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Lockout silence is golden

Sheesh. Try and take a couple of weeks off and the wheels fall off Guelphtown. When I left for holidays on a Saturday, the city announced it was locking out our transit workers. By the Monday, a tentative agreement had been reached. There was happiness in the land.
A week later, the lockout was back on again. Note to self, why am I fretting about it when on holidays? After all, the conflict will likely be waiting for me upon my return. It was.
I am not a fan of this management/union stand-off stuff.  It’s a mug’s game. I have been part of similar negotiations. Usually it turns into a stupid game of who blinks first.
There’s a he says/she says tone to these contract disputes.  While both sides use the media to bargain for public sympathy, transit users are left stranded. My view is both parties are right and both parties are wrong, sandwiched by their rhetoric. Being the conciliatory type, I believe the truth is somewhere in the middle.
Transit workers bleat about how tough they’ve got it. I’m sorry, but all things considered their overall lot in life is pretty good compared with many. As for the city, there seems to be almost righteous indignation that transit workers rejected its offer. Again, it’s all part of the macho posturing that often is part of collective bargaining.
The city says it imposed the lockout for fear the union would go out on strike during the busy month of September.  Go figure, the union is mum on this matter, yet opines a resolution isn’t likely until after next October’s municipal election.
Thankfully there is now a news blackout, which should lessen the white noise.
Meanwhile, city hall is in a no-win situation when it comes to this matter. Meet union demands and be seen as kowtowing to the union and selling the farm. Dig in, as the city has with its lockout, and city negotiators are called bullies and worse. No matter the outcome, perception is the reality in this day and age of strong union and anti-union forces.
It’s turned into an us-versus-them scenario where transit users seem to be all but forgotten. If both sides just sawed their positions halfway, there would likely be a reasonable resolution. That’s what I hope happens this week, rather than getting into a silly staring contest to see who blinks first.   cclark@guelphtribune.ca

One Response to “Lockout silence is golden”

  1. rbritton says:

    Mr. Clark, At no time during this incredibly frustrating turn of events has the union been ” mum” about anything. Members authorized to speak to the press regarding the unions position in all of this have been exhaustively interviewed by the media and then had their comments shortened and/or completely taken out of context to provide what could be perceived as sensationalistic journalism specifically designed to pacify the staff in charge of handing out the advertising contracts for the city. If that does not happen then the interview is just not printed at all. It is incredibly frustrating to have hundreds, yes hundreds of people per day express their support for our struggle to maintain basic human rights and dignity and then have story after story printed about “The evil union”. It would certainly be a refreshing change to have just one paper in this city willing to print both sides of a story, unedited and unbiased and let the people really affected by this debacle decide where they stand.
    Your comment about “Bleating” is a good example of what I am saying. You asked me why, I told you. Why then does the media have to add personal comments which in the context of this story serve no other purpose than to inflame a readers negative emotional response.
    You’re correct. My lot in life is good. I have an awesome job that provides me the opportunity to meet many interesting people on a daily basis. Many of my customers know me by name and I look forward to seeing each of them every day. I have no problem, as have many generations of both my family and my co-workers, with going the extra mile to help someone out. That is probably the most gratifying part of my job. If you consider standing up for the right to preserve my dignity, respect and the benefits which have been gained over years of mutual negotiations between the city and the ATU to be “bleating” then so be it. But I would suggest that in all fairness this is your personal opinion, not based in any fact and has no real relevance to the story or the successful conclusion of this conflict.
    It is a sad situation when a whole city can be held hostage by an elected council based solely on their fears about what may have taken place and no regard is given to the patience and willingness by the people actually performing the service to continue working as long as fair negotiations were ongoing.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

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