Christmastime in the Emerald City

{April 27, 2008}   Dear TTC: You Officially Pissed Me Off

When’s the last time you got a raise? Just a general survey here, is anyone absolutely rolling in it? Is anybody else encouraged to simply stop doing their job because they don’t get paid enough? No? Well all y’all are apparently schmucks, because it seems all you need to do to get whatever your little heart desires is sign up for a pair of grey shorts as a member of one of several unions related to various job positions within the Toronto Transit Commission, hereafter known as “you jackass sons of whores.”

Let me back up and explain a little bit of what’s going on. The TTC employees, responsible for running our busses, streetcars and subways, as well as all the eletrical work and safety considerations etc. that go hand in hand with running any large-scale organization intended for public benefit, have gotten a little pissy lately. Like everyone on this great green earth, they want more money. They also want more benefits, and whatever else they’ve been yammering about. Currently, they only receive 70% of their income if they have to take time off due to a work related injury, including assault from shadier members of Toronto’s vast public. And yes, it might suck to have your income drop because of an incident beyond your control – but you’re still getting paid despite your absence in the economy, just like everyone else fortunate enough to work for an organization that provides these benefits in the first place. A hell of a lot of us are shit out of luck if we break our leg or sprain our ankle. And you may run the risk of having some punk ass kid take a swing at you because he doesn’t like your face or system, but my job isn’t without it’s risks. I’ve had some serious nutcases in my little reception area, and I’m pretty sure one of them declared Jihad on me. More than once I’ve had to have security escort someone out, but that’s just part of my much-slimmer-in-the-general-wallet-vicinity type job, now isnt’ it?

Now, I’m not saying how it currently goes is necessarily right. After all, it’s not my fault I fell down the stairs (maybe….) But I do think that’s one of those things where it’s just the way it is. And if you do want to change it, simply not doing your job isn’t really the way to go. Shit, if you don’t like a law, change the way you vote. You could maybe go against the law if you’re willing to spend some time rattling your donation cup against the bars and having your friends hand out pamphlets up about two blocks from me, but it’s not all glitz and glamour behind those iron rods of injustice. The simple fact is that the majority of us have no choice but to suck it up and do our jobs in order to pay our bills and put our kids through college. 

But no. The TTC can decide to strike. If I were to go on strike, you know what would happen? I’d be replaced within five minutes by the next doe-eyed multitasker ready to abandon all hope for the future of humanity in exchange for a meagre paycheque. Yes, that does give you a glimpse into my average day. If I wasn’t so good at ranting about it, I wouldn’t love my job so much. But I digress: the point is, I can’t go on strike. It wouldn’t work. It wouldn’t work for just about anybody. The TTC on the other hand, has the city by the short n’ curlies and so can just up and walk away and get handed whatever the fuck they want. Why? Because we as a city had the super smarts to think “Hey, cars aren’t really the best option around here. Gridlock and terrible smog, and the rising cost of fuel and parking and such. Lets build a city-wide infrastructure to support the commute of MILLIONS of people every day at a fraction of the cost of driving.” Good idea! So many benefits with just a few downsides, one of them being the apparent superiority complex given to every beer gutted bastard sitting behind the wheel of a bus.

Some people don’t get to strike. Some jobs are considered an essential service. The nurses went on strike once, back about the time I smashed my clumsy toddler head into the wooden arm of a couch and needed stitches – put in by my DAD, thanks a lot. Traumatizing much? (For him, not me.) And since then, they’ve been made an essential service. This means they can’t strike, but they do get paid a lot (Yes, I know our health care system is ridiculously underfunded, that is a systematic flaw. I know how much nurses make, and I’ll dip my hands in guts for that kind of dough any day.) And there has been a lot of talk about making the TTC an essential service. I know it seems kind of odd to look at the roster there: firefighters, nurses, doctors, policemen, and the TTC unions. Four out of five save your lives on a daily basis. The other one gets you to work. Yeah, sweet, that job I’m sure you love so much. However, as a city, we do need the TTC to function. So there are a lot of pros and cons to making them an essential service, because while it would prevent strikes, it would also give them the right to a lot of stuff – not for stitching wounds and dragging babies out of burning buildings, but for driving a bus all day. And while it is essential, something about that just doesn’t sit right with me. And something apparently doesn’t sit right with those who actually make the decisions, because our government has been hemming and hawwing in their quintessential Canadian sort of way.

Anyways, carrying on. They nearly went on strike about a week ago, and there was a whole shitload of “Will they? Won’t they? What the hell are we going to do?” going on. And so the TTC agreed to at least give the city 48 hours notice before going on strike so that the majority of us who rely so heavily on them could make alternate arrangements. Last weekend, they decided not to strike. They accepted the deal on the table for the time being and kept on truckin’ (or bussin’, rather) throughout the week until it could be officially voted on. Friday at midnight: not a fucking bus in sight! Stranded! Not me, personally, once I’m home I don’t really go anywhere I can’t walk to, because, um, I live downtown and that’s the benefit of paying ridiculously high rent. But yeah, right out of nowhere! Never mind two days notice, we got about two hours notice.

This, tactically, was a shitty move. Firstly, who the hell are you trying to paralyze in a city of commuters on the weekend? I’m not denying that some people were very definitely fucked, but overall, not very effective. Secondly, that gives the city 48 hours to retaliate to your ongoing bullshit. So what did our government do? Well, they didn’t declare them an essential service. That’s a very permanent move to make on such short notice. Instead, all three parties of our provincial legislation got together and put a nifty little bill on the table that was passed within half an hour. It said essentially this:

Dear TTC,

You have officially pissed us off. Yes, you may have the city by the short hairs, but you’re forgetting who can smack down the law ’round these here parts. You didn’t hold up your end of the 48 hour deal. So you want to play hardball? Here’s hardball: either get your asses back to work on Monday and settle your shit, or pay $2000 per employee (of which there are a LOT) and $25,000 per union for every single day this idiocy carries on. You also have five days to find someone to help you settle your shit, or we’ll pick one for you. You also owe the city of Toronto an apology.

Dear Toronto,

Please don’t beat up transit workers on Monday, that’ll only give them more fuel for their whining, blubbering fire.

So there! Take that you assholes! Try to hold my life hostage, will you? Just because we need you to function on a daily basis doesn’t change that fact that you DRIVE A BUS!!!!!! I still love my TTC as a system, because I love that we have taken on such a green, sustainable, economically friendly infrastructure and made it something that is really essential. But goddamn if I don’t hate the day-to-day assholes who yessssss keep it running (*clenches fists*), but who whine ceaselessly about it.

My solution? Get a couple of blogs, jerkfaces! Venting does the body good.



talea says:

Ah, you read my mind. I too am writing a blog about my favourite union…the TTC. Fuck you, you overprivileged, greedy sons of bitches.
Feel the wrath of my anonymous internet comments! Feeeeeeeeel it!!!!

romi41 says:

You girls carry the fury of Toronto scorned very well…I am also affected and annoyed by the TTC…it’s an essential service for me to get to work, but I am also horny, so I wrote about men in tonight’s blog (surprised?)….hahahha….I love you guys 😉

Bus drivers here in Arizona (and the rest of the country I’m sure) make a pretty nice wage, as well as have some pretty sweet benefits, but this doesn’t stop them from pulling the same shit from time to time.

The only difference here is that I live in an automobile happy society, so such a strike doesn’t have all that great of an effect. I wish we did have a better transit system (super green and all that), not so I could suffer and vent along with you, but because it sounds like a great idea. 🙂

I hope all is back to normal ASAP for all of you there. Until then, cut your spending and enjoy your time off. 😉

aniche says:

damn, ur pissed off!

I got my first pay rise this year in the job that i have been at for going on 3 years. It went up a whopping 20cents!

Stupid TTC. We all need fucken money Petrol’s up food is up The fucken prime minister wont take the tax of food (12.5% on food and we have DOUBLE tax on petrol) Do you see us on strike? No.

Yes, the general consensus is that nobody appreciates whiney bastards. A

Aniche, welcome to my blog. I generally only write when I’m pissed off, cause it keeps me from doing something regrettable or otherwise punishable by law. Unless I’m gushing about my boyfriend, but he’s just as hardcore, so that doesn’t really count.

Queenie: Dude, that tax blows chunks n’ junk. Lame. I’d start stealing food just to prove a point. Unlike in University where I did it because I was poor and also creative.

If you only write when you are pissed off then someone needs to piss you off more. You vent really well.

Raises seem to be a thing of the past. I haven’t gotten one in a while either, but meanwhile, gas goes up and up. Working is stupid.

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