Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saskatoon snatches defeat from the jaws of victory UPDATE: lockout is over! 

So you might think that the reluctant LRB ruling both the transit lockout and the pension bylaw illegal would have provided the Saskatoon civic administration with a great opportunity to rethink their whole strategy with this labour dispute, and come up with something that would work better.
But you would be wrong!
The city strategy of trying to starve the bus drivers into an agreement was never going to work, and now it is in tatters -- the drivers know they will eventually get their back pay for the 27 days the strike has lasted so far.  But the union was so happy about the LRB ruling, that the drivers would have cheerfully gone back to work without an agreement, and they would not have dared to go on strike.
So the city could have jumped at the opportunity to get everyone on board with the obvious way to end this dispute -- the same pension changes as everyone else, a slightly higher percentage increase than the rest of the city unions got, but with a longer contract to justify the difference. There, done!
But no.
Clearly, the city was in the wrong with this lockout, and that what the LRB ruled, but the powers that be in the city administration just couldn't accept "losing".
They doubled down by immediately issuing a new lockout notice to the transit union.
“My first thought is ‘Oh my goodness, they’re going to do this to the citizens of Saskatoon again,’ ” ATU local 615 president Jim Yakubowski told reporters outside City Hall Saturday morning. “They don’t deserve that, nor do our members deserve this.”
And the people are furious:

I don't know how this will end now, but it isn't going to be pretty.
UPDATE: Wiser, or cooler, heads have prevailed.
City Council held an emergency meeting this afternoon and voted unanimously to tell the city administration to lift the lockout.  So the buses are back as of 6 am on Monday morning.  Hooray!

Recommend this Post at Progressive Bloggers | 2 comments


It was just amazing that the city tried to issue another lock-out notice after the LRB ruling. But those types of union busting fools are seldom rational enough to behave well. But the fact that the City Council reversed that second lock-out must have been a real sign that they knew that they had not only lost the legal battle but the battle of public opinion.

We had a similar (though not as outrageous) situation here in Ottawa a few years ago when we had an idiotic mayor and the strike cost him a huge defeat in the subsequent election. Will we see the same push-back from voters in Saskatoon?

By Blogger Kirby Evans, at 7:10 am  

Likely, yes. Our mayor came close to losing in the last election, to a man with no civic experience and no community profile. So I expect in the next election he could be defeated, along with some of the members on Council.

By Blogger Cathie from Canada, at 1:07 pm  

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