Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"Essential Service"??? Maybe it is that, but we'd be better off not to acknowledge it....

So, there are calls afoot throughout Toronto to have the TTC declared an "essential service" and limit the workers right to strike.

"Hell no", says I. "HELL NO!"

However, I disagree with the idea of making them an "essential service" for very different reasons from so many bloggers who are opposed.

I don't think we can afford it.

History shows that in most arbitrated settlements the union ends up getting MORE than they would have received through regular negotiations. Often, even more than they'd get if they'd gone on strike.

I'm with Andrew Coyne and the National Post on this one.

Some of my favourite quotes:

Coyne: "It won’t put an end to strikes, for starters: making strikes illegal, at least in this country, only brings on illegal strikes. The transit workers’ last walkout was illegal, as was the last teachers’ strike".

NP: "When Toronto's largest union went on strike in the summer of 2002, the city was trying to roll back concessions made in 1999 that promised a job for life to city staff who had more than 10 years on the job -- a majority of the work force. That provision made it impossible to save money by contracting out services and laying off high-priced union workers. Soon after the province sent workers back to the job and appointed an arbitrator, the arbitrator called a press conference, scolded Toronto officials for not "buying into improved [labour] relations," and by November had awarded the union almost everything it was demanding".

Coyne: "But even if [making the TTC an "essential service"] did achieve the goal of ending service disruptions, all that would ensure was uninterrupted TTC service: slow, infrequent, obstructive and unpleasant".

I've got to say, I've thought about it and I now firmly oppose making the TTC an "essential service". We can't afford it, and if we ever do it we'll be giving up hope until the end of time of ever fixing public transit in the big smoke.

Nope. Keep the status quo. It's the only way we'll ever change things.

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