Monday, August 13, 2007

The Stupidity of Vancouver

Now, everyone knows I absolutely love living on the coast, and everyone who has seen me since the move just senses that I'm happier and doing well out here. I love being a part of something big, and there's no denying that the Lower Mainland is indeed big; I love being near the water, I love my view of the mountains and the Island, and the US off in the distance; I love my home.

But there's trouble in paradise...

Indoor and Outdoor workers in Vancouver are on strike, and have been since July 19th. All of the other municipalities have settled their labour negotiations/strike action, with the big, fat, glaring exception of Vancouver. The City and the striking workers are settling in for the long haul, and it just drives me absolutely WILD. I have nothing good to say about the city right now, and ironically, I'm picking a side: the workers.

I lived through the Giant Mine Strike of 1992-93 and witnessed how low humans will go over an agreement on a piece of paper. From that fateful September on, I developed a genuine hatred for labour relations. I think when all sides involved let things go so far as a strike or a lockout, they have stopped being humans, and have assumed the identities of...well, I don't know what, because quite frankly, to call them stupid or idiots is an insult to stupid people and idiots. Yes folks, I have a very low opinion of labour relations. And yet...maybe I've been living in BC for too long...I'm in agreement with the striking workers. I totally believe that Sam Sullivan, Vancouver's mayor, is trying to sheister them out of decent terms by trying to make sure that there is no real money in the coffers after the 2010 Olympics to negotiate with; I do think it's quite possible that the Union leadership is also being antagonistic, because I know human nature dictates that this has to be so, but I've got a nagging feeling, based on watching Sam Sullivan be a totally useless TOOL on the social housing crisis, that this really is Sam's Strike.

Okay, I sense I need to clarify: I think the strike/lockout thing in the Developed countries in general is obsolete. Strikes in the developing countries, yes, this I get, because generally, they have horrendous, terrible, inhumane working conditions, and they need to fight for improvement, much like the workers in Canada and the US did in the very early years of the 20th century. But strikes over a wage increase difference between say, 10% and 13%? Are you kidding me?

*sigh* I hate labour relations.

2 Comments:

At 12:03 AM, Blogger Gail said...

I remember the garbage strike from about five years ago, and that lasted ALL SUMMER. It was truly gross. I also remember when the transit service shut down and people had to hitch to work. I've always thought both should be considered essential services and therefore no strike action was possible.

This portends some potentially disastrous possibilities for the Olympics if Vancouver can't get out of this (*pun alert!*) mess soon. They can just expect it to happen again.

I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to see you guys the other weekend! It was manic but hey, I survived.

 
At 11:23 AM, Blogger Fancy C. Poitras said...

Hey, no problem! I know when you come out here, family is the number one priority!

News today that the Libraries and its workers are headed back to the table is a move in the right direction, but it makes me wonder if the libraries are breaking away from the GVRD Labour management model. Burnaby, Delta, Surrey and Richmond dropped the GVRD model, didn't invite the GVRD labour rep to negotiations, and found deals pretty quick...how much of this mess is caused by the GVRD, and how much is Sam's Obstinance...I wonder.

If he's still mayor come the Olympics, Vancouver is soooooo screwed.

 

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