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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Blue Collar Blues

A teacher friend of mine was involved in a labour dispute a few years ago, out on strike for two, maybe three weeks. I recall hearing about it and thinking that I really should give him a call, offer my support. At the time I'd already been on a picket line at least once, perhaps twice. But time went by and I never picked up the phone. Too busy; they settled before I could call.

I try to remember this when I think of all the people that I haven't heard from during the lockout. Most of my family have checked in (except one sister, and I forgive her because, well, that's just her). This lockout is more public than the CEP labour disputes I've been involved in; as a result I've heard from a lot more people than ever before. Often it is the first thing out of people's mouths when I see them. But there are a lot that haven't checked in, and I can't say as I really blame them, having dropped the ball myself on that score.

There is, however, one batch of people that do have me feeling a little irked. And that's the people with whom I have a professional relationship, that are only too happy to lean on me when I'm gainfully employed. I can think of several writers, musicians, actors, freelance producers and more, all of whom have made money as a result of their relationship with me, some of whom have made a lot of money and furthered their careers, not to mention realized a dream or two, thanks to our professional relationship. And with the exception of two, I have not heard from any of these people during the lockout. You can bet your derriere I'll hear from them when I get back inside.

Of course, they live busy lives just like the rest of us, so I know that I will feel a little miffed for awhile and then forget about it. I'm confident that the two that I'm in touch with now really mean it when they ask me how I'm doing; I suppose if the others did the same it would represent no more than a mercenary gesture, designed to procure more work once I'm back inside.

Just the same, I plan to redouble my efforts to be supportive in the future when someone I know is out on the line.

Speaking of which, I wonder what giving 5500 broadcasters/journalists a taste of the picket line will do for the future of the labour movement in this country. For starters, I'm guessing a whole lot of blue collar workers might just have found themselves a bunch of new friends.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Busy lives my arse! More like they can't be bothered. You realize who your true friends are in a crisis. Remember that.

4:04 PM  

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