Picketing allows interaction with civic employees you would otherwise never meet. City Hall, Park, Library and Service yards. The breadth of the City of Vancouver's workforce, 5000 in total, and the many micro-cultures that exist within it is amazing.
The opinions I've been fortunate to hear while picketing and receive online support what many media commentators reported. The extent of relationships between staff and some senior managers apparently extends from disdain to acrimony.
Commentators wonder how the city will get back to normal when this strike ends. I would hope aspirations are higher then what has passed as normal for the past 5 years. That would include both the COPE/Vision and the current NPA council terms.
The Human Resources manager is consistently mentioned in negative terms. Condescension towards staff in lower pay grades is the consistent theme.
I have vented about my opposition to the "no layoffs" and "auxiliary seniority" within the CUPE 15 context (libraries are a different creature and it is passing strange that 49% of library staff are auxiliary) but it becomes understandable when relationships, or the lack thereof, are factored in.
How can staff be expected trust the city's offer when there is such distrust of the Human Resources manager?
The same is said of certain new young managers in engineering. Similar to the movie "In Good Company," where the new manager is half the age of those he supervises, it appears older staff have difficulty accepting advice from a young manager and whom they feel treats them in a condescending manner.
Certainly this is a two way relationship and I am only hearing one side. If a manager is responsible for taking disciplinary actions or must make a tough decision someone will disagree or personalize the issue.
The latter two comments, however, are consistently mentioned by a large cross section of staff.