Oct 3, 2008

More on transit strikes

I have received a couple of comments from Nick Boragina, about my post Transit strikes and settlements. I was going to make another reply to his last comment, but instead I decided to turn it into this post.

Nick, when DRT and CAW had their strike the union offer to continued to operate the Specialized Service division. The Region turned them down. Then as part of the settlement both sides wrote into the contract that Specialized Service, in the event of a future strike, would be an essential service and would continue to operate.

When we talk transit, we seem to forget that most urban transit operate a handi trans service. Not being able to get to your dialysis appointment, should be enough of a reason to declare transit an essential service. Right now, Brantford's handi trans drivers are on strike. The city council does not like it one bit. The work is contracted out and the city as very little control over the strike.

Should the Ontario Government legislate them back to work? Yes of course. The Government is supposed to interfere and take part when the safety of others is at risk. Certainly when a person can't get to their life saving treatment this should be enough of a reason.

Maybe it's time for the people of Ontario to ask why only the transit users in Toronto get special status when it comes to transit strikes. The government falls short of declaring the TTC an essential service but still the workers are forced back to work in a matter of days. This happens to no other transit service in Ontario. What gives?

Related link: The question is - essential or not?

1 comment:

nixtuff said...

I agree that there is favoritism here. Likely it's as simple as the fact that Toronto has millions of voters, and Durham has much less.

I think the point I try to make is that while I spend time trying to brainstorm solutions, the government and transit management just keep trying to think up new ways to keep everything up and the union and disgruntled workers think up new ways to take everything down. Why is there no incentive at all for both sides to sit down and agree to a fare strike?

When Ambulance drivers "strike" there is a rule that only 15% of them can be on "strike" at any time, as 85% have to be on duty to provide a safe level of service. Why is no one talking about ideas like this when it comes to transit strikes? If you took half of the buses off the road and half of the subways out of the tunnels you would make a huge impact, especially in Toronto where transit is crowded as is. At the same time you are still allowing for labour action.

My problem comes with the idea that this is all okay. That it's somehow fine for the Government, Management, Private Contractors, Union Leaders, and Union Members to just take away transit service by their action or inaction. This seems to be the only one thing they can agree on.

I apologize for taking this issue to heart but there really is little else that irks me more. First the government comes in and says your not allowed to run alternatives to transit (Toronto act) Then they make policies to make it difficult to drive so people will take transit, then they allow transit to strike. The way I see it that's like breaking into someones house, eating all their food, and telling them they should have 'locked the door'.

Something has to be done. Something has to change. I dont care what really, I dont care if it's essential, if it's that 50% strike I suggested, if it's a fare strike, I dont care, these are ideas, and so long as SOME idea finally makes a real change, I will be happy. Until then I see this as totally unfair. Primarily to the traveling public, but also to the striking workers themselves who are now going to find themselves the target of more assaults and anger and disrespect from the public. It's a cycle and it has to stop. Now.