gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for January 2009

25% of the ATU 279 voted to accept the offer

January 09, 2009 @ 00:36 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, Transit strike

According to the Amalgamated Transit Union’s transit strike website, 2045 members vote of which 75% voted not to accept the City’s offer. This means that 25% of the union members voted to accept the offer.

To the 25% I say a very sincere “Thank you”. You obviously are able to think for yourself rather than follow Andre Cornellier like sheep.

Also on their website is a YouTube video of their “victory party” entitled “2000 souls”. Frankly, I find the video disgusting and I can’t help but wonder what the 25% think of it.


They’ve also got this high contrast red and black graphic which lists the number of voters, the proportion that voted “no” and includes the phrase “No  means No” underneath a ballot box with a X in it. I find this very ironic because I came up with my own high contrast red and black graphic about two weeks ago which I’ve been resisting the urge to use in a blog entry. Until now, that is. 😉

I’m think of having pins made up with my graphic on it and selling them for a buck or two. Would you buy one?

So, back to the main issue: They have voted to not accept the offer. Presumably they’re going to continue to protest, though the smartest thing they could do is return to work as a gesture of good faith while the negotiators continue to try to hammer down a contract. However, based on their victory video and what I’ve seen of Andre Cornellier in interviews on television, the only gesture Cornellier knows involves the middle finger of his hand.

Hopefully, the City negotiators will not capitulate to the union as a result of this vote. In essence, nothing has really changed other than Cornellier gets to say “I told you so” and act smug.

Also, the Canadian Industrial Relations Board is soliciting input from members of the public with how they’ve been affected by the strike. The deadline for submissions is 5:00pm Friday, January 9th, so if you’re planning on sending something in you better do it immediately.

Here’s an excerpt from the CIRB website:

Section 87.4(1) of the Canada Labour Code provides that: "During a strike or lockout not prohibited by this Part, the employer, the trade union and the employees in the bargaining unit must continue the supply of services, operation of facilities or production of goods to the extent necessary to prevent an immediate and serious danger to the safety or health of the public."

Keeping this criterion in mind, members of the public have an opportunity to provide a written explanation as to why they think this obligation is or is not being met during the current work stoppage involving the City of Ottawa (OC Transpo) and the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 279.

Submissions must provide specific details in support of the statements being made and must be limited to the issue raised in this notice. They must also include the name and contact information of the person making the submission. Please note that all submissions received will be transmitted to the employer and the trade union for their review and comment.

Submissions may be sent to the Canada Industrial Relations Board as follows:

  • by email at octranspo-atu@cirb-ccri.gc.ca
  • by fax at 613-941-4461
  • by regular mail or by hand at the following address:

Canada Industrial Relations Board, Regional Director
C.D. Howe Building, 4th Floor West, 240 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0X8

If the CIRB determine that the strike is having too much of an impact or causing extreme hardships for certain groups, they might force the union to return to work while the negotiations continue.

ATU 279 votes

January 08, 2009 @ 11:30 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, Meta, Seen on the 'net, Transit strike

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last few weeks, you know that Local 279 of the Amalgamated Transit Union is on strike. Today, they union is being forced to take the last offer from the City to the members for a vote. The union executive is strongly encouraging its members to vote “no”, meaning the strike will continue, even though the majority of citizens in Ottawa are prepared to freeze them out.

Most of the bloggers I know are encouraging the union members to vote “yes” for what is generally felt by everyone except the union executive to be a fair offer. Here’s a quick round up of what they’re writing:

And, of course I’ve written an entry encouraging people to not demonstrate outside where the union members are voting.

All there is to do at this point is wait and hope that the union members are clearer thinkers than their union boss.

*** If you’re looking for the results, I wrote about them here.

Why demonstrating at the ATU 279 vote at Lansdowne Park is a bad idea

January 08, 2009 @ 07:57 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, Transit strike

There have been suggestions that people should show up at Lansdowne Park today to demonstrate outside where the ATU 279 members are voting on the latest offer from the city. At least one Facebook group has been set up and I’ve seen entries on other blogs to this effect. While at first glance this sounds like a good idea, I actually think it’s a very bad idea.

Right now, the union members are being encouraged by their executive to vote “no” on the City’s offer. Cornellier said at one point that the mandatory vote was bad because it would split the union over an issue that only affects a relatively small number of union members. One way to interpret this is that Cornellier suspects that he does not enjoy the near unanimous support of his membership on this issue he’s been saying he has and that he fears a majority might actually like the City’s offer, which would be a good thing for most people except for Cornellier and the ATU 279 executive.

Demonstrating outside Lansdowne Park might make some of the members who are prepared to vote to accept the offer change their minds out of spite, particularly if they feel intimidated/harassed/threatened by the demonstrators.

So, if you’re thinking of showing up at Lansdowne Park to express your feelings on the strike to the union members heading in to vote, please reconsider. This vote is going to be a difficult decision for some union members who are being pressured by their peers to vote “no” when they want to vote “yes” – we don’t want to change their minds on this issue and cause them to vote “no”.

Mr. Pot meet Mr. Kettle

January 08, 2009 @ 06:03 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, Transit strike

It appears Andre Cornellier doesn’t like Lowell Green. (To be fair, he’s probably not alone in this.)

In a press release on the ATU 279 website, the union announced that it has filed a complaint with the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council over “the appropriateness of comments made by CFRA talk radio host Lowell Green”.

It seems that Green encouraged his listeners to picket the OC Transpo Annual Christmas Party. The union alleges that “Mr. Green made no effort to discourage the many callers who promoted violence against the members of the Union attending the Christmas Party”.

The final paragraph of their press release reads:

By making the public comments that he did, the Union alleges that Mr. Green has violated a number of sections of the CAB Code of Ethics. Both Mr. Green and CFRA have been found to have failed to meet the requirements of the Code of Ethics in the past for the very same reasons that have led the Union to file this complaint.

I wrote about people threatening Cornellier a couple of weeks ago and at the time said that such threats were crossing the line of acceptable behaviour and that people who made them should be charged, convicted and do some jail time. I stand by that statement.

However, simply encouraging people to picket the union’s Christmas party is really no more inappropriate than the union encouraging all of its members to picket the junior hockey games, which is what Cornellier was doing before the City obtained an injunction against the union. Cornellier should accept the fact that his union is not exactly the most popular group of people in town and not be surprised when people use some of the same tactics he’s employing against him.

Still, violence against either the drivers or the riders is not acceptable and shouldn’t be tolerated, regardless of one’s feelings concerning the other side’s position.

A tip o’ the hat to Public Transit in Ottawa for writing about this.

When the signs say “caution – roads may be slippery” they really mean it

January 08, 2009 @ 01:22 By: gordon Category: General, Out and about, Photography

IMG00068-enh I drove Brian home to Kanata this evening after our weekly gaming session. While driving along the 417 westbound near Maitland we watched a car in the eastbound lanes go zipping off the road, hit the snow bank and flip over into the ditch. I immediately called 911 who transferred me to the OPP. While reporting the location, we got off at Maitland and got back on heading east. We arrived on scene to find the driver standing near his car along with a couple of Bylaw Enforcement officers who happened to be passing by.

Fortunately, the driver was just a little shaken up and not actually hurt so he must have been wearing his seatbelt. The skid marks were still visible and showed that his trip into the snow bank probably started from the left lane. Talk about a lucky guy!

Once I confirmed to the dispatcher he was uninjured, I set up some road flares to alert on coming drivers. An OPP officer arrived just as I finished lighting the last flare and a tow truck appeared a few seconds later. The OPP officer released us from the scene and we resumed our journey to Kanata and I’m happy to report that was uneventful. I snapped a picture of the upside down car before we left.

On my way home from Kanata, I came across another car in a snow bank on the other side of the median. Fortunately, this one appeared to be just sitting on top of the snow bank. As another car was stopped nearby and there didn’t appear to be anyone looking injured, I called *OPP (*677) to make sure they were aware of it rather than calling 911.

While most people on the 417 were travelling around 80 km/h, there were a few who insisted on driving along at 100 km/h or faster as though the roads were bare and dry rather than partially snow covered and slippery. Hopefully, they arrived safely at their destinations and not upside down in a snow bank.

Union support at fourteen percent

January 07, 2009 @ 07:30 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, Statistics, Transit strike

fourteen-percent The mayor released the results of a survey conducted by Harris/Decima that asked city residents about the transit strike on his blog Tuesday. There’s a fair bit of detail in the results, so I thought I’d highlight a few numbers.

Overall, 63% moderately or strongly support the City while only 14% moderately or strongly support the Union. (Eighteen percent of people support both equally.)

While 14% of people have sided with the union, only 8% of people are satisfied with with way the union has handled the negotiations, compared to 36% who are satisfied with the city’s behaviour. Most people think the city is “being fair and reasonable with the transit union in its approach to the issues”.

It gets more interesting… (more…)

2008: The year in review

January 02, 2009 @ 11:29 By: gordon Category: General, Meta, Travelling

2008 was a year of highs and lows (though I guess that can be said about most years) – fortunately there weren’t many lows.

It included my Granddad’s 100th birthday party, curling, a ridiculous amount of snow, a trip to San Antonio, a trip to Greece, dealing with water damage in my apartment caused by a leaky air conditioner, dragonboating, playing Ultimate, going climbing in the Gatineau Hills for the first time after years of climbing in rock gyms, a trip to Quebec City, meeting some of the Harlem Globetrotters (Curly and Buckets) while playing bells at the A-Channel and some geocaching (though not as much as I’d have liked).