Photo by m.gifford.
It was a common pastime last year to trade stories about where you were when the TTC made the surprise announcement to strike close to midnight on a Friday. Transit users everywhere tried to one-up their friends with how far from their destinations they were stranded and how long it took them to get a cab, and those stories will be the lasting legacy of the strike. But while there might still be some lingering bitterness towards the TTC, it’s nothing compared to the frustration and exasperation people in Ottawa are feeling towards their OC Transpo, City Hall, and Mayor Larry O’Brien.
There are no heroes in their story, only villains, and the public, as always, is left in the middle. While we had a swift resolution last April, OC Transpo workers have been on strike since December 10. The cab fares add up after all that time, as does the lost revenue for local businesses. OC Transpo workers recently turned down a 7.25 per cent wage increase over three years because the core of their issue deals with the convoluted and difficult-to-explain scheduling and seniority system that management are trying to take away from them.
Turning down a massive wage increase hasn’t gained the union much support, but Transpo management and City Hall aren’t winning much favour either. Short of bringing out the fire hose, City Hall has been trying old-style union busting techniques, such as clandestine meetings behind closed doors and publicly admonishing any councillor who comes out in support of the union. There have been no official negotiations between the two groups since December 23—simply put, nobody is even trying to end this thing. Toronto could have had it so much worse.