Hey guess what I’m sick of? The fucking Toronto garbage strike! I know I am not alone, although there are some of you who valiantly defend the union and the working man and woman. This is a commendable position although I couldn’t help notice it is people who live in the suburbs (where there is no garbage strike!) who hold this position.
I’m not anti-union. Every year I pay my ACTRA dues. I tend to be very left wing, but sometimes I think unions do not have anything to do with progressive politics. Is it progressive to support the union, or is it progressive to support the environment? This was the quagmire the NDP found itself in when they supported the environmentalists at Temagami Forest years ago and then angered the union that deals with the tree cutters. That is why there is now a Green Party, which does not have a union ball and chain commitment, which can challenge the NDP.
In this case we can clearly see that the garbage strike is not good for the environment. There is an increase in vermin and possibly disease in the city. This is a health hazard! I, myself, am sick as I write this. I don’t know where the illness came from but I was downtown on Bloor St. a lot last week where garbage was strewn everywhere . As if this wasn’t enough, summer camps are now being canceled (sorry single working mothers) and there is even a possibility that Caribana will be canceled, one of the greatest revenue sources the city has in the summer – not to mention one of our best cultural events.
Are the people who are in charge of the Union aware that they are helping to cripple the economy of our city? Don’t they remember how SARS ravaged our tourism industry? We barely recovered from this when we were hit by a worldwide recession. Those that have found money to come to Toronto probably won’t come back. Would you? Are they not even remotely aware of the terrible optics of this strike while people are desperately trying to find work? Some people have pointed out that they are only asking for what they already had in a previous contract. But the previous contract was negotiated during boom times!
Our current Mayor, David Miller, is one of the most left wing mayors this city has had in recent memory. Do they really think they are going to get more out of this guy? If he gives in this is going to lead to a backlash in the next city election and we are going to end up with a right wing lunatic mayor like Mike Harris because of these garbage terrorists.
Why didn’t they strike in January? Huh? Why? I’ll tell you why. They want the city to stink. This is the leverage they are using. They are holding the city hostage just so they can bank their sick days. We’re all going to need sick days after this from the illnesses we are all going to have by the end of the summer.
My wife and I are lucky enough to have an extra freezer downstairs where we have been freezing our green bin waste but it is packed full now. What’s next? Where do we put it? Outside? In my ass? Fuck!
It’s not just garbage of course. All the city workers are on strike. The other night an older gentleman died waiting for an ambulance. EMS workers are working at 75% and this guy’s partner waited 35 minutes for an ambulance. It was too late. Now people are dying. Will someone’s death change anything? Doubtful, because this doesn’t seem to have anything to do with common sense.
When the strike first started I drove downtown because I had a court date. I tried to park in the City Hall parking lot (which by the way is owned privately) and I was met with a huge car line-up blocked by a picket line:
I waited patiently and then when it was my turn they let in someone who had just driven up. I protested and they said “He’s a police officer. Do you want to tell a police officer he can’t go in? He has to go to court!” So they were trying to get me into a conflict with a police officer. That will get me on their side! When I left the parking garage they were blocking the exit too, except they weren’t wearing anything to identify them as a picket line so it just looked like some idiots were standing in the road. I yelled at them and they yelled back that they have no choice.
This is true as well. The people who sign up for these unions don’t really have any say. They are probably just as fed up as me. It’s the union leaders and their terrible timing who are to blame. Corporations sometimes act like a sociopath without a conscience. The Toronto garbage strike is proving that unions sometimes act the same way. There is not even an end in sight.