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City Workers Strike 2009

kEiThZ

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When the TTC operators and the Police got their contracts, I argued it was too generous. And I have long maintained that Council should not have voted themselves a cost-of-living increase in the midst of a recession. So naturally, it is now going to be really hard to convince the last guy in line that he has to take the fall because everyone ahead of him took a bigger piece of the pie. In the end, the city will have to cave in to the union's demands. There is no way they can ask for 0% and 1% when everyone else got 3%. Even the pols at 2.4% got more in a year than they are giving the union in 2 and they aren't even willing to give the money back.

Now if they really want to cut costs they are going to have look outside wage negotitations. They are going to have neutralize the bankable sick days and they are going to have to look at privatizing some services. That's the only way the city can balance its books. And hopefully, the city will be prepared for a tough round with the cops and the bus drivers the next time around. If it wants to cap or scale back the payroll it has to start with those two unions not the trash collectors and paper pushers.

And they really should start cutting Council budgets or at least freezing them. I would like to see Council tie their increases to a blended rate of what they give the city's employees.
 
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Dilla

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And hopefully, the city will be prepared for a tough round with the cops and the bus drivers the next time around.
Well, TO's police just have to hope that the police somewhere else in the area get a good deal next time around. *Sigh*
 

Hank

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There is no way they can ask for 0% and 1% when everyone else got 3%
I don't necessarily agree. This practice of one union's contract acting as the template for all others has to stop somewhere and garbage collectors making $25/hour is the perfect place to draw the line. If one union bases its demands on another union, which bases its demands on another union...we'll just have an inflationary spiral that leads us to things like the ridiculous clause requiring police to be the highest paid force in the area. Unions (and anyone) should be arguing for a raise based on their own merits. If you're good enough and you provide a competitive service, your employer will have to give you a raise to keep you from going elsewhere. If nobody else anywhere would dream of paying you the same money that you're ALREADY getting (much less 3% higher for three years in a row) for your job, maybe you should just be happy with what you have.

Who cares if the police, the firefighters, the politicians, some CEO somewhere, etc., got a raise? I can't go into my boss' office and ask for a raise because the police got a raise...I'm not a police officer and neither are the CUPE employees. Different jobs, different expectations, different contracts.

People can say that it's not 'fair' that CUPE isn't getting a raise when others did, but is it fair that the Toronto taxpayer is paying these people more than market wages for their work? Is it fair that a garbageman is earning $25/hour when university grads are earning less? Is it fair that senior CUPE employees get a job for life? I think we need to redefine our concepts of fairness here.
 

threnody

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Excellent point Hank. The money for these services doesn't just come out of thin air, it comes out of our pockets. The union knows very well that the garbage collectors have a plumb deal. They are clearly overcompensated for a completely unskilled workforce. As a society we should try to rewarding those who take on a skilled trade, or build their education.

The message is clear: education is for suckers. Why go through four years of university? You end up with $30,000 in debt and even a couple of years after graduation you're making less than a garbage man.
 

cdr108

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The message is clear: education is for suckers. Why go through four years of university? You end up with $30,000 in debt and even a couple of years after graduation you're making less than a garbage man.

a couple ?!?!?

$25/hr + benefits = $50K + / year

there are MANY university grads after 5 to 10 years of employment still don't earn that much money, or have the benefits they do.
 

threnody

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a couple ?!?!?

$25/hr + benefits = $50K + / year

there are MANY university grads after 5 to 10 years of employment still don't earn that much money, or have the benefits they do.
Of course you are correct. I erred on the conservative side so that it wouldn't overshadow the thrust of the argument.
 

casaguy

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I've actually noticed the parks I bike through seem to be much, much cleaner than usual.

As for the strikers...

Are they trying to insult residents further by just parking wherever the hell they want? Would it be too much of a hardship for them to park legally a few minutes away or would it just be too trying for them to walk more than ten feet from their lawn chairs to their carseats?

Poor things.

 

Eug

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I went to my temp dump site today around 10:30. The line up was very, very long. After waiting in line about 10 minutes I guessed the wait would be about an hour, so I left and brought the garbage back home. :(

For several of those minutes, there was no movement in the line at all, and the car at the front of the line was just saying there. There were picketers but I don't know if they were holding things up or of it was something else.

So, maybe I'll back nearer 7. Hopefully there will be fewer in line.
 

kolya

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I've actually noticed the parks I bike through seem to be much, much cleaner than usual.

As for the strikers...

Are they trying to insult residents further by just parking wherever the hell they want? Would it be too much of a hardship for them to park legally a few minutes away or would it just be too trying for them to walk more than ten feet from their lawn chairs to their carseats?
Looks like it's not only strikers actually. I ride in the park on the photo. And one might see that the number of strikers is actually much less then the number of cars parked on the lawn. I believe that some of these cars are owned by those contractors who now help people to drop of the garbage. But it get even worse because, as I posted in another thread, police is ignoring those cars and does nothing to them.
 

kEiThZ

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I don't necessarily agree. This practice of one union's contract acting as the template for all others has to stop somewhere and garbage collectors making $25/hour is the perfect place to draw the line. If one union bases its demands on another union, which bases its demands on another union...we'll just have an inflationary spiral that leads us to things like the ridiculous clause requiring police to be the highest paid force in the area. Unions (and anyone) should be arguing for a raise based on their own merits. If you're good enough and you provide a competitive service, your employer will have to give you a raise to keep you from going elsewhere. If nobody else anywhere would dream of paying you the same money that you're ALREADY getting (much less 3% higher for three years in a row) for your job, maybe you should just be happy with what you have.

Who cares if the police, the firefighters, the politicians, some CEO somewhere, etc., got a raise? I can't go into my boss' office and ask for a raise because the police got a raise...I'm not a police officer and neither are the CUPE employees. Different jobs, different expectations, different contracts.

People can say that it's not 'fair' that CUPE isn't getting a raise when others did, but is it fair that the Toronto taxpayer is paying these people more than market wages for their work? Is it fair that a garbageman is earning $25/hour when university grads are earning less? Is it fair that senior CUPE employees get a job for life? I think we need to redefine our concepts of fairness here.
I don't disagree with the thrust of your argument. You are right that it's not fair that a trash collector gets $25/hr (though some on here say that's apparently the bare minimum to live in Toronto) while there are many who are far more skilled and educated that make a lot less. However, as long as privatization and contracting-out is off the table than unions will not be comparing themselves to the private sector, they will be comparing themselves to other unions. If the threat of privatization was there, then we could discuss the trash collector's wage differential with non-union counterpart. However, since these guys have their jobs for life, then fairness is going to be defined by what gains they make compared to other unionized employees, whether the comparison is relevant or not.

As long as Miller not willing to wield the ultimate stick against the unions (threat of privatization), he will not get any productivity gains out of them and wage costs will definitely not be going down any time soon. If he wants to succeed he has to do what does not come naturally to his left-wing blood at all, and that's to threaten to privatize unless the unions deliver on wage costs control and productivity. And that's not just for trash collectors, but for back-office staff and transit operators too (the TTC could contract with CN/CP like GO does to operate its trains for example).

And as long as council is not even willing to make a symbolic showing by rescinding its own raise, I don't think anyone should expect a resolution. This strike is set to go for a while….unless Miller caves.
 

Mustapha

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I went to the Ingram transfer station - it's open 24 hours - Sunday night at 10pm. 10 cars in the lineup. One car a minute or so was let through. Strikers were nice - reminded everyone that recyclables are not being taken and were courteous.

Security guards present, but no police.
 

lordmandeep

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I don't disagree with the thrust of your argument. You are right that it's not fair that a trash collector gets $25/hr (though some on here say that's apparently the bare minimum to live in Toronto

my foot it is... Most city garbage collectors live in the suburbs in huge houses, not at Young and Bloor.

If your supporting a spouse who stays home and 2 young kids, have a 2000+ sq foot house and spend like a drunk sailor then it is not enough.

However is it the city's responsibility to ensure Garbage Collectors can make enough to support an entire family in a nice big house with everything??? 25 dollars an hour for a single person is way more then enough.
 

threnody

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my foot it is... Most city garbage collectors live in the suburbs in huge houses, not at Young and Bloor.

If your supporting a spouse who stays home and 2 young kids, have a 2000+ sq foot house and spend like a drunk sailor then it is not enough.

However is it the city's responsibility to ensure Garbage Collectors can make enough to support an entire family in a nice big house with everything??? 25 dollars an hour for a single person is way more then enough.
Exactly. If they want to make more than a market wage (something comparable to what contracted staff in Etobicoke receive) then it's their responsibility to enroll in training or education so they can be more than a street janitor.
 

Ahab

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Since everyone on council seems to agree that this will be a long strike, the media should canvass our elected officials to see what they are doing with their garbage. I've been storing my garbage in the garage and if this goes on past the end of summer I'll probably rent a bin and use it to get rid of not only the garbage, but also all the junk that's in the garage.

By the way, doesn't Miller live in Etobicoke? And isn't Etobicoke the only part of town that has private garbage collection?
 

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