Thursday, July 2, 2009

Toronto - More than the Garbage Smells

The City of Toronto strike continues to drag on. There are reports that both side are prepared for a 6 week strike. As always the losers are the citizens who are unable to access community services. CUPE and City Council seem to be clueless at the anger felt by residents about the strike.

On Wednesday, CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan wrote about the strike in the Toronto Star. He talked about the historical importance of unions and their goal to provide every worker with a 'liveable' wage. He does not feel it is fair to publish workers for an economy collapse caused by risks taken by the rich in attempts to further line their pockets. Rank and file union members have claimed they can relate to the economic suffering of others because they had to live with Rae days or 8 years without a raise under Mel Lastman.

Union demands have hurt the economy, especially in the auto sector. There is a reasons aside from nationality why companies like Honda and Toyota were not jumping in line for government handouts. Unreasonable labour rates, plus union red tape can cut into the pofitability of a company. If a company can't make money then they are not going to have any employees. The fact that the union doesn't flinch at complaining about reduced sick benefits to people who have lost their jobs or live in fear of losing their jobs during the economic colapse.

City council is doing their fair share of not connecting to tax payers. Call from an emergency council meeting to slash roll back this year's raise. An oppurtunity to take action didn't make it to the floor for consideration, when the decision was made to freeze union salaries. Excuses from councillors range from their portion gets donated, to the meeting would cost too much, to it is a 'cost of living' increase and not a raise. Mayor Miller's excuse is that the city stopped the practise of tying their salaries to contracts the city negotiates, recognizing it was a conflict of interest.

Over the years City Council has called on taxpayers to tighten their builts. Tax increases and new taxes have been standard to help with city finances. City Council has still not managed to roll back a single perk to show that they are prepared to stand with residents and tighten their built. The overall savings to the city budget would be minimal. An act of do as I do, instead of do as I say would go a long way to gaining respect from residents.

The Gay Pride Parade was too important to allow the strike to allow it to be cancelled. The same effort and care was not placed on Canada Day celebrations. City Council and it's unionized employees are out of sink with the needs of the community. They are willing to allow everyone else to suffer in order to stick to their ideoligical guns. In Toronto voters are consistent in re re-electing the same politicians over and over again. If they continue to be treated like garbage and taken for granted, there is a slim chance that will not be true for the next election.That seems like a risk all the important players are willing to take.

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