Archive for October, 2007

Vancouver mulls complaint over picket lines
City says it will go before Labour Relations Board if resolution can’t be found with outside workers over where they can protest

The Canadian Press
October 12, 2007

VANCOUVER — The City of Vancouver may be filing a complaint with the Labour Relations Board if members of a CUPE local don’t stop picketing at park board sites.

City spokesman Jerry Dobrovolny said yesterday that some members of Local 1004 showed up to picket as inside staff from Local 15 tried to go back to work after a three-month civic strike.

Mr. Dobrovolny said city representatives will try to resolve the matter by meeting with executives of the picketing outside workers’ local.

“If we have a fundamental difference of opinion about what is a legitimate or not a legitimate picket line then we would go to the Labour Relations Board for a ruling,” he said.

Indoor workers returned yesterday after walking off the job in July, but outside workers and librarians voted against a mediator’s proposed deal and remain on the picket line.

That means that while community centres will start some of their fall programs, those attached to libraries may still be behind picket lines.

Garbage pickup still won’t resume for Vancouver residents, who have found some creative ways to deal with their trash – mostly by taking it to the homes of friends and family living in condos with private pickup or to neighbouring municipalities that contract out such services.

“My brother lives in Vancouver so he brings me a gift whenever he comes over,” said Mr. Dobrovolny, a resident of New Westminster.

Some people have taken to dumping their trash in back alleys or wherever they see fit while others have paid someone to dispose of their garbage for up to $10 a bag.

Councillor Peter Ladner said that when it comes to garbage piling up, the strike may lead to a change in the definition of essential service for health reasons.

“It’s not an essential service to pick up garbage every week or two or even every month. But it may be an essential service to pick it up every three months.”

Mr. Ladner said managers and other staff exempt from the strike have been working overtime so dumped garbage doesn’t create an even bigger mess.

“We’ve had the managers going around and picking through the garbage and taking it back to the people who dumped it,” he said, adding that address labels in the trash have come in handy.

As the strike continues, some Vancouver residents say they’re owed a rebate on their tax dollars because they haven’t received the service they’ve paid for while the city has saved on wages for three months.

“No question about it, there have been huge inconveniences and disruptions to people’s lives in the city because of the strike,” Mr. Ladner said.

But the labour disruption has come at a hefty cost, he said, including a $1,000 signing bonus for those who are now back on the job and overtime pay for managers trying to keep the garbage problem under control.

Lost revenue from golf courses and community centres has also added up to a lot of money, he said.

“We won’t know for several months what the actual savings, if any, are and in the event that there are savings we have already passed a motion to council that they would be rolled into next year’s budget.”

“It’s important that people don’t expect a separate cheque in the mail.”

Union officials couldn’t be reached for comment.

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Cars hit by firebombs

Cars hit by firebombs

By DAVENE JEFFREY Staff Reporter
The Chronicle Herald [Halifax, Nova Scotia]
Fri. Oct 12, 2007

At least a couple of cars at Sackville Fine Cars were looking less than fine Thursday morning after the business was hit by a number of Molotov cocktails.

The incident happened in the very early morning Thursday at 476 Sackville Dr., but RCMP are releasing few details.

“We got it all on tape,” said an employee, who asked not to have his name printed. Security cameras cover the entire lot and captured images of a masked man throwing the flaming bottles around the establishment.

Late Thursday morning, RCMP officers and a Halifax Regional Fire Service investigator were on scene. Part of the parking lot was cordoned off by yellow police tape.

Two firebombs hit the back of two buildings causing some black scorching and melted some vinyl siding on one of the buildings.

What appeared to be a broken and blackened beer bottle with some type of fabric hanging out of the neck could be seen on the pavement between two parked cars.

The side of each car had black scorch marks but no obvious other damage.

Despite the on-going investigation, the used-car lot remained open for business Thursday.

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No matter how vote goes, many ‘not coming back’
Many fed-up workers finding other jobs

Ian Austin, The Province
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Strike or no strike, plenty of city workers likely won’t be going back to their jobs.

With a hot economy and a bitter strike, many fed-up city workers have decided to cash in their chips and work elsewhere.

“We’ve lost eighty per cent of our mechanics, and they’re not coming back,” said Frank Crnkovic, a city truck driver for 32 years who’s found work on the side and was casting a no vote yesterday.

“Sixty-five per cent of our members are working.

“The union sanctioned us to go to work, so why not?” But while many of his colleagues are leaving their jobs, Crnkovic won’t be among those deserting the city’s payroll.

“I’ve been here 32 years, and I’ve only got two years until I retire. There’s no way I’m giving that up,” he said.

Most members of CUPE 1004 voting yesterday at the Maritime Labour Centre in Vancouver kept their vote to themselves, but the prospects for a successful yes vote seemed grim.

Union leaders had urged the outside workers to vote “no” to mediator Brian Foley’s recommendations. The local requires a two-thirds majority before accepting a labour offer.

Park maintenance worker Mick Penman was following the union party line and turning down the city’s wage package.

“I’m voting no,” he said.

Foley’s package aimed at ending the 82-day strike had included a recommended five-year deal with a 17.5-per-cent wage hike and a $1,000 signing bonus.

Penman claimed that management is getting paid colossal wages and is picking and choosing what parts of the city to clean up.

“Those managers are getting $77 an hour to do our jobs,” he alleged.

“If you look at the west side, all the parks are perfect. And the parks on the east side are pigsties.

“And people on the east side are paying their taxes, just like those on the west side.”

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VSO cancels shows, blames CUPE pickets

Kelly Sinoski, Vancouver Sun, with files from Neal Hall
Published: Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra has cancelled or rescheduled several concerts — including its Classical Musical Tour tonight — because of “violent and obstructive behaviour” by striking city workers outside the Orpheum Theatre.

The VSO’s decision, announced Tuesday, comes just days after a 54-year-old union member, William George McClure, was arrested and charged with assault of a city employee at the Orpheum on Saturday night. He is a member of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 15, which represents inside city workers.

Police said a man was arrested at Granville and Smithe after an altercation outside the theatre.

The VSO’s season-opening concerts on Saturday and Monday went ahead as planned after the B.C. Labour Relations Board granted an interim order that prevented third-party picketing at the Orpheum’s stage door.

Civic workers were ordered to leave the stage door clear so musicians and technicians could go in.

However, pickets weren’t prohibited at the public entrances to the theatre on Granville, Seymour and Smithe streets.

VSO spokeswoman Kelley Spragg said in a statement Tuesday that the VSO decided not to hold other planned concerts because it was “strongly concerned for the safety and welfare of our customers, musicians, administrative staff, and volunteers.

“We believe that safety is of paramount importance — a belief that has led to the decisions made regarding the [future] concerts,” she said.

She said the conduct of CUPE members on the picket lines for the season-opening concerts “resulted in violent and obstructive behaviour, some of which required police action to mitigate.”

Ticket-holders for tonight’s cancelled concert should call Ticketmaster for refunds.

The Tea & Trumpets concert set for Thursday has been rescheduled to April 10 at 2 p.m. at the Orpheum. Tickets for the concert will be honoured on the April date.

The VSO Pops concerts, slated for Friday and Saturday at the Orpheum, have also been cancelled. Ticket-holders are asked to keep their tickets as the concert will likely be rescheduled.

The CUPE strike is in its 76th day today.

The Orpheum is a multi-purpose facility that houses members of unions not involved in the civic strike. Production-related aspects of VSO concerts, such as lighting and sound, are governed by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which represents technicians and are not a CUPE responsibility.

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Private garbage collector alleges harassment by striking workers

Monday, October 1, 2007
CBC News

The owner of a private garbage collection company alleges that striking Vancouver civic workers followed him home, harassed him and vandalized his truck.

Ray Donkor, who owns Discount Rubbish Removal, told CBC News that on Sept. 10, he was out collecting trash in Vancouver when he was followed by a man he believes was a striking civic worker.

“He started yelling at me, abusing me, so many bad words,” Donkor told the CBC on Monday morning.

“And then, about three minutes, another two guys pull up, the same city workers, and then two of them started going around on my truck, behind and front, so I didn’t even know that they pulled something out,” said Donkor.

His two children, ages 13 and 11, were home at the time and heard the disturbance, said Donkor.

A neighbour also heard the yelling and called the police, who arrived after the men had left, said Donkor. The police inspected his truck and told him some wires had been tampered with, he said.

About 1,800 outside workers represented by CUPE Local 1004, who are responsible for duties including garbage pickup, have been on strike since July 20.

After the incident, Mike Jackson, CUPE 1004 president, visited Donkor’s home and offered him a $150 settlement, Donkor said, but he refused the cash because he first wanted to consult with a lawyer.

When contacted, CUPE officials declined to comment on the alleged harassment and damage to Donkor’s vehicle, saying it was a “legal matter.”

Vancouver police confirmed to CBC News that Donkor had filed a complaint following the incident.

Donkor said he is now back working and considering taking his case to court.

Civic inside workers, who carry out municipal duties inside city hall as well as parking enforcement, joined the strike three days after the outside workers.

The city’s 800 library staff, represented by CUPE Local 391, have been off the job since July 26, closing 22 library branches.

Currently all three unions and the city are working with independent mediators to reach settlements. Votes on the mediators’ recommendations are expected sometime this week.

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Anarchists Rock the Royal Bank of Canada

[Contributed anonymously to infoshop.org/inews. Please note that the correct spelling of the following names is Gabriel Pombo da Silva and Marco Camenisch.]

September 29th, 2007
Coast Salish Territory (Vancouver), British Columbia

Windows of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) at Hastings and Nanaimo were relieved of their structural integrity by a small group of anarchists in the late evening with the help of fist-sized stones.

This action was done in solidarity with anarchists Gabriel Pommo da Silva, Jose Fernandez Delgado, Marcos Comanish, who were on hunger strike in European prisons. As well as to contribute to the actions taking place worldwide on this international day of action.

RBC was hit because it is a bank. A fundamental institution which reproduces Capital. The very system (at the service and profit of a bunch of vultures) that exploits people world-wide and destroys life in general; as it simultaneously creates spectacular events of repression. Such as the 2010 Olympics, which is conveniently sponsored by RBC.

Capitalism, with its prisons and banks, like RBC, exist worldwide.
Let the road to the Olympics be littered with the wreckage we leave in their place!


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Guelph: Anarchists Cast Bricks Instead of Ballots

[Contributed anonymously to news.infoshop.org]

Early Monday morning on October 1, 2007 in Guelph Ontario both the political campaign offices of the liberal candidate Liz Sandals, and Conservative candidate Bob Senechal were vandalised and their windows smashed. Liz Sandals campaign office had the Statement “YOUR NOT LISTENING”, while Bob Senechal’s office had “PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE FASCIST OUT OF GUELPH! With a Large CIRCLE A on the edifice”

It is election season in Ontario and this year we cast bricks instead of ballots. In Guelph the electoral circus has already been won without anyone having to vote. You can choose one of three neo-liberal, pro-capitalist candidates. It doesn’t matter what their names are, or where they want to set up immigrant detention centers, how much they want to cut taxes, the guise is wearing thin. What is important is our choice; The choice to validate or tear apart a system that destroys the lives of so many of us! Today we take misery by the throat, and shake the world of resignation that envelopes us. Those with ungovernable spirits have election parties in the streets, We dance in joy as the state falls apart around us!!!

The Anarchists

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