Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Politics of Garbage

This UPI headline says it all: Toronto stinks on Day 4 of trash strike.

The key issues are pay raises equal to what was given emergency workers last year, and the city's desire to drop bankable sick days and replace them with short-term disability insurance.

I'm all for the right to strike when workers are being treated unfairly. I'm just having a hard time empathizing with a pay raise demand given the miserable fiscal condition of most cities during this recession. Where exactly is this money supposed to come from? When it isn't flowing in, it can't flow out. When the city goes bankrupt, nobody gets paid.

You say it isn't fair that the emergency workers got their raise last year? Times change. Budget forecasts get refined. Consider the emergency workers lucky to have negotiated their contract under sunnier economic outlooks.

I wish it weren't the case, but the timing of contract negotiations always adds a bit of chance to what should be a completely uniform process. Better luck next time, CUPE.

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