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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Off to Picket

This post was actually written yesterday, just got around to publishing it today.

Off to do my first picketing (this time round, I've been out twice before) for the CBC Lockout. Last week I was on vacation; I'd be damned if I'd let the lockout ruin my vacation. So the lockout starts for me today. I've got a cold and little inclination to picket, especially ten hours, which is what I plan to do today, but I gotta get my twenty hours in, get that strike pay. Even though it's not a strike, it's a lockout.

Initially they said they'd honour our vacations, which in my case was put in place long before there was any hint of a lockout. Then, at the very last moment, they changed their minds. Too late to change our vacation plans, not that I would have done so anyway. In a civilized land this sort of dispute should be sorted out through some kind of binding arbitration. There is no need to deprive hard working men and women, folk dedicated to public broadcasting, of their livelihoods. We're just pawns in this kind of struggle anyway, with little choice in the matter.

This is the way it plays out: we take a strike vote. Yes, there is the semblance of free will, but you can't really exercise it. You CAN'T vote no, you have to vote in favour of a strike mandate, otherwise the CBC will walk all over you in the contract. And from that moment on, you have absolutely no say in the matter, if the union decides to walk, you walk, if the corporation decides to lock you out, you're locked out. All you can do is buckle yourself in and hang on tight. I'm one of the luckier ones, my wife works part time. Those who have families to support and whose spouse doesn't or can't work are screwed if this goes on for any length of time.

I really didn't believe it would happen. (So naive!) I'm always overestimating people's intelligence. The senior managers who have implemented this lock out no doubt think they're doing the right thing, but I don't see how this helps anybody, not the Canadian public, not the employees, not most of the managers left inside, not anybody. Probably not even the senior managers responsible, who may be vilified in the end.

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