Saturday, April 26, 2008

A few quick thoughts on the TTC strike

This morning's Sun editorial encapsulated most of my personal reaction regarding the surprise TTC strike.

The union acted very irresponsibly by not giving any warning. As I watched the Toronto news stations near midnight, reporters were giving the information to many young women as they were planning to head home via a bus or subway. Several were in shock. I have a young niece who lives in downtown Toronto and I was immediately concerned for her safety.

The supposed reason for not giving a 48 hour warning was apparently to protect workers from abuse, but I suspect that transit users will have a few choice words for the drivers once this situation is temporarily resolved.

It should be a lesson for both David Miller and Dalton McGuinty though. Their union friends will just keep demanding more and more. They will never be able to satisfy their demands, and it will come at a huge cost to the taxpayer and transit user - both financially and in terms of safety.

At some point, they may need to make a tough choice.

And that time may well be now.


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Tony's viewpoint on this is worth reading. Comments are good too.


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Please Note: In the process of doing a bit of technical tweaking. Hopefully nothing here will be affected.


15 comments:

Anonymous said...

At some point, they may need to make a tough choice.

And that time may well be now.


How insightful. What does this mean exactly?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

How insightful. What does this mean exactly?

If you continue to give in to union demands, at some point you either have to raises taxes to a ridiculous degree, or raise the cost to the user, or cut services.

None of those options are very appealing to most people.

Anonymous said...

Sorry J, but, no one wins elections in Toronto fighting unions. This will be over by Monday, an agreement will be reached and all will be forgiven, more money will be given and a service some where will be cut and a tax will be added. Its the way it is. It is a left leaning union city and things like leaving young women stranded at empty unmaned bus and train stops at midnight is part of living in Toronto. And, they'd all vote for unionized provincial and federally run daycare too. I'm not sure why the cities are the way they are, but, I'm starting to think its got alot to do with immigration and renters, people who think that health care is free. Or, I'm just thinking out loud. billg

Mé said...

I don't think any union, from now on, is going to promise 48 hours before going on strike. Even if the TTC union had promised that, the provincial government would still be legislating the workers back. I will accept that there is a safety issue if passengers had 48 hours to abuse the drivers, ticket collectors, and other workers before a strike.

For the next two days, I will probably read a lot of union bashing. I will read comments about banning all kinds of strikes and banning unions. Very few people will offer solutions.

I have worked in both unionized and non-unionized work places. Non-unionized work places become unionized when workers do not feel that they have a good working relationship with their employers. Some of you may suggest that these workers should find employment elsewhere. That is an option; however, it does cost money to train new workers. If an employer needs to train new workers every six months instead of every five or ten years, then the labour costs increase.

There is a problem when unionized members do not accept management's proposal; there is another problem when they reject their own union leadership's proposal. The union negotiators become synonymous with management--a (Chinese) dragon union. some people in the union benefit from a existing proposal, but others don't.

Finally on Monday morning, don't expect if the TTC workers are legislated back by the provincial government that service will be normal. Expect delays through extremely careful driving such as no right turns on red lights, and drivers and ticket collectors checking all cash fares, transit passes, and transfers carefully. Expect less than formal uniforms. That's my guess.

Babylonian said...

At some point, they may need to make a tough choice.

And that time may well be now.

How insightful. What does this mean exactly?


I think it means privitization might have to be an option. I am sorry, my sister decided to go out downtonwm yesterday of all days, and I realizied there was a strike at 3:00 am'ish and called to check up on her, thanfully everything was o.k.

Toronto has no character, no class, and appears to be cowarded by the unions. This is really pathetic, keep giving into their demands, Torotno will continue to look and smell like a dump.

It amazes me how they still think they are a world class city.

Anonymous said...

I seriously doubt that Mayor Miller will stand up to a fight with the union.

The strike will end quickly and the Mayor and the union will both be happy-happy, and the best of friends once again.

The result with be increased costs, and Miller and McGuinty will use this to lobby the federal government for more money transfers to the cities.

Watch the Red Star reports next week for this spin!

Greg said...

Privatisation has worked, and worked well in other jursidictions, at least according to an old Andrew Coyne column. I think he wrote it recently - like last year when the TTC maintenance workers held the city hostage. I'll try to find it.

Greg said...

Took less time than I thought :-)
http://andrewcoyne.com/columns/2006/10/theres-better-way-to-run-ttc.php

Anonymous said...

I am thinking...
Ronald Reagan
and Air Traffic Controllers

maryT said...

If Toronto is governed by unions, and the liberals take their orders from Arab organizations, why do the people of Toronto keep electing these people. Remember the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
If some woman is raped or murdered during the strike and had to walk, could the family sue the UNION, not the city.

Annie said...

You know, I truly see both sides. Fair disclosure: my hubby was a TTC driver for 16 years, then worked in the office for another 3. With 19 years in and only 11 to full cushy retirement, he quit.

I agree these guys get paid wayyyy too much for the job. And, I agree there is a serious union problem.

But, there is another side. As society has become more and more rude and violent, these guys are front line to the abuse. Not many of us are physically threatened and verbally abused every single day while at our desks. it's ugly out there. In the 80's it was a differnt job. Now they are spit on, punched, swore at and threatened hourly. My hubby was one of the 'nice' ones.. said hello and good morning. He used to do a survey as to how many people actually bothered to wish him a cheerful good morning back. Over time it was a lousy 12% who actually acknowledged him in anyway, never mind cheerfully. he got out of driving because the public was so rude and miserable. In his last year of driving he was shot at 4 times, had a knife pulled on him 14 times, threatened with a brick 3 times and daily ripped off for fare. Like I said, he was one of the nice guys. Heaven knows many of those bus operators are miserable SOB's, I've experienced them too... but compared to the public, wow.

The TTC doesn't stand up for their staff. If a member of the public complains even if it's about something a driver was doing according to their RULES of the job (like ask for fare) the complainer gets free tickets and the employee gets disciplined. Managers are not trained in managing employees and discipline is the only thing they do. It truly is a horrible place to work. The work conditions are appalling - do you know there are about two dozen drivers a year that get frostbite on their toes because the buses have no heat or the floor under the driver is falling out? I don't know about you... but I get to work in a place where I have heat AND a bathroom. And, if I get sick, I don’t have to have a ‘office’ nurse override what my personal MD says and order me back to work when I am legitimately ill (as is done all the time – the TTC nurse told hubby that he didn’t qualify for time off after foot surgery, so you had a driver high on narcotic painkillers driving around the city ) Right now, a friend who had a slight stroke 5 weeks ago, who has completely blurry eyesight is driving because the TTC nurse overrode the opinion of his neurologist that he wasn’t to drive. I hope he’s not your bus driver when he hits something or had another stoke!

As someone who is an executive and have managed union employees, I have never in my life seen an employer treat staff the deplorable way the TTC does.

As for costs... why not wander into one of the bus divisions and see where they spend their money. Marble in the bathrooms, wrought iron fences around property (check Birchmount division @ Birchmount and Danforth). In the office.. again.. spending out of control. Horrific waste of supplies and human resource.

The TTC is a badly run company from the top down. It's not just the drivers, they are only the front line. Save some of your wrath for the crap management. As I said, I've been 'management and executive' for over 20 years, I've never seen such horrible company standards.

And finally... if the people of Toronto insist on voting in a socialist mayor AND a socialist premier, then don't be surprized that they give in to the unions. It's a forgone conclusion.

End of story: we moved away from the socialist centre of the universe and came to Calgary. Calgary Transit begged him to work for them. He'd have nothing to do with dealing with the shit public riding transit. He is now self employed, accountable only to himself and two million times happier than when he had his cushy $26 /hour, full benefits with the most horrific work conditions.

Don't jump all over me - I am not disagreeing with any of you, nor am I defending them. I’m just saying that there are other factors and considerations that the public doesn't see.

Babylonian said...

Annie, thanks for that info, never even heard about that. I will agree with you especially on one thing, the $hitty-A$$ attitude of Torot-nonians..........me being the mild-mannered-mississauga man that I am would always have TTC staff look at my like I just walked out of an assylum for greeting and smiling or saying goodbye to them. I once thought I entered the Station (where Allan Rd. begins) for free, and then went back to offer a fare, the two workers where like "what planet did you just get catapulted from?"

Sorry, I know I hate Toronto, and I am aware that there are still about a hundread or so good guys left there, but forgive me, I am venting. I like to kick this dog as I pass by.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Toronto has no character, no class, and appears to be cowarded by the unions. This is really pathetic, keep giving into their demands, Torotno will continue to look and smell like a dump.

It amazes me how they still think they are a world class city.


Babylonian, I just saw a W-5 show tonight about the abysmal living conditions in Toronto public housing. It's just awful. They showed cockroaches everywhere and garbage, holes in walls and dirt..

When the reporter went to interview a guy at TCHC, he said their hands are tied. Not enough money. But the guy makes over $200,000 as do many others on the staff.

Something is very wrong in Toronto.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Greg, thanks for that Coyne link. It can be accessed here.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

...Don't jump all over me - I am not disagreeing with any of you, nor am I defending them. I’m just saying that there are other factors and considerations that the public doesn't see.

Annie, thanks so much for that side of the story. You might consider sending an abbreviated version to a Toronto letters editor.