Wednesday 9 December 2009

London, Ontario Transit Strike

I am shocked to hear yet more of this transit strike in the South Ontario town of London, Ontario.

First, the background info:
London is a small city, with a population of 352,395 people. Greater Toronto has a population of 5.5 million, and Ontario a population of over 12 million people (StatCan, 2006).

London has a bus transportation system, necessary for many to get to work, both paid and volunteer, and university (UWO, and Fanshawe College). There has been much whining and whinging on CBC, with folks directly affected by the strike being featured on interviews.

Not that I begrudge this, much, but Central Ontario has no local transit, and many of our feeble, and housebound folks depend on the kindness of family, friends and volunteers (e.g., Cancer Society) to deliver those in need to health care professionals.

The strike, begun Nov. 16, 2009. "ATU-741 represents 450 bus drivers, maintenance workers and support staff, and the strike has effectively paralyzed London’s public transit system.", LINCHPIN reports. Now, we read: "We regret to advise that ATU Local 741 members have turned down the [London Transit] Commission's final offer as tabled on Friday, December 5, 2009."

Things are heating up. The offer of $25 per hour, has been refused by ATU Local 741
Issues of concern: regularly scheduled lunch breaks, a 12 per cent wage increase over three years and improvements to dental and short-term disability benefits. One retired bus driver quotes the original demands of 20% increase. How excessive, with inflation running at 0%!

Now, to my mind, in this current economic climate, parity with regional municipalities ought not to be a concern at this point in time. In the past few years, unions have been off on rather interesting bents, while neighbours, and local business owners experience job losses.  ATU Local 1724, in B.C., has been on strike since October 29, 2009 because the employer MV Transportation is attempting to eliminate their pension plan and erode health benefits.

"Ontario's manufacturing sector hardest hit by recession ... "

and, "Pointing to report statistics – in the last two years London has lost 18 per cent of its manufacturing job base, more than 7,200 jobs have left the region – OFL President Wayne Samuelson pulled no punches pointing the finger at both the Stephen Harper Conservative Government and the federal Liberal Party." from

Sure, blame the Feds, but when and where does the buck stop? This is an World-wide issue, and Canadians are going to become more aggrieved as this kind of behaviour continues.

Union leaders have to get a grip! How can they face their family, friends and neighbours they meet in the bank or grocery store queue, as they continue to benefit (click on the PDF image for more info)  from their sick leave benefits, guaranteed pensions, long-term disability benefits, dental coverage, and wage increases from $23.08 to $25.23 per hour. Not that all those in unions haven't had such benefits, but times they are a-changing. Talk to those who have lost their jobs. Online comments in the Lond papers are beginning to change their tone!

This morning, CBC radio - our 'regional' news comes from Toronto, with news from London,  featured
a shocking interview with London's mayor, Anne Marie DeCicco, who has been threatened by the ATU Union Boss, was told that "If Anne Marie hears footsteps behind her, it could be us!"

This has gone way too far. This is a threat to her personal safety, and gives all unions a bad name. Taxpayers in London ought to rise up in arms, those who have incomes left to tax. I would have him charged by the police ASAP, and demand his resignation.

No comments: