Late night offer under consideration

Ottawa Citizen: Transit union to give decision today on late-night proposal from council

Union leaders are meeting Saturday morning to consider Ottawa city council’s latest proposal to end the transit strike and are scheduled to announce their decision by early afternoon. […]

Early Saturday morning, council unanimously approved a motion stating the city will enter binding arbitration — on three conditions. Council said they will enter the process if the union agrees that all issues, including scheduling, are part of it; that any final agreement addresses federal safety rules for drivers on hours of work and rest; and that the price tag of any agreement doesn’t exceed the overall amount represented in the city’s last offer, which was rejected by union members nine days ago.

Much as I hate the idea of showing weakness, too many people are being adversely affected by this strike. How people have lost their jobs because they couldn’t get to work without the bus? How many businesses are threatened due to revenue losses?

The news came to me initially through the Ottawa Citizen’s Facebook group, OC Transpo Strike Survivor, which also has an ongoing discussion about ways you can tell if you’re a bus strike survivor (they’re up to #60 now).

Edited to add later on in afternoon: Ah well, it was a short-lived hope. Should be no surprise that the union ultimately rejected the proposal. *sigh*

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Coping with chronic back pain

My first serious bout with back pain happened in the early 90s and was caused by a combination of bad ergonomics at work and the fact that I’m a klutz and fell frequently, injuring both my knees and my spine repeatedly. I was off work for a week with terrible muscle spasms. They eventually went away but after that, my back was never quite the same. I remember startling my mother when I ended up on my knees beside her chair while getting up from the dinner table — my back would spasm when I changed positions, knocking my legs out from under me. A few minutes stretching my lower back would allow me to get up again. It became a fact of life, just something to cope with. It was inconvenient, but not painful. It didn’t affect my ability to walk or stand for long distances.

By the late 90s, though, I was starting to have more and more muscle spasms, to my upper and lower back. I can’t count the number of times I ended up on my back on the floor of my cubicle after walking to work or packing boxes during release season because the spasms made it impossible to stand. A coworker coerced me into going to his chiropractor. I highly recommend chiropractic care for neck and upper back pain, but it did very little for the lower back pain. Or, rather, it had a very temporary effect on the lower back pain that only lasted until I got to the bus after leaving the doctor’s office. By 1999, I couldn’t walk the length of the local mall without stopping to sit down and stretch out my lower back. Lack of sustained walking, my primary fitness activity, resulted in heavy weight gain, which put further stress on my back — it was a fierce catch-22. The various drugs I took after my PE in December 1999/January 2000 caused additional issues that further limited my ability to walk long distances. Everything just snowballed from there and, to my horror, I’ve been content to let it. Continue reading “Coping with chronic back pain”