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.