Personal Finance

Toronto Garbage Strike – What Do You Think?


[edit July 30 –  Toronto garbage strike over?  Dave Miller cave-in]

As anyone who lives in Toronto knows – the City of Toronto outside worker are on strike, which of course means…no garbage pickup.  This may seem like a big deal but the city has set up some temporary garbage dropoffs so you can still get rid of your garbage fairly easily.  The union that is on strike does cover some other functions such as day care, wading pools and a few other things but the garbage issue is the most visible.

My family has quite a bit of garbage accumulated since we forgot to put our garbage out 2 weeks ago which of course was the last pickup before the strike.  I wanted to get rid of it asap but I had heard some horror stories of union shenanigans at the Bermondsey transfer station last week so I was worried that the pickets would be out of control at the temp sites as well.  However, I heard from one of my favourite readers Guiness416 that she went to the Ted Reeves station on Saturday and had no problem and no wait.

Yesterday, my son and I went to Ted Reeves to get rid of several bags of garbage and it was awesome – no waits, no pickets, no problems.  In fact I dare say that it was easier than having to get all my garbage ready for garbage day which isn’t always all that convenient.

A few thoughts:



The dump didn’t smell too bad, but you could detect it from fairly far away – I feel sorry for the people who live across from the dump since they will probably suffer for the length of the strike.


Where were the picketers?  It would piss me off to no end to have to wait for picketers at a site where they don’t normally work but if you are going to go on strike…you have to do the dirty work.  They should have been there.

Union II

I’ve been reading all the newspaper articles about the strike and I can’t figure out exactly what the issues are – apparently the bankable sick days are the main issue (you can cash in unused sick days when you retire).  This is similar to the UAW “job bank” scam – you really have to wonder who the heck first agreed to such a stupid idea.

I can’t imagine a reasonable union leadership wanting to strike over that one issue – yes, something is being taken from you but it’s such a thick piece of icing on the cake that I would have thought the union would just sheepishly give it up – almost embarrassed that they were ever recipients of such a silly plan.   I’ve talked to a couple of picketers over the past week and unfortunately all I could get from them was that the city was trying to “cut their benefits in half”.  Fair enough, I don’t expect every picketer to know every detail of the latest offer but unfortunately they didn’t have a clue.  They also weren’t very interested in talking about it (to me at least).

What’s the deal?

Does anyone out there have any inside scoop to this strike?  Are you in the union or management?  I want to hear your opinion.  For everyone else – are you annoyed about the strike?  Should they all be fired and just privatize?

86 replies on “Toronto Garbage Strike – What Do You Think?”

Wow, leave a thread for a few days and it goes berserk 🙂

@Mike: Between you and @DZ, you’ve hit on another fundamental organization flaw. It goes hand-in-hand with the Unionization issue, it’s the taxation structure.

The Canadian structure currently pays primarily into the top level, the Federal level. So you’ll pay 35% into the federal level, 10% into the provincial and just property taxes into the municipal (city) level. The Fed transfers money back out to the provinces and municipalities (yeah, I’m sure you know this, but context for those on the outside).

Of course, the provinces are responsible for two giant, highly visible expenses: Healthcre & Education. So they generally get the money they need. The municipalities are generally cut short and the Fed consistently has the highest paid staff of the 3 levels (go figure).

Of course, the big problem here is that the Fed-level both collects and doles out most of the money. So in classic warlord fashion, the provinces get slices and the municipalities fight for the crumbs. In (mild) defense of the city workers, imagine what it feels like to make 15% less as a city engineer than as a provincial engineer. Same job, two buildings over and there is nothing (legal) that you can ever do to supplant that other person.

So at some level municipal workers naturally feel like they’re being underpaid b/c their other government workers are all making more. Of course, the municipal workers are making more than the average private workers, but we all know that’s not what people normally look at.

But back to the original point. The whole problem stems from the fact that we don’t actually pay taxes to the people who use them. Canada has this very screwy, non-transparent method for taxation and spending of tax dollars.

Basically every municipality and province is dependent on government transfers, but the process for this isn’t transparent. Though there may be a good reason for some level of Federal transfer payments or even inter-provincial “support payments”, it’s not really clear why all of this is done, or even what these transfers are costing us. Heck, b/c of the transfers, it’s not even clear how much money any province/municipality actually has.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still think that we should get rid of the unions. But if you’re a union worker who figures that TO has a giant pot of money to work with then you can justify the strike. And, as above, there is definitely some basis for the illusion that TO has a giant pot of money.

Frankly the various Canadian government(s) don’t really have much money. They’re barely breaking even and still operating a significant debt. And they have a heavily taxed population that drops between 40 to 60% of its income into taxes (think Federal, Provincial, Property, Gas, Cigs/Alcohol, GST/PST/HST). It’s not like the government can hike taxes another 5%. If anything, the fight is going the other way (which probably means lower government wages).

@DZ: Add a 10 year contribution freeze, maternity leaves, etc. And we don?t go into retirement as well off as some think.
Yeah, that’s OK, I honestly want you guys to work after retirement. No, I mean it.

I have some family in the teaching profession. One retired a few years back (at age 55), after 30 years of teaching. I’m OK with the fact that his pension won’t cover his retirement. He’s going to live another 30 years, I don’t see why as a society should convert 30 years of work into 60 of living (85 with education).

@Gates VP:
Well done! That was an excellent overview of how our taxation system works. I hope people read it closely. Restructuring how Canada?s tax system works is the fight we all should al take part in. You make very good argument to bringing back the ?City State? system of government of times long forgotten.

Wow, that was an earful. And I take offense to many of your claims, only because that?s who I am; someone who really cares about the state our societies are in.

I often wonder why so many feel fire and police deserve more respect than social workers, public health workers, etc. who walk alone and conduct in- home interviews every day in parts of this city most of you won?t even drive near. At least the police have uniforms to identify them as such as well as a gun and a baton. Oh, and they work in pairs, not alone.
We go to the same places they go; without guns, no mace, and no means of self protection and no partner for back up or call for help when needed. And the majority of us are female, good luck if we have to physically defend ourselves.

To everyone, the reality of the past 25 years or more is that Cupe 79 has blocked numerous strikes from happening. The City workers do not have a history of resorting to strikes and in order to do that we have for decades accepted less than 2% increases per year. (a 5% contract increase about actually translates to 2.5 % per year if it is a 2 year contract) All because we knew the City had difficulties.

Yet, by the comments out there, apparently we are frequently striking. I must have been asleep for all of those strikes. I don?t consider 2 full out strikes (a 3rd was for less than 1 day) as a definition of ?always?. During the recessions of the 80?s and 90?s we did not strike and accepted contracts with very low increases (even under 2 % per year) and focused on other non-monetary issues instead.

And yet no one seems to notice that both these strikes are all occurring after the Province of Ontario (read Mike Harris) virtually bankrupted every municipality in Ontario by downloading 100% of the costs to the municipalities. Yet, everyone today is blaming their mayors instead of talking about the real reason our municipalities are in such a financial crunch. Do you ever stop to think that maybe municipal employees in Windsor and Toronto are simply pawns in the fight between City government and the Province? We are their last resort to hope to get the Province and the Feds to realise what they are doing to our municipalities and our citizens.

Just ask the previous Federal Liberals where our money for improved daycare resources never came until just prior to their last election and then ask the current Federal Conservatives why they ripped that funding back out from under us causing the city to programs we had already started implementing.

All the negotiations and campaigns to get more municipal funding out of the Federal and Provincial pockets has not worked for our municipal leaders so now they are left to use the public and City staff us to get attention and hope the citizens of Ontario start to support the municipalities in their fight to get more money to run and create better city services. (And I don?t mean pay for staff) Yet, instead everyone is blaming the mayors, councils and all of Ontario?s municipal leaders, and of course the unions, for the financial crisis municipalities are in caused by the 2 upper levels of government.

Put the blame where it really lies; with the Province and the Feds and the grossly inadequate funding for our municipalities. And do your civic duty and join your municipal leaders in their fight for better cities. Maybe then the municipalities can provide the better service that you want and scream for and we as municipal employees want to provide.

Stop complaining about your taxes and get out there and make the Feds and the Province give cities their fair share of the tax revenue only they get to collect. Then maybe we can create better services for everyone. Why is it that when the 2 upper levels of governments want to cut services it is always those services that citizens need the most; more daycare spaces and subsidy, decent health care, affordable housing, beds for our mentally ill; decent homes for the aged, affordable tuition for our students, better schools, etc.

It is always societies? basic needs that are cut from budgets first. Yet our corporations get all types of aid and we rarely know about it.

And no I do not want to be on strike, I hate it, but that?s the way the vote turned out. It?s called democracy. Approx. 2000 voters spoke for the other approx. 18,000 that could not attend the vote for whatever reason. Some had to work that day, were out of town, had families to take care of, couldn?t get a babysitter on a Sunday, couldn?t get to the isolated voting location, etc.

By the way, pools, school,parks programs, etc. were being cut long before this strike was even a blip on the radar.
In fact it has been going on for over 2 decades now. I have spent 25 years watching municipal, provincial and federal services being cut at the expense of the public that needs it.
What do governments gain from these cuts to public services and why do we as citizens accept these actions?

DZ, thanks for your comments, as it’s literally the first account I’ve heard from someone actually in the union. I do want to thank you and the other social workers out there; I have a lot of friends in social work, I know you do a really tough job, and I wish you were better appreciated for it.

I have to point out,though, that you’re casting private employment in a really positive light that doesn’t mesh with my (or many people’s) experience working in it. Every employer I’ve ever worked for expires both sick and vacation days at the end of the year, and I’m willing to bet a lot of people who do the same jobs as you, except non-unionized, don’t get nearly the pay or benefits as you. If the terms of our employment change, we either suck it up, or quit. What we don’t do is refuse to work, and then picket and yell at the people who are trying to fix a problem we created by refusing to work in the first place. If 90% of you voted for this strike, how could you not realize that when garbage pickup stops in the middle of the summer, people will start complaining? Maybe you social workers should get your own union!

Brendan, I read your few posts and although you put forth a valid argument, you have to appreciate that for every argument, there’s a counter-argument. You have not addressed Victor’s comment and you keep bringing up the issue of “choice” and advocating it. Well, if the issue is advocacy of “choice”, then I should be given the “choice” to have my garabge permanantly picked-up by a private contractor who can do it weekly and charge me $5 for the pick-up as opposed to being stuck with the combination of union and management who MUST pick-up the garabge bi-weekly and charge me $15 per pick-up.

I can assure you that the least business proficient individuals in Toronto can opearte a garbage collection company and even at $10 (for that size of a bin) be a millionaire in 2 years. So, the “choice” goes both ways, not just saying if you thinkg they get paid too much go become a garbage man.

Public service is not easy; and I believe compensation should be reflective of this.

But I agree with Dave. The carry-over and payout of sick days is not the norm. And if this is the issue that the union is stuck on, then I recommend they do their research on this one. This is not an issue that the public will support them on. And overall, taxpayers are going to wonder why they have to support this benefit that they themselves don’t receive in their own equally demanding and stressful jobs.

Garbage, garbage, garbage.. I wonder at what point those who are unaffected are going to realize that this strike is about more than garbage. The issue of chilcare and summer programs goes unmentioned, because the unions and city might have to admit the truth : THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT OUR CHILDREN

It is truly disgusting.

Thanks for the recognition. I have a correction to make. The 90% represents only the percentage of the 2000 employees who voted; 79 has 24,000 members.
So, less than 10% of the City?s employees decided the fate for the rest of us. Voter turnout was really low; there was only 1 place to vote and that was in Scarborough, not at a central location all could get to. And to top it off; on a Sunday when there is reduced TTC service.
Voting is only permitted as ?in person?, with no provisions for proxy votes, etc. And this made it very difficult for us to actually have a true representation of our opinions/beliefs.

I see the Saturday Sun reported that says we will get $8500.00 pay out for the sick bank. That?s only you have never depleted your sick bank. So that report is very misleading to the public. Not all employees had a sick bank in their contract and certainly not everyone has never used up any of their sick days.
I myself won?t receive a dime of it as I depleted my bank a few years ago as income when I became seriously ill and used my sick days as they were meant for; in lieu of a short term disability plan. That?s what they were initially meant to provide for.
I never have understood why we get to cash a portion of them in when we retire. But then again contract negotiations are kept secret even from the members.

It will be very interesting to see what occurs now that Miller went public with the City?s offer. It may give a voice now to those of us who didn?t want this strike.

I am totally disgusted and ashamed by the reports of picketers slowing down the public and all the other nonsense that they are pulling off.

Keep in mind that there are TWO unions involved and one doesn?t speak nor act for the other. They are both two very different unions. Local 79, after amalgamation, refused to join with the new 416 (used to be local 43 and very militant and adversarial) union to create one union for the City. Other locals from the old Etob, North York, etc. municipalities elected to amalgamate into the 416 union. 79 stayed separate.

Re: privatizing services.
yes, that may make you life better, but what about those who cannot afford to pay for private pickup? With the poverty rates in TO, some things just have to belft to the government to run.

Also regarding garbage being biweekly, etc. Do people not realize that this reduced frequency is in order to encourage citizens to reduce their garbage output by making use of recycling, green binning, etc?

A friend of mine from Hamilton was dscribing their system and how well it actually reduces the output into landfills. This is something TO really must embrace. Think of how little vacant real estate there is in TO and then try to think where can TO build new landfills. For decades TO has had headaches trying to deal with the enormous amount of garbage going to landfills.

The enviros want the incinerators shut down, no one wants landfills near them (NIMBYs), so what is a city to do? We MUST as a population reduce our production of waste. That’s the only answer to the garbage woos.
Start by excessive leaving the packaging from the products you buy at the store. Maybe then they will start complaining to their manufacturers to reduce this excessive waste. Do I really need the things I buy to be both wrapped in pastic then placed into bozes as well?

Yet, we are not complaining must about stores charging us for cheap plastic grocery bags. Yet if the product was in minimal packaging we wouldn’t need so many bags to begin with.

When I lived in Calgary in the 80’s we had recycling depots that ce could take our botles and cans to and actually receive payment based on weight of our drop off. It was VERY popular.

Lucky I am! I live out of Toronto.
-What do I think about the garbage strike? The group of selfish people use (or abuse) the fact of they monopoly on some service and push all buttons to get what they want.
-Do these people cane about other Torontonians? No, they don?t care about more then inconvenient situation they created
-Are the strikers reasonable? No, they already have very exceptional privileges (above average salary, full pack of benefits and the exclusive right to get double pay for number of regular work days when wasn?t sick)
-What should be done by City hall now? Unfortunately City lost too much time and now they have to satisfy some or most of strikers? requests despite of lack of common sense and additional cost for taxpayers.
-What should be done by City hall to prevent such stories in the future? To sell the Toronto garbage cleaning service at some private business (businesses) .
-About most Torontonians: Most of them work hard and don?t have same high hourly rates and wonderful benefits, like people who turned Toronto from dutiful city into ?big garbage dump?. Torontonians pay taxes to cover city programs, including garbage removal but instead of good service, they have a bad smell of the strikers? selfishness and the useless of City government.

@Laura and all who would prefer privatized garbage collection:

The reality of privatized/contracted out garbage service is that it ends up costing more than if municipalities run it themselves. And that?s not just in monetary costs.

Governments use a tender system in their selection process. This means ?Low Man? gets the contract. Well I order to ensure your company is the ?low man? you have to undercut the quote of all other competitors. One way to do this is to under represent the actual cost of the job and charge the actual cost to the government after the job is done. This can cost municipalities far more than was budgeted in the initial process. Everyday businesses and governments incur these added costs al the time. It?s no secret, it?s just part of doing business due to the nature of competition.

Then there is the safety of our environment to consider. When governments run the garbage system strict adherence to local and provincial environmental laws must be adhered to. Government has always been held more accountable to this than private industry. How many times have you hear of a municipality being charged fines for breaking environmental laws compared to how many reports there are of private industries being charged?

In other words, some businesses cost wherever they can in order to make a profit. Of course not all businesses are culprits, but we all know there are some not so savoury businesses out there. Are you willing to take that risk? Just reflect a minute about the reputation New Jersey has as the cesspool of North America; all caused by the illegal dumping by the privatised garbage industry. Do we want to risk turning Toronto into that? Even worse, all of Ontario, as it will be outside of Toronto that receives the lion?s share of the illegal dumping just as New York City did to New Jersey for decades.

I really love swimming in our lakes here in Ontario. I grew up in the 60?s camping in New Jersey; you wouldn?t catch me anywhere near their parks and water now.

The real answer here is to firstly, stop producing so much waste and secondly, find better ways to ensure everyone recycles and composts and lastly, ensure safe and better management of our necessary waste.

I just know that I paid for the service of getting the garbage picked-up and instead I have been taking it myself to these drop-off stations. I am not in a position to judge, whom should be blamed, but there have to be consequences for the situation the city of Toronto and the union has put constituents into. I bet every resident in the city of Toronto will have a consequence for not paying their property taxes on time. The system is not doing us a favor for picking up the garbage every other week; we are paying for this service. We are the ones responsible for replacing our politicians either voting and/or protesting on the streets peacefully. Bad publicity, it’s a politician worse nightmare.

I would like to know who pays for the enviro-damage done by the city spraying the parks with pesticides. WE DO, OUR CHILDREN DO, NATURE DOES… ten fold!! The politicians that decided spraying would be a “good idea” should be personally responsible for the clean-up including ground water seepage. The parks I help pay to keep open and clean so the children have a safe place to play are now filled with garbage, not children’ s laughter. Instead the kids have to play in the streets, while we are still paying for the parks. What advice can I give the children when they want to visit the park… Don’t PLAY WITH THE RATS, don’t make TRASH CASTLES, don’t bring home any pets? Our local government is costing us much more than their saving us. What of the people in this city who have no means of removing their trash, should they take it on the bus, taxi perhaps??? What kind of a rebate can I expect on my PAID for, trash pickup and associated services… $0.00!! WHO’S FAULT IS THIS STRIKE? The people we put into the cushy positions, to safeguard our health and well being. Most of them don’t even live here and the rest don’t give a dam! This whole situation STINKS to high heaven. Lastman is correct, this should have been history already!!!

It’s obvious to any outsider that the police are in colusion with the picketers. One union member washes the other union members back. The arrogance of these unskilled, selfish self-serving goons is simply amazing. Does no one in Toronto have the guts to face them down when they are abrogating your rights? The names and adresses of each and every member of the union need to be made public. That way we can all go talk for 15 minutes with them to explain our positions at our convenience, not theirs. And leave them some nicely wrapped presents at the same time.

I heard a radio ad by cupe. It went roughly like this “Joe worker has been working very hard for the city for 30 years. He started his work life as temporary so has only 15 years of pension. He expected to retire poor, but was counting on his sick time pay out. Now the city wants to take it away from him. And that’s not FAIR” My jaw just dropped. They are using the pension angle to get support. Lots of people don’t have pensions. I’m sure they are very sympathetic. So, they want to use sick time as vacation or pension. What about joe worker who started out at 18 and retires at 60. He would also get the sick time payout for all his years of “dedicated” service. That’s not FAIR for all the people whose pensions funds if they are lucky enough to have them or whose RSPS are plummetting. Its also not fair for all the taxpayers who have to cough up the money. We all want to be well off in our retirement. If I Pay anymore in tax, I’ll be poor. Give me a break. They say its not about the money, but it is. How about this have your benefits and take a pay cut. What? NO. So it IS about the money. I hope toronto just endures. City councillors should equip their constituents with bags/rakes and lawnmowers if they want. I may soon clean up my portion of the street.Where I live yesterday, there was a shredded up telephone book. Suspicious of deliberate littering by union workers/supporters. Coffee cups, wrappers, okay. But a shredded up telephone book. Who else would do that. Maximum litter for minimal effort.

Thank goodness the weather has been mild here and the garbage strike has not had the effect the unions thought it would. Everyone I talk to is more than willing to wait the unions out. Dropping off garbage at a drop-off station is an inconvenience, but is more palatable to most Torontonians than giving into more greddy unions demands.

I will plug my nose and step over garbage rather than continue to let the unions step all over my city and us taxpayers. Once the winter sets in, the garbage will stop smelling and the unions will accept the terms we set out, or freeze and starve for the winter. Merry Christmas.

I heard the radio ad for CUPE and all i could do was laugh. The other thing that really makes me laugh is when i hear union members talk about how much the “care” for toronto. The truth is you only “care” if you feel the benifits are good enough.That is not what true caring is.
Now i have 2 questions for all the union members reading this. If the job is so unfair why don’t you quit??? is it maybe because you already get paid more then the market vaule of your job and you have better benifits then many other jobs? Secondly please please please justify the fact that your strike is delaying the efforts of HABITAT FOR HUMANITY. Thats right union members your selfishness is causeing hundreds of habitat homes to not be finished in time. Habitat for humanity is not able to get building permits and therefore the people who despratly need those homes won’t get them in time for winter.

David Miller has shown all of the years that he has been Mayor of Toronto that he is incompetent for the job and is so arrogant that he can’t negotiate with any one. He instigated the strike by giving himself and his puppet councillers a 2.5% raise and offered the workers a 1% raise. For the good of Toronto he should immediately resign from the job but he won’t because that would ruin his ego trip. He raised taxes and then uses the money to go on his trips and to make bicycle paths which are not needed but they are to get votes from people who have immigrated from places where there are bicycles instead of cars

@David – I didn’t emigrate from anywhere, but I’m a big fan of bicycle paths. I happen to think they are a MUCH better use of my tax dollars than giving raises to unionized workers who are already paid 20-30% more than their private sector counterparts.

How many ‘puppet councillers’ (sic) are you claiming there are? Because even if ALL 44 councillors and the mayor got a 2.5% raise, we’re talking about a TOTAL cost to taxpayers of $117000. Please feel free to check my math here:

The argument fails. These salaries are WAY below industry standard salaries for CEOs and top managers. The mayor and the councillors are the leadership of our community. We *should* pay top dollar to retain top talent. That is the strategy that successful corporations use. Please come back with this argument when the mayor and councillors are making 20-30% more than industry standard.

Toronto considers itself a world class city. The truth is, it could be. As it is, it is just a little bit of everything and not a lot of anything. Take the new condos along Lakeshore and the Gardiner. Is it buildings that make a city or is it ingenuity and foresight? How can the council handle a million more people in the heart of the city if something like garbage disposal is not an easily negotiated service?

I used to like Mayor Miller and his ideas, but I am tired of him saying how wonderful the people of Toronto have been. Torontonians are always amazing – garbage strike or not. He is clearly out of touch and soon will be out of office.

We can forget the Olympics, forget the world class status…let’s just try and clean up the city we live in now…

Until a real commitment to leadership is established being the mayor will just be a job and not the path for a real visionary.

Hey Hazel … ever thought of buying in Toronto?

this is what you get having unionized workers doing a no brainer job like picking up garbage. If they are doing that is because they are not qualified to do anything else. Minimum wage and no benefits is what they deserve.

I disagree with the demands set by the union. The concept of sick days is to allow people to be sick and not loose their pay for the day. One has to admit that it makes sense. The idea of banking sick days goes against what sick days are for. It goes against the rational of having sick days. The idea is “USE IT OR LOOSE IT, BUT DON’T ABUSE IT”. I am very disappointed with the union and their members. So much so that now I say let’s let them sit out and let them loose their pay. I understand we have to put up with some pains during this period and I am sure that the pains associated with putting up with the situation is worse for some people. At this time I would ask all residents of Toronto to chin-up, pull together, be strong and unify together letting the unionized workers know that we will not be held up for ransom in this way at this time, or ever again.. Also please take notE that the increases in wages that the union is demanding is OVER AND ABOVE their “Cost of Living ” increases which they have had for years now. These unionized workers have gone too far and because of that they fail to be worthy of my support.

I am a CPE 79 member. I think the sick bank issue is not worth this. I never did understand why you get them paid out at retirement.

But I do know we agreed to a years of 0% increases, Rae Days, etc to save the City in the 90’s recession and then the Province decideds to take it out on our poor as well with a 21.6% cut in OW funds. the 90’s the poor paid for the recession.
Now in this one all Unions are paying for the recession.

Who will it be next time? All I know is that it will never be the Politicians nor the CEO’s in the world. This year was the first increase on Min Wage in over 10 years.

Do you really think the Prov and the Feds will ever give up their power over you?
They only reduced your taxes and cut their deficits by downloading their costs to the Cities? What did you think amalgamation was for? To save Provoncial money not create efficiencies.

Was this fair to municipalities in Ontario that only have proprty tax as an income source. Do your resaearch, people.

I have had two close friends get laid off in the last 6 months in the Toronto area; both are engineers in the manufacturing sector. Two other friends accepted pay cuts this year (both -5%) in order to avoid or delay layoffs at their companies. Add to this the number of people who got no raises, which is a pay cut when you consider inflation.

The point is spare me the ‘poor union workers’ line. You’re striking for benefits and pay raises while people in the private sector are losing jobs. In case you hadn’t heard, there’s a global economic crisis going on right now.

To the person who said ‘only our 3rd strike [since 1985]’, shame, shame. The right to strike, for those of you lucky enough to have it, was developed to combat abusive industrialist employers and dangerous working conditions, not as a first-choice method of airing grievances every time you have them.

I hope the result of this fiasco is that the city finds a way to get rid of the unions for good. Then the workers that are left will have to actually work, since those that don’t can and will get fired. It’ll be a nice change … it will be like the rest of the world has it right now.

Off corse the big bad CEOs please give that line a rest I couldn’t agree with victor more. The only people who havn’t lost jobs becuase of the economic crisis are union workers and they also managed to avoid pay cuts unlike many workers in the private sector. Currently dmz the poor are paying but for the most part that is being casued by your strike as i alreayd said hundreds of homeless families well not get homes from habitat for humanity because of your strike, many families are without without daycare and camps well guess who uses public facilites the most it certantly isn’t the big bad CEOs every single union member to ever lived has talkes about, and you also managed to leave hundreds of university students without a way to pay for thier schools. I read this article in the post the other day which pointed out a very important fact which is considering the number of workers that are on strike Toronto is relativly fine. Yes the garbage and day care stuff is anoying and a larger issue to some people then others but for the most part toronto is ok and continues to function just fine. So i agree with victor i hope toronto stands up to the union members and treats them like the little children they are acting like. I would also like to say i am proud of mr. miller for not totaly caveing like i thought he would. The one thing i really really do not understand is why we can’t truck the garbage away like windsor. O and dmz please read my early post and answer my questions.

“…..most profitable corporations pay their frontline staff minimum wage and use every tactic at their disposal to stay non-union, while lobbying against minimum wage increases. As far as they?re concerned, it?s never a good time to increase the minimum wage. Now they?re using the recession as an excuse to keep minimum wage as low as possible. In boom times, they?ll still oppose minimum wage increases.
Small business owners, on the other hand, have no obligations to shareholders and can pay their employees a living wage without worrying about what the public thinks.”
In Ontario, where the minimum wage is $9.50 an hour, big business is already lobbying the McGuinty government to cancel the scheduled increase to $10.25 an hour at the end of March next year because of the recession.” Bodnar, John, 2009

Here’s the trend so far:
90’s recession:
resulted in Welfare, education and social program cuts and downloading of social program costs to Ontario municipalites which aren’t permitted to implement revenue generating programs.

2009 recession:
resulting in cuts to union contract.

Now finally when min wage just got increased this year; they are fighting to reduce it? Wake up and smell the coffee people!

You failed to answer any of my questions and coninue to only rant about wages I am a student and am working at one of Canadas large banks and unlike many public camps and such which have $4 /hr student wages the bank is paying me $ 11.68 an hour which is above minimum wage so i don’t really consider that being screwed over. Of corse the economic crisis is all one big lie another way for the big bad CEOs to screw the public over. I am guessing that the super high unemployment rate is also one big lie. My mother is a executive in the same bank and guess what she also is not getting paid as much. Let me explin how a company works the tellers get paid less then executives just like a garbage man gets paid less then a police man. You get paid for what your job is worth a executive does FAR more work then a teller and a police man does far more work then a garbage man. Unioun workers already get paid far more then the market value of their job and yet you still want more.

@DMZ – What exactly is your point? That corporations use every tool at their disposal to compete in their sectors and make as much profit as possible? Frankly, I don’t think you’ll find too many people opposed to that model here on a financial blog.

For better or worse, you live in a society based on capitalism. Your ‘evil CEOs’ are faced with choices which must result in the greatest benefit for their shareholders. Faced with union issues and minimum wage increases like those described here, ask yourself why manufacturing companies are fleeing to the Far East.

By the way, can anyone explain WHY the city is opposed to citizens solving the garbage crisis in creative ways? For example, charging a small fee to take bags to the dump sounded like a great entrepreneurial idea to me. Same with hiring private companies to service particular neighborhoods. I don’t understand why the city would be opposed to any solution that would make this strike more bearable for its citizens. Can anyone shed any light on this?

@DMZ: With all due respect, let me throw back at you the same argument you and your supporters have been hrowing out since this strike began. If you feel that big bad CEO’s and politicians make too much money, go become one!!!

@ Victor:
It was the Province that prevented the ad-hoc creation of private citizens? garbage removal, NOT the City. Only the Province can approve a company fit to handle and abide by the environmental regulations. Any company that already held a license from the Province was permitted to continue their services.

@ Glenda:
If the Province and the Feds would appropriately fund and stop cutting Canada’s social programs in order to give out income tax cuts there would be no need for non-profit sectors like Habitat, OCAP, and many more to exist.
Did you know the Toronto Housing Corp has the same population as PEI? (Over 130,000 residents)

If I quit being a social worker for the municipality I would be making 120.00+/hr per client in the private sector. But, I prefer to help the poor who cannot afford private practice rates. If we don’t do the job, who will? Certainly not you, since it seems that no one really cared when Welfare rates were reduced by 21.6% in the 90?s, EI Benefits are consistently reduced, cuts to our education system, unaffordable ppost secondary tuitions, rents that are more than a persons total monthly welfare cheque or even minimum wage salaries.

The current Feds took away our additional daycare subsidy funding for more daycare spaces that the City fought decades to get. And then the Province changed our eligibility requirements making more working people eligible. That?s terrific but they did this before we even had enough spaces to accommodate the influx of new clients.

Wake up and realise that our governments were never designed to effectively work for our large cities. Our system of governing was designed when Canada was a rural country and towns simply were a place that needed roads so you could access supplies for your farms. And Canada has never restructured its system of governing and taxation after the Industrial Age changed our country in dramatic ways.

The fact of the matter is that I, as well as many co-workers, am AGAINST this strike; I think it is a waste of time and the Union may not necessarily have our best interests in mind. Point of fact: we aren?t informed or contacted by the negotiating teams; we are under the media blackout just like you are.
And this strike is simply going to make our work life even worse with a whole new barrage of threats, assaults, and hostility when we return.

I will continue to work for the City of Toronto and treat my clients fairly and respectfully and continue to advocate for better social programs such as welfare, daycare subsidy, affordable housing for those in our society who, for whatever reason, don?t succeed in school, obtain good paying jobs, have the luck to be born without disabilities or to middle and upper class families, etc.

I am proud to be a Torontonian. However, our spineless Mayor and CUPE members have let us down.
He should have fired these greedy __________ and then would gain our respect. CUPE held us hostage , it left us students without income ( money that helps us through the year), it left kids of lower income families without pools, it left working parents scampering about for daycare and paying exorbitant amounts for camps. Isn”t it ironic! A union, set up for the welfare of the working man has turned out to hurt the middle class working (NON UNION WORKERS) public of this city the most!!
These city workers risk nothing (unlike private sectors, who put in their blood and sweat- and don’t know what sick days are) and yet demand everything. Shame on them. How can you be a high school drop out and ask for the privelege of a doctor?

Now that a sort of solution has been reach, we have to move on for the future. So,for the next election, Miller is history. Secondly we have make plans to privatize the garbage collection and get rid of the prima donnas before this tenative contract expires.

Yes I know , unions are devils and your an angel . and maybe your making a good living or maybe your not but why be jealous of others trying to keep benefits they negociated.

True ultimately many of these jobs will be contacted out for slave wages but don’t think your taxes are going to go down, because they will find other things to spend that money on and little of witch will benefit you.
As for paying taxes we are do that and it is rediculous to act as if your the only ones paying the bills.

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