Saturday, July 18, 2009

Strike Strike Strike

Toronto is in day 27 of its civic workers strike. From the City of Toronto web site:
At 12:20 a.m. on Monday, June 22, 2009, the City of Toronto's unionized employees represented by the Toronto Civic Employees' Union Local 416 (CUPE) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 79 began a legal strike.
I moved here in 2002, and this is the second time these unions have gone on strike. The strike has been termed the "Garbage Strike" since there is no garbage pickup and trash is the most visible sign of the work stoppage. The 2002 strike lasted 16 days, and was miserable as the average temperature was 30C/86F. This summer has been unseasonably cool, so the garbage isn't festering too badly. Fortunately I live in a high rise condo and my garbage pickup is privately contracted. The only thing that has effected me is that my Sunday night soccer game has been moved from a city-owned park, which is now a temporary garbage dump, to a high school field. No big deal. But some of my friends are getting seriously screwed over by the lack of city-run day care for their tots.

This is an excerpt from Now Magazine about what to expect during the strike.
Unfortunately, it fair to say garbage will sit at the top of the pile of people’s concerns and the city will continue to threaten troglodytes with $380 illegal dumping tickets. But in case you can manage to lighten your junk tossing for a few days, here’s a partial list of stuff you might not even know is affected by the strike (find the full list here):
  • The Toronto Archives are closed.
  • All park permits (tennis, soccer, etc.) including wedding photos are cancelled.
  • City camps, clubs, tours, anything planned for community schools, pools, arenas, fitness centres, golf courses, greenhouses, conservatories, and public washrooms – all closed.
  • The Toronto Island ferry is out of service.
  • Routine repairs to expressways, roads, sidewalks and bridges are suspended, and many Transportation services issues that are functioning will see delays.
  • Here’s one that is huge: all child care centres operated by Toronto Children’s Services are closed. The list, as linked above, available here under the Children’s Services header.
  • Streets to Homes walk-in is closed as is the Adelaide Women’s Resource Centre.
  • Grade 7 and 8 students who missed their Hep B, Meningitis C and HPV immunizations are out of luck for now.
  • Routine restaurant inspections are out, which should give you even more reason to cook at home.
  • The city’s sexual health clinics, needle exchange on Victoria, and dental clinics are shut down.
  • Water quality won’t be monitored on beaches, so it’s probably a bad idea to swim.
  • Taxi, limo and CPR training at Municipal Licensing and Standards is off. More importantly, taxis get training?
  • It’s unclear whether parking tickets are still being issued, but you won’t be able to go to Metro Hall to dispute one.
As a non-Canadian I can't vote in city elections, so I really haven't been paying too much attention to the city verses the union in term of negotiations, but from what little I have read I tend to side with the city on this one. The union demands seem ridiculous to me. Read more about the strike in today's Toronto Star.

This photo makes me sad as kids usually play roller hockey in these empty ice rinks during the summer. Children always get completely screwed during these conflicts. No public swimming pools in the summer? No summer T-ball? This photo is from Christie Pits Park near Bloor St. W. and Christie St.

Here is some pro-worker music for the striking masses:

Billy Bragg - There is Power in a Union.mp3
Buy: Talking with the Taxman About Poetry (1986, reissues 2006)

If there is music that is pro-THE MAN, I don't know of it. Heck, half of rock and roll is about sticking it to THE MAN (the other half is about picking up chicks). So here is more Billy Bragg doing Woody Guthrie.

Billy Bragg & Wilco - All You Fascists.mp3
Buy: Mermaid Avenue Vol. II (2000)

Me trying to be ironic:

Garbage - When I Grow Up.mp3
Buy: Version 2.0 (1998)

The Replacements - I Hate Music.mp3
Buy: Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash (1981, reissued 2008)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you consume and pay for city services, I guess you are The Man. I read about this ridiculous strike on another blog (Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis), and I feel bad for you people being held hostage by stinking garbage. When everyone else is facing work furloughs, job loss, and pay cuts, union demands don't seem too sympathetic.