The City can't afford a fancy contract, which got the workers all miffed, which resulted in a strike. The result is that garbage pickup hasn't taken place, city-run daycares are closed, there's no ferry service to the Toronto Island, community centers are closed, and nobody can get a building permit. Just to name a few.
So, who's to blame? Well, I do blame the unions, for starters. First of all, in case you haven't heard, there's a global recession going on, and guess what? Toronto isn't immune to it. If the City says it doesn't have money to fund fancy contract demands, then odds are that they're not playing hardball. Secondly, in the midst of said global recession where people are actually losing jobs, you'd think that these union blowholes would be a little less selfish and just be glad that they have jobs. And speaking of this pesky recession (it just keeps coming up, doesn't it?), this little strike is costing the City a whole whackload of cash in lost revenues. No ferry service to the Island means that no tourists come, and that means that all of those countless businesses on the island from ice cream vendors to bicycle rentals are hurting. Who knows - they may even have to declare bankruptcy. And what about those poor parents who have their kids in city-run daycares? Now they have to scramble to find alternative childcare arrangements for their kids. That may mean finding a nanny, which is pricey, or a non-city-run daycare. Given how near-impossible it is to find a daycare spot in Toronto by applying even one year in advance, the odds of finding a spot on short-notice are NOT good.
Oh, and there's that garbage issue. City trash cans are overflowing, so there is now garbage on the streets. Residents were encouraged to either hold onto their trash until the strike was over (HA!), or dump their trash at transfer stations. The transfer station idea sounded good, except for the fact that striking workers blocked acces to the transfer stations. One friend of mine even told me that these guys went so far as denting cars to prevent people from dumping their trash at said transfer stations. The result is that the City has turned certain parks and arenas into dumping grounds. Gross. This, of course, is hurting tourism. If I were a tourist, I wouldn't want to go to a city where the streets are strewn with garbage.
Now, as much as I hate the CUPE unions involved in this strike for what they are doing to the city, I'm also mad at our government for standing idly by, letting the unions get away with this. Our illustrious Premier, Dalton McGuinty thinks we're perfectly okay to wait this out and acts as if our only problem is storing garbage in our garages for a bit longer. As a result, it appears that nobody in the provincial government will help. The provincial Tories don't want to introduce back-to-work legislation because it would allegedly be seen as a win for the unions. The NDP won't get off their arses becaus they are union-lovers (alas, their one big shortcoming). And the Liberals have made it pretty clear that they won't help per McGuinty's ignorant comment. Uh, Dalton, it'd not JUST the garbage, remember?
Mayor Miller doesn't seem to want to force the provincial government's hand either. He even went so far as to go on CNN to tell the Americans that Toronto is still a great tourist spot in spite of the strike. How about using that energy to put an end to the strike rather than to beg the Americans to visit our trash-laden city?
It's high time for the government to get off their asses and do their damned jobs. In my opinion, these union guys should all be fired and their jobs should be given to non-union workers who would be more than happy to have steady income in these tough economic times. When I'm unhappy with my job, I don't just walk off. I'd get fire for that. Why are these guys given special protections that white-collar workers don't get?
I just hope that this strike ends sooner rather than later, and that we don't end up like Windsor. Their City workers been on stike for a couple of months now, with no end in sight. What a lovely thought.
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