC in millions as they automate their vocal chords, while at the same time demanding very cushy wage increases and benefit increases (benefit increases??? the mind boggles at the thought that they hadn’t long ago gotten the best benefits a threat of a strike could buy). Let’s hope the federal government wakes up to the fact that unless the TTC works, this city’s economic output drops substantially and maybe they need to wake up and become more like the US federal government and start subsidizing some much-needed capital expansion, like a subway line along Queen Street. Let’s hope the province starts to rethink how the TTC has fared since it cut its 75% operating budget subsidy and reverse that fully. And let’s hope that if we have a good long strike that at the end of it there’s a shake-up in management and a shake-up in the union Thatcher-style so that sanity and cost-effectiveness become part of the system. Otherwise, at the end of this strike, all I see is another fare hike, less service, and more childish fighting between management and the union at our expense.

3 Comments so far

  1. - the one-stop pulse for all Deaf-related news and blogs. (pingback) on April 26th, 2008 @ 2:21 pm

    […] Minister Gordon Brown’s grilling by senior MPs on the Commons liaison committee. (93 clicks) Strike, Strike, StrikeIt was on, it was a cert according to the media, who couldn’t wait for bad n… "Campaign Fatigue" or Simple Indifference?The last few weeks have been extraordinary in […]

  2. jinei on April 28th, 2008 @ 5:17 pm

    What surprises me most is that I never knew it was never an essential service to begin with. All these years it was never? How does something like that go on through all these years? I just want to give kudos to the lenient citizens of Toronto that these guys have been having it easy. The only thing I can say about these people (TTC) is that if you feel you’re line of work is getting tedious, it’s only okay to look for another job. When you feel you’re in a scale where the balance is unfair, quit and look for a new job that suits your best interest. There’s no need to place unwary commuters in the middle of your corporate tirade there. Maybe these people are not well-informed that there’s not many jobs out there that offer $20/hr paychecks.

  3. talk talk talk (tor_pario) on April 28th, 2008 @ 6:19 pm

    $20/hr, try $26 now, rising to over $28 (if my math is right) by the end of their 3-year contract, probably higher if you factor in the improved benefits and their monetary worth.

    Anyway they don’t need to worry about feeling put upon anymore — they have a guarantee that they will earn the highest, no matter what, of all the GTA transit system workers.

    I don’t know why they’d declare it an essential service now, when there’s less service than there used to be, when the TTC no longer provides the frequency, capacity, and breadth commensurate to the population that it used to. It’s less essential and less useful now than it was back when it was always expanding and the drivers made an effort to be cordial and helpful.

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