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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Shameful behaviour by striking CUPE workers in Windsor, ON

I live in Windsor, Ontario, where city workers have been striking since mid-April. There has been no garbage pickup or park maintenance, but I've been happy to see the people of Windsor stepping up to do what they can to take care of the city. People have started going out with their kids to help clean up parks as a way to teach them about littering and keeping the planet clean. One major cleanup by pitch-in.ca folks cleared piles of Tim Horton's cups and other garbage from the riverfront. 

Entrepreneurs have also come to the forefront, offering garbage pickup with their trucks and trailers for people who don't want to leave their garbage at the road in the hot weather for rats or raccoons to tear open or to store it in their basements as the city suggests. It's been absolutely heartwarming to see people helping one another in my city.

Apparently, though, this isn't OK with the city workers, who shout at those trying to clean up and have been reported to have even grabbed garbage from workers at local businesses to dump it into city parks. Most startling so far, though, is this cell phone video of a woman shouting at a couple and their granddaughter as they pick up garbage in a park. The woman aggressively approaches them, tears open a bag of garbage and kicks it all over the ground the child and couple have finished cleaning, telling them, "Here's some more garbage, since you think you should be doing our jobs." 

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The man who shot the video is afraid to be identified because he's worried the union will retaliate against him. Apparently he should be. The columnist who wrote the article on entrepreneurs linked above had his car vandalized after his article was printed for the first time in a long career of controversial writing.

When unions were first started they had a noble purpose - to protect workers from mistreatment and to give them an equal voice when bargaining for their jobs. The high value of the workers protected their jobs when they were on strike and reminded employers of their value. 

Over the years this purpose has been completely lost, especially as legislation has taken away the ability of the employer to have equal status when bargaining -striking employees cannot be fired and replaced if others are willing to do their job for less. Although employees' labour does not have the high value it once did, employers are forced to treat them as though it did.

Public sector unions, though, are the worst. When they go on strike they are basically holding third parties - taxpayers and citizens - hostage to get their demands. Because they provide public services, they are infuriated even by something as positive as people working together to make the world a better place. 

The rumour here in Windsor is that CUPE president Sid Ryan is using Windsor to set an example and let municipalities know that CUPE will not take lower raises or benefits because of the economic downturn, dispite the hardships their taxpayers might be facing. 

If this is true and Ryan is looking to make an example, perhaps he should start with the CUPE picketers who would intimidate, frighten or shout at the people, including children, trying to keep their parks safe.

Posted by Janet Neilson on May 27, 2009 | Permalink

Comments

I find it interesting that even as male-dominated private-sector unions fade from the scene (witness the CAW and UAW getting their wages and benefits rolled back to those of Toyota workers), female-dominated public-sector unions become more and more radical. Law-breaking is frequent and intimidation and even physical confrontations are not unheard of. They demand recognition as "skilled, educated professionals," forgetting meanwhile that such professions have not traditionally required unions to secure decent pay and that one does not see other types of professionals acting like street gangs defending their turf.

Fire them all and bring in new hires grateful for the work. If things turn violent, send in the troops. They are not owed a living on their terms. It is time for the "see no evil" approach that unionized police often take towards labour disputes to end. Belonging to a union isn't any more justification for breaking the law than having a cause.

Sid Ryan should have worked harder to nip this situation in the bud rather than wasting time trying to organize boycotts against Israel.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-05-27 2:37:30 PM


Union behaviour, by definition, is always shameful. Joey Smallwood didn't call them "gangster unions" for nothing. And I agree with Joey: this would be a much better world without those mafia-type criminal organizations causing trouble all the time.

Posted by: Werner Patels | 2009-05-27 3:56:29 PM


Thug like behaviour from Unions. No surprise there.
They constantly robbing people anyway and they are by definition socialist. I hate socialists.

Posted by: JC | 2009-05-27 4:10:03 PM


Good 'ol Shane. Calling for union busting by force. One kind of aggression does not justify another. Like Mom said, "two wrongs don't make a right."

Posted by: Robert Seymour | 2009-05-27 4:28:14 PM


Three out of four comment on the topic while one feels the need to make a personal attack on one of the three. Shame on you Robert!

I agree with the other three that this is nothing new nor surprising in union behaviour. They do nothing to improve their image, but then in Canada they are protected by judicial activism. Friends who come under CUPE and who resent not having a choice nor a say often relate stories that would curl your hair.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-05-27 5:08:22 PM


Gadflying again, Robert? Just so we're clear, organized campaigns with political aims that turn violent, either with planning or the tacit approval of its organizers, is called "terrorism."

If unions use force to push their agenda, they can have no complaint if the government uses force to restore order. Indeed, it's their duty to do so.

P.S. Is this the part where I pretend I give two craps what your mother said?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-05-27 5:09:05 PM


Unions are not exactly the problem. Forced union membership is!

Posted by: TM | 2009-05-27 6:44:50 PM


No one forces union members to bully citizens, TM. That part's voluntary.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-05-27 9:17:00 PM


Spot on TM. That was the point I was making about judicial activism in Canada giving them a free pass. Also thug behaviour should not be tolerated be it by unions or management, and in this case as so often it is the union.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-05-27 9:21:33 PM


The government should uphold the law. Period. Assault is unacceptable in any context.

That said, the biggest problem is not with the unions, but with the laws that favour unions. Get rid of the laws and level the playing field.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-05-28 6:38:09 AM


Shane - I think TM is referring to the fact that we don't have, say, right-to-work legislation.

Posted by: Janet | 2009-05-28 8:58:34 AM


Isn't this a terrific example of something we don't need the government doing for us?

Posted by: Sam T | 2009-05-28 7:49:20 PM


I know many people in Windsor who have even taken paycuts just to KEEP their jobs. There is too much greediness going on. In the end, nobody's gonna win.

What's funny is that even the kind coaches and families who have been keeping the parks clean for the children to stay in their respective sports leagues are being threatened by their sponsor (CAW)to stop or else they will not continue sponsorship because it is against their cause.

Also rumours going around that a lot of people (similar in interests as this lady in the video) are putting clothes hangers in the parks to stop people from being able to mow the lawns which have not been cut for about two months now.

Disgrace; be lucky to even have a job in the country's greatest unemployment rate city, or else ur just another statistic.

Posted by: George | 2009-05-29 11:59:47 AM


I live in windsor and I just came back home from 3 hours of cleaning at the ford test track. It isn't a rumor about hangers. I found a few myself. We all lined up and did a sweep of the tall grass removing garbage etc. I was saddened when we started finding the hangers. They were spread out within several soccer fields. It is just disgraceful.

On a positive note, I met some wonderful people today. I was heartened at the mix of people and how everyone was in good spirits and really there for the kids. CUPE was barely mentioned once we were in the field. There are great people in Windsor and it is sad that the few bad apples give this City a bad name.

Posted by: sonia | 2009-05-30 2:24:17 PM


My father works for the city. He is currently still on strike. What people fail to realize is that city workers get treated like crap and have poor pay. That's why they're on strike but Eddie Francis is a dummy and won't budge.

Posted by: KS | 2009-05-30 3:18:51 PM


News flash, city workers aren't the only people who get treated like crap at their jobs. They need to suck it up like the rest of us. Most of us also have poor pay and are still doing the jobs we're lucky to have. It's time this ends and city workers go back to work. Our city is only going to deteriorate faster. I support everyone stepping up to help keep our city clean and presentable. Shame on CUPE and shame on the CAW as well.

Posted by: Kay | 2009-05-30 4:19:19 PM


"What people fail to realize is that city workers get treated like crap and have poor pay."

City workers, on average, make considerably more pay the average taxpayer who pays their salary. They also have much better benefits and job security. In today's economy your father should be thankful to have a job at all, especially at the skill level he likely has if he's working for the city. People with more to offer than he has are waiting out the recession on the living room couch. Your father's tale does not tug the ole heartstrings.

In any case, there is no excuse for the intimidating, bullying, thuggish behaviour on display by some members of the union. None. People should not be expected to live in a trash heap because people like your father have decided they deserve more pay for no more responsibility. Strikers who behave that way should be shot dead on the spot. Perhaps that will teach them manners.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-05-30 4:22:40 PM


Why are Ontarians lazy when on the job and so fanatical when on strike? They're just too rich. I recommend returning their ill-gotten gains to their rightful owners, and for oppressing non-whites in their fascist land.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-05-30 4:45:50 PM


so when should we expect the video to come up of the old lady assaulting a striker, or is it not in your interests to show both sides? I see Shane Matthews is still at it as per usual, even after all these months of me not coming here. Using kids as an excuse to do the work of a striker is highly admirable, but only to those with small minds. Honestly, to see everyone get all up in arms over some broad dumping garbage is pathetic, considering many of the citizens of Windsor were dumping their own garbage in fields and on street corners.

Posted by: seven star | 2009-05-30 10:22:38 PM


That's a pretty lame defence of such well-documented thuggery, Seven Star. Perhaps your inability to contribute anything with meat is why no one has noticed your absence over the past--how many months was it?

People are not owed a living on their terms. Get used to it. It's time we buried these depression-era relics, especially for the public service. As the dramatic collapse of the Big Three proves, you don't need unions to have reasonably paid workers turning out quality products. And people depend on government for all sorts of services, and pay for that service. Striking in the public service should be forbidden on pain of criminal prosecution.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-05-31 12:28:50 AM


"That's a pretty lame defence of such well-documented thuggery, Seven Star. Perhaps your inability to contribute anything with meat is why no one has noticed your absence over the past--how many months was it?"

as opposed to your spewing of anti union vitriol Shane? What well documented thuggery do you speak of anyhow? A video with no sound with the story of a striker snatching a garbage bag from a child? Very well documented indeed, its too bad there really isn't mush of a story there. Why don't you speak of the video with the lady assaulting a picketer Shane, or have you not seen it, or in your blinding ignorance somehow condone that behaviour? The later wouldn't surprise me because you come across as an idiot full of hypocritical delusions.

Perhaps my absence is due to me being tired of seeing the same nonsense come from your little mind? Do you live in Windsor Shane? Nope, do you see the citizens dumping garbage on street corners and in fields? Nope. So when i see the people of Windsor getting upset at a video with no sound and no context, yet at the same time dump their crap in a field or pile it up on the curb expecting the magic garbage fairy to take it by dawn, I am calling them on their hypocritical BS.

Posted by: seven star | 2009-06-03 7:13:36 PM


I recommend returning their ill-gotten gains to their rightful owners, and for oppressing non-whites in their fascist land.
Posted by: Zebulon Punk | 2009-05-30 4:45:50 PM

The people of Windsor just have to look across the river to see what happens when the Punk's people are running things.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-06-03 7:34:52 PM


Cupe workers are a bunch of lazy useless piles of garbage. Fighting over something that no one else in this city has...benefits after retirement. Why should the rest of us subsidize YOU.

Posted by: bob | 2009-06-09 8:57:15 PM


Perhaps if the "woman" in the video showed that much ambition while on the (well paying) job, she wouldn't be so Morbidly Obese!!

10% of the city is out of work - be thankful you have a job. I don't have one, and would glady take yours at 1/2 of your wage!

Posted by: Dale Markham | 2009-06-11 12:53:04 PM


"as opposed to your spewing of anti union vitriol Shane?"

If unions stopped holding the entire citizenry hostage every time contract talks roll around, I might take a less vitriolic view of them.

"What well documented thuggery do you speak of anyhow? A video with no sound with the story of a striker snatching a garbage bag from a child? Very well documented indeed, its too bad there really isn't mush of a story there."

No, of course not. The papers thought it was newsworthy, but you didn't, and I guess that really is all you need to hear, considering the reputation you have with yourself.

"Perhaps my absence is due to me being tired of seeing the same nonsense come from your little mind?"

And yet hear you are, back for seconds. Perhaps your absence was due to laziness?

"Do you live in Windsor, Shane?"

No, I live in B.C., where the job actions by the public-sector unions are even more notorious than those in Ontario. We've had teachers strike illegally, costing parents millions of dollars in lost wages and child care fees, had these same teachers mob a government negotiator with Parkinson's disease in his car, 400 to 1 (and then mock him for shaking), nurses cancel surgeries of patients in pain with their demands for a 60-percent wage hike, HEU workers walk out over benefits, CUPE strikes for this and that...I've seen it all, Seven.

"Nope, do you see the citizens dumping garbage on street corners and in fields?"

Well, given the fact that anyone dumping garbage in its proper place gets chased off by packs of rabid unions wolves, who can blame them? Or should anyone who wants to use the town dump have to pack a gun?

"Why don't you speak of the video with the lady assaulting a picketer Shane, or have you not seen it, or in your blinding ignorance somehow condone that behaviour?"

At least she picked on someone her own size. And how do you know the picketer wasn't blocking her way--which is illegal, by the way, since the picketers don't own the property in question?

Unions can stop acting as if they own the world anytime. Because they don't, and never did. They do not control the means of production. They are not owed a living on their terms. They do what they're hired to do or they're fired.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-11 1:42:25 PM


10% of the city is out of work - be thankful you have a job. I don't have one, and would glady take yours at 1/2 of your wage!

Posted by: Dale Markham | 2009-06-11 12:53:04 PM

Actually, the last number I heard had unemployment in Windsor at something closer to 14%.

Posted by: Janet | 2009-06-11 2:54:11 PM


Actually, the last number I heard had unemployment in Windsor at something closer to 14%.
Posted by: Janet | 2009-06-11 2:54:11 PM

http://www40.statcan.ca/l01/cst01/lfss04g-eng.htm

May 2009 Unemployment rate in Windsor was 13.5% and Employment rate was 57.6%. What happened to the other 29%? Look at the bright side, Detroit's unemployment rate is nearly 22%.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-06-11 3:09:17 PM


Stig, the unemployment rate is considered to consist only of those who are actually looking for employment and don't currently have it. Stay-at-home moms are not considered unemployed, nor are children, the retired, the independently wealthy, and so on. There are a lot of variables, which means the final number is only an estimate, but it's usually fairly accurate.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-11 3:48:30 PM


So much going on. Just get back to work so I don't have to smell this outside my door! I just found this new site www.windsorstrike.com. you can post comments there to have one big spot where people can "sound off". Looks to be just created. I added a few posts there.

Try and comment on this site so the union and city know how we feel! They even have a petition that they say they are going to give to the union and council. I am trying to get people to post there to build this up so people take notice. We have to do something. - www.windsorstrike.com

Posted by: StevenB | 2009-06-12 7:33:35 AM



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