Originally posted by janiecakes
you'd just better bring those strikers some donuts and be nice to them!
and then on sunday i am going to convince you that you DO support unions.
Originally posted by Vidman
^^^ that's the point... piss everyone off so their bosses have no choice but to do it their way or negotiate
Driver and vehicle licensing, health-care registration, social programs, and production of birth, marriage and death certificates are among the first services affected by the job action of 45,000 provincial public servants who went on strike at 12:01 this morning.
But all crucial services affecting public health and safety such as jails, psychiatric hospitals, water treatment plants, welfare cheque production and the courts will operate as usual.
Talks between the Ontario Public Service Employees Union and the government broke down at 10:30 a.m. yesterday, and both sides had not returned to the bargaining table at press time, union spokesperson Katie FitzRandolph said.
The union's contract expired Dec. 31 and its members are in a legal strike position. At issue are cuts to programs, wages, a government demand for changes in the union's pension plan, and job security and benefits.
"Clearly, the employer is not interested in dialoguing with us about rebuilding our public services," union president Leah Casselman told reporters yesterday.
"(The government negotiators) certainly have our cellphone numbers if they want to call and resume bargaining."
Earlier, Management Board Chair David Tsubouchi alleged that ambulance dispatchers in Hamilton had threatened not to answer 911 calls in the event of a strike.
"I think it's disgraceful, frankly, that there would be any consideration of putting people's lives at risk," he said. "These people have already been designated as essential services and part of their job ... is, in fact, to answer 911 calls."
But Casselman said the government never asked 911 dispatchers to be part of the essential service agreement it had reached with the union in negotiations.
"Neither in this round or the last round (of negotiations) had the employer asked that answering the phone be an essential work," she said. "But our workers are committed to ensuring there are public safety (services) in Ontario ... part of that is answering the phone whether the employer thinks that it is an essential service or not."
The government's offer included a 1.95 per cent raise in each of three years for general OPSEU members, an immediate 10 per cent wage increase for nurses working at provincially run hospitals, and 8 per cent increases for provincial scientists and ambulance dispatchers.
The union is demanding a 5 per cent raise in each of three years, plus special hikes in positions where it's hard to hire and retain staff.
Essential services forbidden by law from participating in strikes include jails, public health laboratories, psychiatric hospitals, the Ontario Clean Water Agency, welfare cheque production and court workers.
About 30,000 other Ontario civil servants will be on the picket lines.
Health facilities and services will stay open, but new or replacement health cards will not be available. The ministry INFOline will be closed.
Driver examinations will be cancelled, and no new or replacement driver's licences will be processed.
Registrar-General offices will be closed to people seeking birth, death, or marriage certificates. No registrations or business incorporations will be processed.
Ontario Student Assistance Program services will be closed, as will residences at schools for deaf, blind and other disabled students, and education and employment training information centres.
Ontario's public services have been cut to the bone by the governing Conservatives and it is time for the government to rebuild the system, Casselman said.
"After Walkerton, after the Andersen Consulting fiasco, after scathing provincial auditor's reports, the Mike Harris government still hasn't grasped that there is a crisis in Ontario, and that it's a crisis in public services.
"The government isn't in a financial crisis,'' Casselman said. ``The economy has turned around quite dramatically. They have money for a corporate tax cut; they have money for private schools; they have money for Mr. Harris — yet another legal battle in relation to Ipperwash.
``We think that if they want to invest in public services, they are ready to pay for it now."
Casselman said the union has a reserve fund of $27 million; a strike will cost it about $5 million a week. "We have had the support from all the other unions. We will have enough money for whatever it takes," she said. "So how long will the strike lead? It depends on the government's decision."
The union also asked Mike Harris to get involved, even though he is stepping down as Premier March 23.
Tsubouchi said that, as of last night, the two sides were still about $250 million apart on money. "Salaries are at the bottom of this," he insisted.