Saturday, September 8, 2007

Walking the Line - CUPE 15's "How to's"

CKNW spent Friday announcing it "obtained a memo (CUPE cracks down on picketing members)" from CUPE 15 instructing members on how to strike and to write letters to the editor conveying grassroots support for the union action. The memo was 4 weeks old.

If CKNW were top dog it would have known that CUPE's website had linked to a CKNW web poll which was asking on July 24th "Is Mayor Sullivan doing enough to end strike?"

As for the memo that CUPE sent out. It made for great recycling.

Ironically a new CUPE instructional memo was issued attached to the $500.00 strike pay cheques that same day. (Strike pay is earned after 40 hours of picketing over 2 weeks at $12.50/ hour. CUPE 15 pickets can not picket more than 7 hours per day or 20 hours per week.)

The memo titled "IS THIS YOUR PICKET SITE" was a response to letter published last week in the Vancouver Courier.
To the editor:
I recently passed a CUPE picket line set up in front of the PNE. It was a warm and sunny day. There were three strikers walking down the sidewalk with their picket signs. There were another two dozen sitting in chairs, reading, or lounging on the grass playing cards and chatting with one another.

Their backs were to the street and citizens strolling by. They seemed oblivious to the impression they might be making. They were also, apparently, indifferent to the uncollected litter and refuse that was blowing about the green space around them.

I'm a union man and happy to be. If you must strike, then strike. But get off your ass and march on the picket line like the action you're taking matters and you give a damn.

John Daly,

Well Mr John Daly of Burnaby most people would not be out on the damn picket line if it didn't matter. This is a hot job market and most could find jobs if they didn't like their jobs enough to put up with the nonsense that both CUPE and the City generate.

Most sites have people doing a shift of walking the perimeter of their site and then socializing afterwards. Yes we play cards and board games. We read books and sit in the sun. Some have tarps and tents in case it rains. How rebellious of us. Perhaps a dose of Das Kapital would make us better strikers.

The memo continued:

  • We acknowledge the picketers who have supported the strike by their hours, their solidarity and for "walking the line."
  • We are not waiting for a settlement, we are struggling to get the employer to bargain to get an agreement. Your part in this is to present a strong and united line committed to the cause of getting a fair collective agreement.
  • Strike pay is earned by wearing a picket sign and patrolling the perimeter of a worksite. Picket pay is based on picket duty being done in an appropriate manner at every worksite.
  • Never picket alone and always be aware of people intentionally trying to provoke you.
  • Public information needs to be shared and distributed. Public information is important and we are receiving lots of calls in support.
  • Picket Captains must report if picket duty is not being done.
To CUPE: Don't lecture us about struggling. $500.00 every two weeks is more than enough to reinforce that concept. There are people on the line with mortgages and young families. Save the paper for something useful like announcing when the settlement vote will be.

Strike headquarters is not an ivory tower from which to issue pronouncements. Remember you are there for us - not the other way around.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I don’t understand how this all works. You pay CUPE money off your paycheck and they respond by treating you all like 6 year olds at the school yard. The whole jobs for life thing what is that about ? CUPE says many of the workers are having no difficulty in getting other jobs during the strike so why do they need this protection and is it really protecting the worker or CUPE’s interests to try and prevent jobs from being contracted out to non CUPE interests?

How about seniority over merit; where else would this concept make sense in any place on the planet but a public sector Union. I mean seriously would you hire a ditch digger to act as a lifeguard simply because the ditch digger has 20 years of experience digging ditches compared to someone who has 5 years serving as a lifeguard ? This example may seem extreme, but what CUPE is demanding makes absolutely no sense. No sane person would ever agree to this. Meanwhile people are out of their paycheck while this insane CUPE agenda creeps on.

spartikus said...

No sane person would ever agree to this.

Thank goodness no one is proposing it.

Anonymous said...

If Sullivan has been damaged politically by this strike, what has been the effect on rank and file perception of CUPE leadership? Do Vancouver CUPE locals think that they are well lead, or is there any disaffection? Is there a CUPE leadership election soon so someone could judge the effect of the Strike on CUPE attitudes?