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There's a general strike slated for tomorrow in Vancouver, and it's supposed to be my first day of school. I just got this lovely UPass, and I won't even be able to use it!

Classes will be running as scheduled tomorrow, but bus service won't. The only ray of hope is that it may only be Monday, rather than an extended strike.

I just want to say that, despite the inconvenience, I still think Campbell is a bastard, and his government is a bunch of unruly, unaccountable hooligans that wouldn't know a well-governed province from their own asses.

EDIT: CBC just reports: Deal to End B.C. Health Strike (link thanks to darthmaus). Maybe there won't be a general strike tomorrow, after all. I'll be watching the news for the next couple of hours to see what happens.

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I think Campbell is a bastard too, but I'm kinda scratching my head puzzling over the legality and justifiability of a willy-nilly general strike without going through the usual channels that lead up to a proper strike. The whole concept of a general strike is a little fishy to me: think about the *purpose* of unions and strike actions.

I'm generally pro-union, but I dunno about this general strike business. A strike action has to be targetted at something in order to be effective and justifiable. This kind of thing reeks of "We don't like you, Gordon, so we're not going to work!" and what the hell kind of good is that going to do?

Striking in support of another union -- what the *hell* is that? *Your* union exists to negotiate and uphold collective agreements with *your* employer. So every union in the province going on strike because they feel that the health care workers are being screwed over (and I'm not saying that they are not) makes no sense to me.

Then again, BC politics has always looked incredibly fucked up to me. I remember Bill Vanderzalm. Yes, way out in Ontario we were laughing about that fiasco.

Further news that indicates that maybe this silly nonsense won't happen after all: http://www.cbc.ca/stories/2004/05/02/canada/bcstrike040502

On the one hand, unions have become these self-justifying behemoths with rules and laws shoring up their status. There is no longer a true one-to-one relationship between a union and a company and a company's workforce. Now, unions are political entities that live in a power layer somewhere between the population and the government, and representing actual employees to an actual company is just the bread-and-butter of a much larger organism. Hell, if they didn't have to do that part, they'd probably stop in a minute.

On the other hand, these particular Liberals have a history of telling unions that they're not going to negotiate, they're just going to pass a law making it illegal for the union to disobey them. If they do it to one union, they can do it to another. I suppose that the other unions can't afford to remain silent, at risk of being the next target of a legislated "agreement."

Now, for the part where I'm done with being fair to both sides: It seems to me that legislating a strike away defeats the entire purpose of a (real) union, which is to give a legal voice to a collective of employees which an employer is not allowed to ignore. Have you noticed how the only back-to-work legislation ever passed is when the government is the employer in question? Isn't that a conflict of interest?

Re: Unions and BC gov'ts

Have you noticed how the only back-to-work legislation ever passed is when the government is the employer in question?

Government imposed back to work legislation recently for the useless monkies who comprise the BC Ferry and Marine Workers Union (I am so tempted to put workers in quotes ... my bias against them probably barely shows).

Hard to feel to sorry for the HEU when it looks like they have been overpaid and coddled on my dollar for far to long. $28 / hr dishwashers with 9 weeks of annual vacation don't rub me right as a taxpayer.

I watched CHEK news on Thursday night and they had a piece on how this new legislation is tearing apart peoples lives. They had this man on who said he and his wife are HEU members and this 15% wage reduction means a loss of $1000 per month for him and his wife. He was a shipping and receiving clerk and she worked in food services. OK ... so 15% equals $1000 ... well, my calculator tells me that $1000 is 15% of roughly $6500 per month. So if two people are taking home $6500 per month, we are looking at people who are earning, before taxes, $90K to $100K. For some reason, my compassion filter engages at that point and cuts him out.

That said, I am not a huge BC liberal fan. What I will give them though is that they campaigned on keeping health care costs down, reducing education costs, and cutting government services. The province elected them in a staggering majority of seats (what was it, 75 seats liberal, 2 seats NDP?) and they as the government have done as they said they would.

Re: Unions and BC gov'ts

Yep, they seem to be upholding their campaign promises, near as I can remember them -- just like Mike Harris did in Ontario. I didn't vote for these fuckers either -- so where now are all the clowns who did? ;-)

If one does not like the government, one can use established democratic channels to communicate this. We have freedom of assembly, access to communication with our elected representatives, and the right to vote for a reason. Abuse of union powers can only undermine future union effectiveness by eroding public support -- so although I'm relatively pink and generally pro-union and anti-Campbell, I can't support this general strike.

Re: Unions and BC gov'ts

I agree with everything you said except:

the government have done as they said they would.

It seems to me that they've broken almost every promise save one: cutting taxes. And they claimed, like Thatcher, Reagan, and Bush II, that this would magically fill the coffers of the Treasury. Still waiting.

The NDP has a document comparing promises with reality. I wish I could find a politically neutral document, because some of their conclusions do overreach. But you don't have to varnish anything to see how cynical the Liberals have been.

Not that I think the other guys -- uh, the other two women -- are spectacularly better. And I've worked for governments before and boy howdy, could we use a river to clean out those stables. I held a temp job for two weeks once, filling in for a guy on vacation, and I think I did more than he did in the previous fifty.

Something eats the brains of government workers. Maybe working for the government makes one cynical, but when I hear someone go on about the arcana of seniority rules, I feel like I'm talking to a zombie.

As much as I want to get into a big argument about all kind of things I have no factual knowledge about...
my comment is as follows: Are buses running tomorrow? Did you get rid of your nice little red Nissan? If the answer are no and yes... can I offer you a lift?

let me know if you need one, and if you'd phone and give as much warning as possible I'd be happy to offer you a ride. First day of class was always the best one :)

or email/msn me tonight works too

Fortunately, the general strike has been called off due to the last minute deal, and I still have that nice little red Nissan.

Thanks for the offer, though. That was completely unexpected. :)

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