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Toronto city workers go on strike

June 21st, 2009 · 2 Comments

Vancouver had its turn two summers ago. Now it’s Toronto’s turn to have no garbage collection, daycare, building permits and so on.

Only this time, their city workers are negotiating in the climate of what people here in France keep referring to as “la crise” — the economic crisis. Not a good time to be bargaining for more or even to keep things the same.

The smart unions I know of here in B.C. are saying that their negotiating strategy in any contracts coming up is simply to stall as long as possible, in the hopes that economic indicators start to pick up and they’re not having to try to bargain in a doom-and-gloom climate.

Not that there are many contracts coming up in B.C. — everyone settled a few years ago for contracts that took them past the Olympics, so we won’t be facing many of these situations until this time next year.

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  • Denis

    There are no immediate upcoming contract, but don’t foget the Nurses and Gordo managed to make a deal a short time ago. He will do it again somewhere else if it suits him.

    The two national unions I was in used to say” when times are tough go not for money but benefits” Benefits of course involve money but the public doesn’t notice that. Toronto will notice as the garbage piles get bigger and the working parents have to find someplaceto put the the kids, or book off work. Then the businesses will start to notice. People don’t withdraw their labour on a whim.

  • Darcy McGee

    The Liquor Control Board of Ontario is also going to strike. If ever there was an argument for public employees being mandated at essential services, that’s it.

    Now seriously…Toronto’s garbage strike won’t last 3 months. Vancouver’s went on forever in part because of the large proliferation of condos and private pickup. Pretty much everybody had a condo, or had a friend with a condo where they could dump their garbage. (I was hauling garbage from home for my landlord’s to work.)

    But some services need to be deemed “essential” and I’d suggest this is one of them. At the very least waste transfer stations should be required to remain open, giving people the option to haul their own garbage. I personally think cities should limit garbage pickup to one bag per house and THAT should remain an essential service (a vast oversimplification of course, but nonetheless…)

    To be more specific: if Sam Sullivan had been living in a house in the west end, along with the rest of his NPA colleagues, the strike would have been over quickly. Sam had no personal interesting in ending it, and he didn’t end it. Thank god he got fired as a result.

    Public Transit is an essential service and shouldn’t be allowed to strike. Work slowdowns should be their only option. (I think Transit Unions should be required to maintain “no less than the regular holiday schedule at all times”, so they could do a partial strike but not a full strike.)