UPDATE: I received an unconfirmed report that the town workers will receive a raise to $35.00 per hour in their new contract proposal.
I believe that I can speak on the proposed strike by some Town of Fort Erie workers, having been employed by a labor union and as a graduate of Cornell University's Labor Studies Program.
The threat of a strike is one tool that unions use to impress on the employer that they need to come to the bargaining table with a better offer. According to an article from The Times's Sarah Ferguson. (Must be tough for her to report on the demands of full-time town employees who make $26.50 an hour when she barely making minimum wage.) Unions will do that: get more money and better benefits for the employees whom they represent.
Of course, a lot of people call them greedy which is laughable in this day when bank executives and other high end corporate heads pocket millions of dollars while cheating the little guy down the food chain. Is it greedy to demand better wages? No, I don't think so. To actually go on strike is another matter altogether. I see that the union is asking for a conciliation officer to come in on the negotiations. Excellent idea. I was an observer of negotiations between the union I worked for as an organizer and the large company many years ago. The negotiations broke down and a trigger happy local went out on strike, despite warnings from the international union to accept the settlement already accepted by every other bargaining unit in the company. We were out for seven, long and difficult months. What I learned is that any strike should be an absolute last resort and, if a strike takes place, it should end within a couple of days. Otherwise, it's a lose, lose situation.
I do hope that the parties are able to come to an agreement soon.
Now, of course, the "others" have somehow managed to blame the four councillors for the strike threat. Such morons. Obviously, they know nothing about labour-management relations and negotiations. But there's a lot they don't know about, especially what was going on in Fort Erie prior to 2010 when they finally decided to get in the game - that being hate blogging. Prior to 2010, the town did a number of foolish things. We remember a pledge of close to $300,000 to the EDTC in order for it to pay a non-refundable deposit on the Fort Erie Race Track. And how did that work out? I hear that Rick Shular thinks this is a still stellar idea to save the race track. Huh? Did I hear that right?
Those of us who have good memories also remember that the town tried to sell off the north section of the Bay Beach Properties in order to fund a section of the Friendship Trail. A petition and the election of a young man who spearheaded the petition caused the then mayor, Wayne Redekop to re-think his stance on the property. In 2005, the council of the day voted to retain all the properties in the public's hands. It wasn't until shortly after the new mayor and council of 2006 chose to endorse Rino Mostacci's idea to get a developer to come in and submit proposals for the Bay Beach Properties that the issue came to the forefront again. As if all those people who signed the first petition in 2003 would suddenly go away and forget about the issue. Did not happen. Redekop later described the public owning of the properties as part of a "birthright" of the people of the town when he publicly urged council to rethink the deal it made with the Molinaros that would allow them to construct two (later scaled down to one) high rise towers on the public land fronting the public beach.
Some things are worth fighting for and the preservation of the Bay Beach Properties as public land is a worthy fight. It has cost a lot of people a lot - not just money. Four councillors have been harassed and now sued for their stance on the property; I've been sued by the GM of the EDTC and harassed by numerous police "complaints" by the other bloggers and others have suffered through character assassination and wild rumours spread throughout town by these lowlifes.
And it all goes back to a piece of waterfront property, bought from the Rebstocks with the intention of turning it into a fine beachfront park.
Just think of where this town would be if not for that.
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