Fun Times with CUPE

Yesterday, one of us (Ram) went to attend a meeting at the Region of Peel municipal headquarters, in Brampton, Ontario (a city of about half million, just outside Toronto for those unfamiliar with the GTA).  We’re both in consulting, so meetings with government representatives are a regular occurrence for us.  We say no more on that front, lest we jeopardize our livelihoods (and our privacy).

What was unique yesterday though is that the Region of Peel Human Resources workers are on strike, extending now into its second week, so they were out in front of the building in force, even at 9:00 AM on a Wednesday morning.  The whole episode of getting in and out of the meeting was a head shaker, which I’m sure many many others have had to endure with union strikes, and what we’re going to describe is probably not unique, but here goes with our tale and observations;

  • First, they let Ram into the visitor parking lot, with no issues.  The Red Sea parted for the Porsche with not a problem (well, not a Porsche really, we can’t afford one since we don’t have friends in the Ontario Liberal party to grease for big contracts or plum positions in ORNGE or eHealth… but we’re off topic).  They were clearly blocking deliveries into the employee underground parking lot and the delivery bays under the building, but hey awesome!  They look like they’re going to leave “innocent” visitors alone; it didn’t look like anyone was getting held up getting in or out of the visitors parking!  But it was a trap…
  • Next – just observing – it appeared the sampling of workers on the picket line was not going to do anything to dissuade someone of union stereotypes – easily two thirds of the protestors were obese.  No word of a lie.  Just sayin’.  You draw your own inferences.   All were female too.  Paging Richard Simmons.
  • It looked like a grand old party.  They had a stereo and speakers alternately blasting Michael Jackson dance songs with Twisted Sister (“We’re Not Gonna Take It!”… what an awesome union anthem).  They had a barbeque set up, there were coolers and lawn chairs and CUPE flags everywhere.  Lots of fun to be on the picket line today, although maybe the choice of music should have been from Sweatin’ to the Oldies (see above Richard Simmons reference);
  • At the meeting we were warned that upon leaving, we would be delayed between 7 and 20 minutes when we tried to leave.  Ah ha!  It was a f*cking trap after all!  Clever, clever union bastards.  In a twist on the Hotel California line “you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave”, they were holding up exits from the parking lot.  Of course we didn’t see that at 9AM – nobody was leaving.
  • Thoughts immediately turned to, “Well, if they try to hold me up, I’ll just run the fat bitches over, that’ll teach ‘em”.  Of course, it always sounds like a great idea right at the start, and gets the blood pumping, but then common sense comes in (because we’re conservative after all) and we resign ourselves to the fact that it probably wouldn’t be worth going to jail just to have the temporary satisfaction of running over a couple of union fatties.  Damn it.
  • So, now we’ve left the meeting, and are in a queue of cars waiting to exit the parking lot.  A (fat) union rep, wearing a safety vest and carrying a walkie-talkie and a clipboard approaches a couple of us consultants who’ve parked our cars in line (being environmentally conscious, we don’t want to let our Porsche engines idle and kill polar bears) and are sipping double-double Timmies we got at the cafeteria inside the building.  She tells us we’re each going to be held up for 7 minutes apiece for information purposes, and thanks for our patience – and then walks away.

Firstly, where does the 7 minutes come from?  Who came up with that number?  Why not 3 minutes?  Why not 50 minutes?  Seven?  What the f*ck?  And how are they even legally allowed to impede traffic – why aren’t cops clearing them away?  This has become a regular tactic by unions, and it seems to have been accepted by the authorities and even the public at large.  But if we were to go into the middle of Dixie Road in Brampton, and try to hold up traffic, guaranteed the cops would be out there right away to arrest us.

Secondly, there was no information.  Not one from the gaggle of union fatties approached any of us in the queue to tell us why they were on strike, their reason for holding us up, or anything else.  It was a crock of shit.

  • Finally, after being held up for 35 minutes, a relatively short period given the horror stories of one and two hour delays we heard about, the small (well, small in number) group of strikers blocking the parking lot exit parted, and Ram was released.  And when driving by, the strikers waved and said “Thanks for waiting!” and smiled.

Jesus H.

And we haven’t even gone into any detail about the delivery driver who tried to circumvent the blockade, the capitulation by Brampton traffic to make Peel Centre Drive into a one-way street essentially to accommodate the queues of traffic the blockades are causing or a lot of other things we saw. 

Look, sympathy for unions is low already.  Their best before date was the early 1970’s when much of what unions used to fight for, became labour law.  Now they’re glorified gangsters.  And if they think blocking traffic, wasting people’s time is going to get them what they wanted, then they are wrong.  Because sentiment changed for everyone in that parking lot from, we hope this shit ends soon, to we hope these union assholes get crushed.

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