Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Wildcat Syd

Ontario CUPE chief Syd Ryan can't get himself elected in good old union town Oshawa any more, but he can still raise hell with an old-fashioned wildcat strike:

Syd Ryan, Ontario president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, pledged to take more than 100,000 municipal, school and city workers on a wildcat strike as early as midnight Thursday to protest the Liberals' proposal to transfer responsibility for the $40-billion pension plan to municipalities.

"Unfortunately, when unjust legislation is introduced, sometimes there are consequences, and in this particular instance, I believe this is a political protest worth taking on," he said yesterday at Queen's Park. "That's an unjust law and I believe it needs to be fought."

Mr. Ryan said the strike -- which would be triggered on the day the government begins to debate the bill -- would close schools and day-care centres, halt garbage collection, snow removal and municipal functions such as issuing marriage and birth certificates. Maintenance workers at municipal parks, community centres and hockey rinks would also walk off the job.

The Liberal government's idea to turn responsibility for the plan over to the municipalities is being attacked by the union and employers -- the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. Neither organization objects to transferring control to municipalities, but both oppose provisions that give firefighters, police and, potentially, paramedics enhanced pensions.

The municipalities estimate the cost of enhanced pensions at $380 million, which would requiring a three-per-cent increase in property taxes.

Way to go, Syd. The first time your union has ever seriously fought a tax increase and might have won some public sympathy with a wildcat strike and you have to ruin it by attacking the only public employees people don't think are overpaid.

You and Buzz both take the prize for pointless public grandstanding.

Source: Ottawa Citizen

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