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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Friday, September 02, 2005

It's Good Exercise, If Nothing Else

After my obnoxious lecture advising people to watch their eating and smoking habits during the lockout, several people confessed to me yesterday that they have indeed gained four or five pounds, staying home moping or spending too much time in front of the computer. Picketing like the folks above (this view from Wellington Street, the Broadcast Centre's east side) effectively reverses this trend.

Wear comfortable shoes.

Yesterday's Picketing...

Yesterday was another ten hour day. I was in a good mood most of the day, but around four o'clock started feeling kind of wonky. I realized I wasn't drinking enough fluids, and the water situation on the line isn't one hundred percent ideal, although much of it is my own fault. They have water coolers, but you have to bring your own container, which is cool, except I either A. forget to bring one, or B. destroy or lose the one I do have. Especially if it's a styrofoam cup I'm carrying. One lap and that thing's crumbs in my hand.

So I bought a milkshake and a bottle of water from a nearby ice cream truck and soon felt much better. The milkshake's won't become a habit; trying to follow my own advice and retain my girlish figure, such as it is... and I am aware that this last paycheque was half a paycheque, and represents the last pay we'll get in a while. So I must perforce become more fiscally prudent.

Plus I must say that the ice cream truck guy was not friendly, which is strange. I've bought ice creams from this same fellow relatively often over the years, and he's always been friendly. But I had my picket sign on this time and he was about as frosty as his treats. Some anti-labour sentiment there? Or has he lost business what with the locked out employees cutting back on their treats? If so, he would do well not to alienate the customers he does have.

About midway through my day I volunteered to be a picket captain. They were happy to have me, although a spot didn't open up until 6pm. Had you viewed the Live Outside CBC Toronto Cam between 6 and 8pm you would have seen me picket captaining happily away, hobnobbing with burly security guards Biff and Dirk, who were only too happy to reveal their martial arts experience and share their war stories, in which spine injuries and dislocated jaws figure prominently. Injuries not necessarily restricted to the security guards. Apparently this is the same company that attempted to intimidate CEP members the last time round. I said they seem much more approachable this time. Biff informed me that it was the nature of the company back then to be more intimidating. Now they are kindler, gentler thugs.

Curious, I asked Biff what would happen if we all foolishly got it into our heads to storm the entrance, perform some kind of a sit-in. There's only three or four of you, I pointed out. He told me that they can sense when something of that nature is brewing. They'd bring in about fifty more guys in heavy protective gear and "gear up." They would not be afraid to knock some heads. Indeed Biff, who described himself as a "nice guy," appeared to positively relish the notion of physical violence. "It's the adrenaline rush," he confessed.

I met several inside workers, plenty of managers. They seemed to make it a point to talk to me, in direct contrast to the famous Fred and Krista memo circulating recently. The memo came up in conversation, of course. One manager reminded me that the memo was written before the lock-out began, and he believed that it was sent to a small group of employees. In any case, everybody seemed to feel that it was a woefully misguided memo, indicating an unfortunate lack of common sense, and few (if anybody) are following it.

Before I hit the train for home a friend told me a story about his uncle, who was a dock worker in St. John New Brunswick in the years between the wars. When a new guy came in to work, they'd ask him to sign up as a member of the union. If he refused, they'd pick him up and throw him off the dock. If he cried for help, they'd say, "Give us your hand, brother, and we'll be happy to help you."

After which they'd help him out, dry him off, give him something warm to eat and drink and send him home to his wife and kids. Usually they came back the next day and signed.

Or so the story goes.


Blogger Laurence said...

Hmmm. Last post last night 12:30, first this morning 9:30.
And yesterday was a 10 hour day........
Workerbee, I believe that your work habits are getting the better of you.
A lesson all round in motivating the workers perhaps????

11:37 a.m.  
Blogger cbcworkerbee said...

They don't call me "worker" bee for nuthin'! :-)

6:18 p.m.  

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