Out of touch: When was the last time YOU asked your boss for a 20% raise?


Welcome to 2011, folks.

For those of you playing along at home, the recession begin on September 15th, 2008 and is showing no signs of nearing an end. Consumer confidence is at an all-time low, people are losing their jobs, and their houses, and those coming out of school are looking for work – but alas, the selection is slim.  Especially challenging for this group of recent grads, is that the recession has taken its toll on many sectors and thus they are competing with an out of work candidate who has actual on the job experience…

Things are not good.

So maybe for all of us lucky enough to have jobs, we should go into our bosses and ask… No, we should demand a 20% pay increase over the next three-years, right now!

Stop laughing.  I’m serious!

This is exactly what the transit workers in York Region have done. Sure, they have been on strike for a month inconveniencing only 45,000 riders, but come on… Fact: These guys are under-paid compared to their counterparts. 

Coincidently, this is the region’s second transit strike in four years. This time, however, the striking Viva drivers are joined by their YRT counterparts (strength in numbers, eh?), and this current ongoing stoppage has already lasted two weeks longer than the 2008 strike.

Parent company, Miller Transit said it offered a 13.5% wage increase over a five-year contract. But the union was demanding 20% over three years. The drivers are cited as saying its not about the money, but rather the working conditions, and length of shifts without breaks. So if it’s not about the money, let’s forget the increase, count them lucky to have jobs and cut in 2-15 minute breaks.

Union heads admit that even at 20% it’s virtually impossible for their members to catch up with their counterparts in Toronto, Brampton and Mississauga, who earn about $7 an hour more — about $29, compared with $22.

So how about putting the people first?  The riders who are responsible for these transit workers’ jobs. 

I really feel like the union, the drivers, and the Ontario government have failed York Region commuters once again.

For those who complain that the Federal Conservatives stopped Air Canada from striking and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford made the TTC an essential service, you now see what you get when you elect a Liberal leader, especially one like Dalton, or worse, the pro-union, #takemyballandgohome NDP.

The longer this lingers the greater is the chance that the next government in Ontario, a Conservative one, will make them an essential service too.

Given my views on unions, having spent almost 11 years working in one, I can sympathize with the drivers if there are working 8-10 hour shifts and have infrequent breaks.  These guys need to be sharp to drive these busses safely and they gotta go potty (as my 2yo daughter would say).  Those are legitimate concerns.  But to turn down a 13.5% increase over 5 years and to publicly seek a 20% increase over 3 years take a lot of guts.  Would this not but these guys in that 1% that the Occupy groups detest?  Are the Occupy folks not protesting against greed?  Considering the numbers of people losing jobs since 2008, it’s pretty outrageous of the transit workers to seek such are large increase.

Even at 13.5% over 3 years, it’s respectable.

Remember the way unions bargain, folks.  13.5% today, then another transit union will want more money to be on par with York Region, then another will want to be on par with that transit union, and then the TTC will be up for renegotiation and see all the smaller unions making so much that they’ll want an increase and we’ve come full circle… 

It’s not the transit workers fault at all.

It’s the union.

It’s just like how the New York Yankees drove up salaries in baseball and how the New York Rangers drove up salaries in hockey.  It’s also what is currently keeping the NBA players from playing right now. 

So let’s use some common sense and get back to work!  For everyone.

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