The Amalgamated Transit Union has finally found a way get the public really
angry -- I'm talking frothing-at-the-mouth mad -- about this strike.
It wasn't the decision to temporarily block the Access-A-Bus service -
although that didn't win them any points.
People were disappointed when the union overwhelmingly rejected the city's
"final" offer, although most would agree it was their democratic right to do
But the decision to block snowplows from leaving the Burnside garage for
about ten minutes this morning has created a firestorm. We posted our story
on the incident online at just before 9am. By noon there were
As you might expect, there isn't a lot of support for the union's tactics.
Here's a sampling of the comments to give you feel for the general tone of
One wrote " Blocking snow plows after a snowfall??!! Why not block
ambulances and police cars while you're at it...and firetrucks??!!! Wow,
unbelievable disregard for public safety and civil society."
Another writes, " Enough is enough. Declare transit an essential service,
and get the buses on the road."
I think you get the idea.
But this may be exactly what the union wants. With its members walking the
picket lines for more than a month, with no end in sight, you have to ask
yourself what the union has to lose with tactics like blocking snowplows?
The union leadership already knows it doesn't have a lot of public support.
Negotiations are going nowhere. Council refuses to consider binding arbitration,
and as of this morning, the provincial government is refusing to consider back
to work legislation.
Is it a coincidence that just this morning ATU president Ken Wilson
challenged city council to hold an open vote at tomorrow's meeting on whether to
send this dispute to binding arbitration? Maybe, but at this point the union may
decide the best way out of this dispute is to get the public so angry that it
demands the city, or the province, take whatever action necessary to end the
And if that means back to work legislation, and/or binding arbitration, so