Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Shipments in and out of B.C. ports threatened as Friday strike deadline looms

with one comment

Canadian Press

A strike is imminent in BC’s ports – and this piece does some breast beating about how bad that would be. But buried in the middle of the story is this gem

Local 514 workers have been without a contract since March 2007

I am not going to take sides in a dispute I know nothing about, but we have to recognize brinkmanship when we see it. Nearly two years have been allowed to go by. And no doubt negotiations have been tough – but somebody at that table was certainly pushing things beyond reasonable limits. And pointing to the current state of the economy is just pure politics

In a letter recent letter to federal labour minister Rona Ambrose, [Vancouver Port CEO Gordon] Houston said a strike would “significantly impact most of Canada’s west coast supply chains at a critical time in our economic history.”

In other words he is preparing the way to push for legislation to get the strikers back to work – once we get parliament back in session.

Of course there is always the other way. Actually bargain in good faith and come up with a compromise with disatisfies each side equally – you can’t always get what you want, but if you try you can get what you need.

Written by Stephen Rees

December 30, 2008 at 11:52 am

Posted in Transportation

One Response

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  1. I have been in a somewhat similar situation but because we were a small union local in a small company a few of us (workers) read the riot act to both the union staff at the headquarters and our latest C.E.O. reminding them of the old philosophical riddle: “of the master and the slave who is the most important?” and got a contract settled within a year (still too long). Our company was non-union for something like 50 years then one day the C.E.O was sacked and 2 managers ran around the building telling the staff and other managers that we would all be sacked and replaced by their friends and relatives. One week later we had signed with a union. Our first contract gave us a much higher pay and lots of benefits. the managers got a better pay and benefits too–until then their only benefit was very flexible hours. After the dust settled, and every time thereafter a new manager or new C.E.O complained about unions we (read me and my very big mouth) told them that if we had been promised job security and benefits comparable to those of unionized workers in our industry we would never had joined a union. Workers who are treated fairly and decently are the most important resource a company can have. C.E.Os and managers come and go (I worked for 4 C.E.O and dozen of managers in 25 years) but long time workers who, for the majority, want to do the best job they possibly can, come up with great ideas and inventions etc. to the benefit of both the company and themselves. Any executive who isn’t familiar with the company products–as many are –and think that workers are disposable is a danger to his company.

    Red frog

    December 30, 2008 at 10:07 pm


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