Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Dan Pitman of Toronto, Please Read This Blog!

Excellent letter to the editor in today's Toronto Sun about the TTC wildcat strike:

Dan Pitman (Public Sector Unions Unfair) writes:
But unions in a government-mandated monopoly hide behind the fact that, legally, there can be no competition. Drunk with power, they become arrogant bullies. The mayor must push for punishment immediately and the premier must ban all future TTC strikes. But if you expect union lackeys David Mouse or Dalton McWimp to act decisively, you're waiting for a subway that will never arrive at the station.

I couldn't have said it better. To be fair though, Mayor Miller does seem to be standing tough here.

Andrew Coyne in today's National Post (Smash Toronto's Monopoly) also points to the union as the root problem:

Unions strike when it is to their advantage, and it is to their advantage, typically, where they hold some kind of monopoly -- if not, other workers would simply step in to fill the gap.

Coyne suggests various remedies including contracting out. It is a very interesting article, where he analyzes transit systems in other major cities across the globe, in an effort to find an alternative to the publicly-funded monopoly in Toronto. Unfortunately, the link seems to be for registered subscribers only, but it's worth the price of the paper.

While the TTC remains stuck in the monopoly rut, around the world the movement is toward competition in public transit. Britain's remains the most radical experiment: In 1985, the streets of Britain were thrown open to competition from private bus services, in every city outside London. The results, admittedly, have been mixed. While costs were slashed by 42%, partly by experimenting with minivans, jitneys and other alternatives to the traditional bus, prices have not moderated to the extent hoped.

This whole area is crucial when you consider the amount of discussion surrounding smog and pollution. With the present federal government pushing for increased use of public transit, the reliability of the service needs to be examined.

Anyway, Dan Pitman, you are my kind of guy! If you ever read this blog, please respond in the comments section. I would love to hear from you.


PGP said...

I agree...Here's to Dan Pitman.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Yeah, it's almost as fun to play around with Dalton's name as it is with the Brokeback Mounties. ;)

PGP said...

Ha! Luv that.........
BTW check CBC watch on Press Gallery issue.

liberal supporter said...

I am generally in favour of unions, because a large organization with one leader has an unfair advantage over unorganized employees. It can pick them off as it sees fit, and unless you have a zero unemployment economy there is no check on that except a union. The problem with unions is they do not have the constraints that employers have. They brought improved safety and working conditions originally, but today we end up with lowered average worker performance (can't fire anyone unless they go postal), and "job actions" that amount to robbery.

Further in today's Sun there is a full page ad from the union, about fare disputes. Why they did not run that earlier, and follow the usual process of threatening job action, I don't know. I think they have some valid points. But wildcat strikes are a breach of contract, and I think it should be grounds for rapid decertification of the union.

One of the frustrating aspects of the unionized transit, is that suggestions of using minivans for offpeak periods to maintain service but use less gas are usually grieved by the unions so we have large buses with no passengers making the rounds. I think part of it is that you need more than a G licence to drive a big bus (maybe an A or D license like transport and delivery trucks), while the minivan could be driven by anyone and they would be concerned about not keeping the job monopoly.

Meanwhile, on the make fun of names front, has anyone suggested "Dolt-on" or "McGuilty" yet? So much more fun than federal. I think Harpoon is about the best I've seen there, and that's not a very inventive nickname.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

L.S. - Thanks for your input. You raise some very interesting questions; e.g. about decertification of the union, etc.

The thing about public unions is that we are actually their bosses. They are striking against us. And they usually have a monopoly. If GM goes on strike, I can buy a different make of car. Not so with public transit or teachers or government employees of any kind.

"Dolton McGuilty". That has a nice ring to it. Maybe I should devote a post just for nicknames of politicians. I heard the opposition throwing around "Harpocrites" during Question Period. It might have had more impact if they hadn't all said it one after another. Kinda loses its punch after a while.

Chuckercanuck said...

Its crazy, And with Kyoto craze, the union knows how ever more critical it becomes and therefore holds us hostage.

Same applies for government daycares, btw. They can shut down Montreal just as fast as the transit union.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

CC - Yeah, that's pretty scary too. The big thing here is that it was an illegal strike. Laws were broken. Contracts were broken.

Legal strikes are bad enough, but given some warning, you can at least plan for it. This type of thing is just what you said - holding people hostage. And it doesn't help their P.R.