Don’t do it

[I started to write this post on December 18 but never finished it until today.]

Ottawa Citizen, December 18, 2008: City can’t give in to strikers

I find myself very much in agreement with Randall Denley in the article linked to above.

“With schools closing down and the commuting pressure declining during the Christmas holidays, the strikers could look forward to a couple of weeks out in the cold with no real pressure on the city. By the end of that time, their meagre strike pay will have kicked in and the city would be in a much more favourable position by the first week in January.”

“Councillors must remember that the city picked this fight. If they hadn’t decided, quite correctly, that more efficient work schedules could save a lot of money, a deal would have been reached. Having started all this and put the public and local businesses to considerable inconvenience, it wouldn’t make sense to pull out with no gains.”

“Public support has always been the key factor in this bus strike. The union has played its hand badly and alienated the public, but a point will come when people are just fed up and want it all to end, even if the city loses. Maybe there is some wisdom in getting back to the negotiating table before that point is reached, but councillors shouldn’t just fold. The public has put up with too much to come away with nothing.”

The striking bus drivers have already pretty much screwed the public and retailers over Christmas, which is the main reason for picking this time of year for striking — make it as hard as possible on store owners and the public so that they put pressure on the city to give in to demands. Unfortunately, they left it a little late this year. Most people will have found other ways to do their shopping and have alternate means of getting to work. Holidays are coming up, schools are closed. It’s inconvenient for the strike to continue but I resent being essentially held hostage.

Denley also makes a good point that the union hasn’t exactly been willing to compromise, despite the so-called “labour experts” saying they’re the only who have been — the union is just as stubborn in not giving way on the issue of scheduling as the city (they think that urging the city to go to separate the scheduling issue from the other contract issues and putting it to arbitration is being willing to compromise).

Ottawa Citizen, December 22, 2008: No settlement, but more talks in transit strike

Talks on the weekend failed. Talks Monday failed. Now they’re talking about talks continuing tomorrow — but there’s a news blackout. Why?

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