Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Strike

It is official: the bus drivers in Ottawa are assholes. I honestly didn't think it would happen, but apparently the overpaid drivers who provide poor service have decided to screw over the entire city which is spread out and relies heavily on our already very expensive bus system.

Just so you all know, it costs 3 bucks to ride the bus. Compare that to the price in your own city. Crazy eh?

I don't know how Andrew will get to work tomorrow. Especially since the city was just crippled by snow, and we're supposed to get freezing rain tonight. And if this strike lasts, I'll be looking at a 1.5-2 hour walk to school in the cold for my exams.

Fuck you OC Transpo. Hang in there, City of Ottawa negotiators. Don't give the bastards what they want! I'd rather walk and watch the drivers suffer. Enjoy picketing in the snow!

UPDATE [Wed @ 1:00pm]: The drivers are now blocking traffic with their picketing. If I was in a car, I wouldn't be stopping. Technically, shouldn't they be getting tickets for some sort of obstruction of roadways? Get the cops involved, Larry O'Brien... do something good for this city for once!

These drivers are gonna be treated like complete shit when they do go back to work. Well done, assholes.

There's also a chance that the feds will declare the drivers an essential service, which would force them back to work. That would be great. And really, it already SHOULD be an essential service. Go feds go!

30 comments:

Step Right Up said...

People are getting laid off here in the states. I bet they'd love to come up there and drive those busses for what those greedy drivers already make.

i am playing outside said...

ya there are lots of people up here that would be happy for those jobs too.

Anonymous said...

Right on.

New drivers start at 60K, the salary list in Ontario actually lists at least two guys at the 105K mark.

That's more than universities grads usually get, more than teachers, more than cops.

And they're being offered a 7% raise.

They say it's about respect not money, and then they're extorting the city when the weather turns bad and exams are about to begin, actively blocking intersections with picket lines. You want respect? Try acting in a respectable way.

Fuck them.

Declare it an essential service so the unions are happy, and then lay every motherfucking one of them off for some recent immigrant who will probably speak better English, be nicer people, and do better work for a much more reasonable wage.

Anonymous said...

When people get killed on their ride home tonight, because they're frazzled by the shitty traffic and the shitty weather and driving cars with tires on a day's notice they might not otherwise be, the blame will lie squarely at the feet of the OC Transpo union.

i am playing outside said...

Anonymous, i like you. Who are you? lol

Bec said...

OMG why have I suffered through 3 1/2 years of university when I could have been driving a bus!!!! Ottawa U should set up scrub buses like Trent did when the Peterborough bus drivers went on strike, we had crazy school buses to take us to school and they regularly got in to accidents on route. Despite their many crashes they were still way better then the Peterborough bus services. Yesterday the drivers response to why the bus was late (there should be a bus every 20 minutes and there was no bus at this stop for over an hour) was they forgot to send out a bus at 5:10....

Step Right Up said...

{{chiming in again}} In my hometown the University busses are free to anyone for transportation not just the students. I think that's just wonderful and wish more communities/cities would do the same thing.

I work in HR, when people come to fill out an app or call to inquire about openings I'll ask them if they have their CDL license and a passport and send them your way!

i am playing outside said...

for many schools i know of, there is a free bus pass included within the tuition fees. my school sucks, so we get nothing. no free services here. we just get screwed. no university buses. nothing. jerks. haha

Kadonkadonk said...

I'd totally drive a bus in Canada!! I wonder if they'd give me a work visa for that. I've been looking for a way into Canada ever since Bush was re-elected in '04. Apparently, I am not a 'desirable' American because I am not a doctor or lawyer. But I would make a killer bus driver!

i am playing outside said...

i'll let you know if they end up firing all the drivers and need replacements.

ottawaproject said...

Honestly, I don't think the drivers are being greedy. From what I've heard from union members, it isn't about money; the City actually offered them a $2000 bonus, and they turned it down because it's not what they want.

Drivers are striking for two main reasons:

1) The City wants to change their shift booking system, so that drivers can no longer request shifts which are given out based on seniority. That's how OC Transpo has always worked, but for some reason they no longer want to do it.

2) Sick days. Currently, bus drivers only get six unpaid sick days per year. OC Transpo managers get 12 paid days, and regular City employees get 15. Connected to this there are a number of other smaller but related issues, the details of which I'm not really sure of.

Any drivers I've seen talking about it say they'd be more than happy with getting just a cost-of-living wage increase (which 7% over 3 years is on the low end of, but still there), so long as the City gives them the above demands.

ottawaproject said...

I'll amend this even further. Apparently, the union said yesterday they would end the strike if the City dropped the scheduling issue. The City refused to do so.

i am playing outside said...

yes i know that its about the scheduling, ive been following this for over a week. but regarding sick days, if they didnt like that situation, they should have not taken the job. they knew what the situation was.

they get paid very well, so unpaid sick days, who cares. lots of people dont get paid for sick days.

and as for the strike, well they've been without a contract for 8 months, so the fact that they're doing it NOW when students have exams, its snowing a lot, and its christmas and cold, that's just rude. and the fact that they are now impeding regular traffic is fucking horrendous. they have no consideration for the thousands of people who rely on the buses to live.

i've got a 90 minute walk to school for my exams dave, so come pick me up if you want to support the drivers. i'd have money for a cab if i didn't already pay for a bus pass that i'm now unable to use.

ottawaproject said...

Blame the city then. They're the ones who stalled and should have hammered out a deal months ago, not the drivers. Especially when we're talking about the same city that gave councilors and the mayor a 25% pay raise earlier this year.

All the drivers really want is to be able to keep the system that was in place when they were hired and to have equality with other city employees. The city, though, is dragging its heels and not cutting to the heart of the matter, nor are they making any moves to compromise. I fully sympathize with you, I would have been screwed a year ago if they'd striked then, but I don't blame them, I blame the usual stupidity of City Council for not getting things done like they should be doing.

Also, just to note: drivers would love to be declared an essential service. They'd get better deals that way compared to striking through arbitration.

Anonymous said...

I'll amend this even further. Apparently, the union said yesterday they would end the strike if the City dropped the scheduling issue. The City refused to do so.

This is posturing and any anyone who advocates this position is either a lackey or a stooge.

Look, the reason scheduling is an issue is because they are understaffed. The reason they are understaffed is because of the outlandish salaries.

How's this, we knock their salaries down to 40k, they get their 2 sick days, they get better scheduling choices, and we hire a third more people.

OR We pay them per hour, with harder routes getting a better wage.

It's not the city. O'Brien and many of the Councillors may be idiots, but that's NOT what this is about. This is about greedy people who would have difficulty finding and keeping employment in a non-union shop holding a city hostage as a matter of routine.

It's about a goddamn undeserved sense of entitlement. Why are these people the only ones who can do the job? Because they have a union. That's it.

Fuck 'em.

i am playing outside said...

dave ... transit already costs the city way too much. of course they don't want to just start giving in to more demands. and it takes two to negatiate, so stop blaming the city for everything.

Anonymous - i still love you. i really wish i knew who you were HAHA

Anonymous said...

Remember, these people aren't mining coal, they're not doing dangerous work, and their minimum interaction with the public which they tend to barely meet is to, on occasion, cue a machine to dispense tickets.

For that they start at salaries greater than just about everybody else, including cops, medical residents, teachers, engineers and others.

It's ridiculous salaries were allowed to climb to this point and it's ridiculous the union is no longer considering that sufficient justification to have to deal with not being able to pick their own

You think docs in residency get to decide who/when/where they want to work?

i am playing outside said...

Again, I agree with you Anon. In a time when people are being laid off all over the place, bus drivers should take what they can get. Even the Pope doesn't choose when he goes to work. When the mass is scheduled, he's there saying it. He doesn't decide that Thursday afternoon would better suit his schedule. Screw the drivers. I promise I'll be rude to them when they return... hopefully a return that involves a worse contract than they're currently being offered.

Anonymous said...

Amen, man.

Have a good one.

i am playing outside said...

You too ;)

ottawaproject said...

Anon: The drivers are paid by the hour, $24 per hour worked, I believe. The reason they're able to earn so much is because they work a lot of hours. Anyway, what their wage is isn't the issue, and that's not why they're striking.

And yes, the drivers will likely have to compromise, but so does the city. This is just step number God knows how many in their efforts to sweep budgetary problems under the rug, rather than deal with them head-on.

i am playing outside said...

Dave, you can't say in the same comment that its not about money, but that its also about the city wanting to save money.

ottawaproject said...

That's the reasoning they're giving for the scheduling system change: apparently, it will save them money. But there are much better ways of doing that, such as lowering the cap on the number of hours that drivers can work, which is currently 120 every two weeks, with every hour over 80 considered overtime. Instead, why not cap it at 100 hours every two weeks? That will shave off a lot of the problems, and allow OC Transpo to keep doing scheduling the way they always have.

The main point I'm trying to get across is that I'm sick of people putting the blame entirely on the drivers and calling them greedy. They aren't, they just want a fair contract, and it's as much the fault of the City for being so bloody stubborn.

i am playing outside said...

I'm not calling them greedy. I'm calling them assholes for striking when it fucks over a whole city.

ottawaproject said...

Unfortunately, that's how strikes have to work. Either you do it at a time where it will have an impact, or no one will notice.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, that's how strikes have to work. Either you do it at a time where it will have an impact, or no one will notice.

Nonsense. Long before their were essential services there were ethics in striking. There still are.

Also, if they are indeed pay per hour, then that's good news because it means it'll be trivial to get new guys on to take those routes instead.

Instead, I think they're defacto salaried, with guaranteed hours. Which, if you have any clue, means that's it's really all about the race to overtime/time and a half.

This is not the legitimate pay per hour system I was talking about.

Anonymous said...

By the way, UofO has organized a shuttle now for students, in case that helps. From Carleton, South Keys and Place D'Orleans I believe.

i am playing outside said...

Ya those shuttles help me in NO way. 3 pickup points in a city of 750,000 people? Ridiculous.

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

I don't really have anything to contribute on this topic I just wanted to be part of your record breaking comments.

i am playing outside said...

Aaw thank you! A comment from you means TWO comments, since I of course have to reply. Much love!