Another year, another bus strike

I knew it was a possibility. I specifically didn’t buy a bus pass this month because of that. But since I’m between contracts at the moment, I didn’t realize that it had become a reality until I went down to get my mail on Wednesday and saw all the “Carpool wanted” notices on the bulletin board. Even then, I didn’t realize the strike had already started. I thought it was all just in anticipation of a future strike.

OCTranspo strike page

The OC Transpo Web site currently just displays information about the strike.

Usually I have some sympathy for workers who are on strike, but I have very little for the bus drivers in this case. In a spread-out city like this, too many people rely on bus travel for it to be considered anything but an essential service, despite city council voting on Wednesday that it isn’t. And the Amalgamated Transit Union likes to threaten or call strikes in November/December, essentially holding commuters and retailers (who are losing lucrative Christmas sales) hostage in an attempt to put pressure on the city negotiators.

I have very little respect and no support whatsoever for the strikers. OC Transpo bus drivers are well paid — better paid than many people in this city — and you don’t become a bus driver without realizing that you’re going to work some crappy shifts. It’s like working as a computer operator — since data centres run 24/7, you know you’re going to be working shift work. Don’t start complaining about it. Most people don’t get annual wage increases at all, let alone the kind that the bus drivers want.

Kind of glad I’m not working on a contract right now. During the month-long strike back in 1996, I had to walk an hour each way to and from my workplace — it was a cold and blizzardy November/December that year, a bit like the weather we’ve been getting in the last week. I had a cassette Walkman at the time so I had some mix tapes and ABBA to keep me company, and I lost weight, but I also almost got hit by sliding cars several times and I developed asthma during that period. From the National Post:

The last Ottawa transit strike was in 1996. It began in late November and lasted 24 days. Buses were back on the road on Dec. 19 that year. The strike ended when both sides agreed to an arbitrator’s proposal that allowed OC Transpo to roll back benefits worth about $1.25 million. The city had been seeking cuts of $2 million.

Some costs of that strike were easy to quantify. Each striker lost about $2,500 in wages, and the Ottawa-Carleton Board of Trade estimated that the cost to businesses was about $1 million a day in lower productivity and lost sales during the Christmas season.

The CBC article linked to earlier in this post mentions one poor guy who had to walk 4+ hours to get to work. For some people, their only options are walk crazy distances or not get paid. It’s insane.

Some additional related articles from today:


Procrastinator’s Creed

Via Sharyn’s Quirkeries blog:

The Procrastinator’s Creed

  1. I believe that if anything is worth doing, it would have been done already.
  2. I shall never move quickly, except to avoid more work or find excuses.
  3. I will never rush into a job without a lifetime of consideration.
  4. I shall meet all of my deadlines directly in proportion to the amount of bodily injury I could expect to receive from missing them.
  5. I firmly believe that tomorrow holds the possibility for new technologies, astounding discoveries, and a reprieve from my obligations.
  6. I truly believe that all deadlines are unreasonable regardless of the amount of time given.
  7. I shall never forget that the probability of a miracle, though infinitesimally small, is not exactly zero.
  8. If at first I don’t succeed, there is always next year.
  9. I shall always decide not to decide, unless of course I decide to change my mind.
  10. I shall always begin, start, initiate, take the first step, and/or write the first word, when I get around to it.
  11. I obey the law of inverse excuses which demands that the greater the task to be done, the more insignificant the work that must be done prior to beginning the greater task.
  12. I know that the work cycle is not plan/start/finish, but is wait/plan/plan.
  13. I will never put off until tomorrow, what I can forget about forever.
  14. I will become a member of the ancient Order of Two-Headed Turtles (the Procrastinator’s Society) if they ever get it organized.

(Author Unknown)

This one of those memes that does the round of e-mails and blogs regularly. I can’t track down the source of the list after a quick search (perhaps it originated with The Procrastinators’ Club of America) so consider this a note to myself to do a better search later. ;-))

I was going to offer some links to other sites related to procrastination but you really only need to go to Procrastination Central, a rather serious university research site that offers a really nice, annotated collection of links. Check it out…if you get around to it.