Workers trash Montréal City Hall to protest attacks on pensions

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Unionist
Workers trash Montréal City Hall to protest attacks on pensions

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Unionist

[url=http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Firefighters+supporters+invade+Montr..., supporters invade Montreal city hall:[/url]

Quote:

Dozens of Montreal firefighters and municipal employees protesting pension reforms stormed city hall Monday night, pushing past security guards trying to hold the doors closed and marauding through the city’s ornate seat of power.

They tossed papers throughout the building and in council chambers five minutes before city council was scheduled to begin its evening session. They threw water at city councillors who refused to leave, blew horns and whistles, and hoisted a banner in council inscribed “Coderre Voleur.”

Several protesters ran upstairs, trying to find Mayor Denis Coderre as security guards shuttled him from room to room to evade their pursuers. Witnesses reported protesters banged on doors trying to get in and tried to force the heavy wooden doors open. On-duty police officers, wearing their current uniform of red baseball caps and camouflage pants to show their displeasure with the Liberal government’s pension reforms, stood by outside. City councillor Marc-André Gadoury said protesters threw water on him and that one punched him in the side. Witnesses said police officers were among the protesters.

And the great hero Richard Bergeron weighs in:

Quote:

Councillors resumed their meeting at 8 p.m., one hour after schedule, taking questions from members of the public as previously planned. First, however, Coderre was greeted with a standing ovation by councillors, opposition included. He called the protests unacceptable and promised councillors they would not be intimidated in fulfilling their democratic obligations.

Opposition leader Richard Bergeron of Projet Montréal said unions had lost the little public support they might have had.

“You are not helping yourselves,” he told them.

 

Slumberjack

Eventually they'll need to hire minimum wage security forces to deal with the disgruntled unionized cops who have come to realize that they and their families are next in the neoliberal scheme of things.

DaveW

factually, Bergeron is quite right,  cops and firefighters ARE quickly losing any public support they had

 ... that eventually means defeat in negotiations, which I would certainly predict now, partially thanks to this:

http://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/montreal/201408/18/01-4792699-saccage-a-lhotel-de-ville.php

cco

There won't be any negotiations. The Liberals will try for a year to get unions to agree to their position, then legislate it anyway. They've made that perfectly clear.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

We should support en masse our fire fighters and police officers.

Perhaps then they would change their perspective about anti-austerity protests in general.

It also exposes their bosses as heavy handed and overbearing.

Unionist

DaveW wrote:

factually, Bergeron is quite right,  cops and firefighters ARE quickly losing any public support they had

 ... that eventually means defeat in negotiations, which I would certainly predict now, partially thanks to this:

http://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/montreal/201408/18/01-4792699-saccage-a-lhotel-de-ville.php

"Public support" helps defeat Bill 3 exactly... how? I missed that train of thought.

Meanwhile, in other news, rioting people of colour lose public support in Ferguson...

 

jeffblackman jeffblackman's picture

"We should support en masse our fire fighters and police officers."

 

Why?

jeffblackman jeffblackman's picture

"We should support en masse our fire fighters and police officers."

 

I mean, would you be down there in Ferguson standing in support of the militarized police? Do you seriously put the needs of unions over basic law & order? Like, if we're going to have cops they should enforce the law.... not turn their heads when it benefits their bargaining position.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

jeffblackman wrote:

"We should support en masse our fire fighters and police officers."

 

I mean, would you be down there in Ferguson standing in support of the militarized police? Do you seriously put the needs of unions over basic law & order? Like, if we're going to have cops they should enforce the law.... not turn their heads when it benefits their bargaining position.

No.

I was hoping aloud that this may change our police attitude about anti-austerity protests seeing that they themselves are falling victim to it.

I dare to dream,anyway.

Fuck law & order :P

Pondering

There is video evidence. Some police did try to prevent the mayhem but others did not. Those who did not will be disciplined. All the protesters were not involved either. It was a small number that used the crowd. Those who attacked security guards or vandalized City Hall should be criminally charged.

My taxes pay for the damage but more importantly if this kind of behavior is tolerated it will continue to happen, maybe at City Hall, maybe elsewhere. Blatant public vandalism with mutiple witnesses needs to be nipped in the bud. You want to call attention to the cause, have a 24 hour sit in.

Secondly, public employees need to understand the many of the people paying for their salaries and pensions have a lower income and no pension at all. Public infrastructure needs work, low income housing, and city services in general are stressed. We are paying more and more user fees.

The argument I have heard that the contracts were negotiated in good faith and that pension benefits were accepted in lieu of salary increases. That it is true doesn't mean they were reasonable and if it isn't reasonable then it cannot continue in perpetuity and must be renegotiated. The government is claiming that people are living longer than expected which means it is more expensive than was foreseen therefore the funds simply aren't available. If that is true then pensions have to be renegotiated. If it's not true, then that is the argument the unions have to communicate to the public.

I have come to understand that low interest rates are yet another means of taking from the poor to give to the rich.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

You constantly display an anti-union animus. No wonder you are a fucking Liberal.

lagatta

Yes, depriving workers with pension benefits of those does absolutely nothing for poorer and more precarious workers, on the contrary. It drags the entire working class down, for those who understand that there is a working class (and that both the Cons and the Liberals are its enemies).

Pondering

kropotkin1951 wrote:
You constantly display an anti-union animus. No wonder you are a fucking Liberal.

Then the union must be anti-union too because they are denouncing what happened. Apparently there were 250 demonstrators but only a small number broke into chambers and trashed the place but that's not the part that is emphasised in the news so the public is left with the vague impression that it was all the protesters or most of them.

Supporting unions doesn't mean agreeing with their every decision or position and as organizations individually they can be corrupted as evidenced by examples in Quebec construction. As institutions unions are required to protect workers from abusive practices but that shouldn't put them beyond criticism or beyond the law.

Hasn't union power been on decline for decades? Maybe that wouldn't be the case if unions spend more money on public outreach and education than on political parties. A settlement will eventually be imposed and the reason Coderre can get away with it is because he knows the public will back him. Couillard has a four year majority ahead of him so he will push his agenda through. Vandalizing city hall and physically pushing elected councillors around definitely won't help. A sincere appeal to the public might give unions some negotiating power.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

There you go doubling down on your anti-union rant. A true Liberal through and through.

Pondering

kropotkin1951 wrote:
There you go doubling down on your anti-union rant. A true Liberal through and through.
 

What did I say that you disagree with?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

babble is NOT intended as a place where the basic and fundamental values of human rights, feminism, anti-racism and labour rights are to be debated or refought. Anyone who joins babble who indicates intentions to challenge these rights and principles may be seen as disruptive to the nature of the forum.

Pondering

dp

lagatta

Amen. I'm very sympathetic to pondering with respect to other things, including a painful life history, but challenging labour rights is an injury to us all.

 

I have no pension, by the way.

 

 

Pondering

kropotkin1951 wrote:
babble is NOT intended as a place where the basic and fundamental values of human rights, feminism, anti-racism and labour rights are to be debated or refought. Anyone who joins babble who indicates intentions to challenge these rights and principles may be seen as disruptive to the nature of the forum.

Correct, so what's your problem? Vandalism isn't a labour right.

josh

Pondering wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:
babble is NOT intended as a place where the basic and fundamental values of human rights, feminism, anti-racism and labour rights are to be debated or refought. Anyone who joins babble who indicates intentions to challenge these rights and principles may be seen as disruptive to the nature of the forum.

Correct, so what's your problem? Vandalism isn't a labour right.

But pensions are. You clearly endorsed the race to the bottom in your opening post.

Pondering

josh wrote:
Pondering wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:
babble is NOT intended as a place where the basic and fundamental values of human rights, feminism, anti-racism and labour rights are to be debated or refought. Anyone who joins babble who indicates intentions to challenge these rights and principles may be seen as disruptive to the nature of the forum.

Correct, so what's your problem? Vandalism isn't a labour right.

But pensions are. You clearly endorsed the race to the bottom in your opening post.

No, I am not, I am saying unions have to do a better job of communicating with the public and I also said that with a majority Coulliard can force his legislation through. The only hope for stopping it is public support and even that is a longshot.

As a member of the public I have not heard a factual argument from the union countering the government's claims. If the claims aren't being countered then the public is going to believe the government.

The only justification I have heard is that it was negotiated in a contract long ago. That isn't a very good argument.

Now the story is all about the vandalism which will not pursuade the public that the unions are right.

Coulliard is at the beginning of his four year mandate. I think it is logical that he is going to get all his cuts in now so by the time the next election rolls around he can be Mr. Sunshine. It doesn't mean I WANT that to happen, only that I think it is the usual the way of things.

Unionist

Umm, fuck the "public".

Pondering

Unionist wrote:
Umm, fuck the "public".

Then don't be surprised when the "public" fucks you.

lagatta

Pondering, the "public" is not the people - any more than the "international community" is the people of the world.

DaveW

Unionist wrote:

DaveW wrote:

factually, Bergeron is quite right,  cops and firefighters ARE quickly losing any public support they had

 ... that eventually means defeat in negotiations, which I would certainly predict now, partially thanks to this:

http://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/montreal/201408/18/01-4792699-saccage-a-lhotel-de-ville.php

"Public support" helps defeat Bill 3 exactly... how? I missed that train of thought.

clearly, the functioning of parliamentary democracy escapes you, then: public support is the aggregate support of the members of the "polis" or  political entity for any legislative proposal; like voting, but not so fomally expressed

this was quite a winnable debate for the police in the arena of public opinion, but with the vandalism, that has taken a huge step backward and the pension battle will likely be lost, meaning Bill 3 enacted. People did not like that disregard for the law they were upholding: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

End of lesson.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Dave W your scenario is illogical because it is based on the premise that there are available actions to be taken by the unions that could change the outcome once a neo-con government has decided on its course.  From BC that looks like a very remote possibility out here even the SCC can't get them to bargain in good faith.

This is anti-worker crap from Liberal neo-cons and a preview of the kind of government Trudeau the Lesser will provide to the cheers of his most ardent supporters.

 

Pondering

lagatta wrote:
Pondering, the "public" is not the people - any more than the "international community" is the people of the world.

Thank you for explaining there is a distinction between the two. I do use "the public" to refer to "the people".  I will try to keep it in mind that they carry different connotations.

P.S., If it's not too complicated to explain, what's the difference?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Pondering wrote:

lagatta wrote:
Pondering, the "public" is not the people - any more than the "international community" is the people of the world.

Thank you for explaining there is a distinction between the two. I do use "the public" to refer to "the people".  I will try to keep it in mind that they carry different connotations.

You might want to consider that you speak for neither despite your invocation of them in defense of your anti-union animus.

Unionist

Pondering wrote:

lagatta wrote:
Pondering, the "public" is not the people - any more than the "international community" is the people of the world.

Thank you for explaining there is a distinction between the two. I do use "the public" to refer to "the people".  I will try to keep it in mind that they carry different connotations.

P.S., If it's not too complicated to explain, what's the difference?

Lagatta - do me a personal favour - do not respond to diversionary bs by someone who doesn't side with the workers' cause. Thanks.

 

Slumberjack

So who else supports desperate tactics such as this?  Kropotkin1951 appears to have indicated support based on the premise that the anti-rioting position is "illogical because it is based on the premise that there are available actions to be taken by the unions that could change the outcome once a neo-con government has decided on its course."  Now I realize that supporting union members is critically important, but if it's ok for a group of fed up workers to become party to a disturbance, even if they happen to be cops with an eye out for their retirement benefits, why wouldn't it be ok for any group to decide that some windows need smashing, say, downtown in the financial districts of Canadian cities from coast to coast.

Slumberjack

The 'public interest,' when it's being referred to in the context of quelling disturbances, really only pertains to chambers of commerce and corporate ownership interests.  As Lagatta mentioned, it's the same as saying the international community represents the world, instead of the vested corporate interests at the heart of a few governments (US, Canada, UK, etc) who've appointed themselves in charge of the planet.  It's similar to the fable about the 'law abiding' citizens of Ferguson, as opposed to the 'non-law abiding' outsiders, who by and large are citizens of Ferguson expressing serious concerns about daily life in a military police state.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Just because I think that there are no avenues open to change the course of a neo-con government doesn't mean I think this childish behaviour was helpful or served any useful purpose. However I also understand how workers can become enraged by someone trying to make unilateral negative changes to their pensions so I don't think it is a big deal.

The big deal is the attack on pensions in this country and the stupid people who believe that unless everyone has a pension plan then no one deserves one especially someone who works for the public.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:

The big deal is the attack on pensions in this country and the stupid people who believe that unless everyone has a pension plan then no one deserves one especially someone who works for the public.

THIS.

I don't get the envy. Many of these same people have no issue with the outrageous remuneration and bonus packages corporate leaders receive. They don't froth at the mouth over people who pay relatively little tax on income earned from interest on inherited wealth.

lagatta

Yes, but you hear it all the time on phone-in shows and web boards, and I got it today from a neighbour, who said "you don't have a pension, why are you defending theirs?"  And a lot of people buy in to the austerity crap.

Pondering

Thank-you Slumberjack.

Unionist, does criticizing Israel make someone anti-semitic? Criticizing specific union actions or positions isn't anti-union either.

My sister is in tech. Her first job in the industry, (after returning to school for retraining) was at Nortel. She was doing great there in tech support. She bought a starter home, the most modest she could find. Within a few years Nortel was going bust, downsizing, and she was part of that. But, she had a great reputation and Nortel insisted the American company they were outsourcing to hire her. Terms of employment weren't as good but she was grateful to get it. All the while she was working hard on her house because it was a fixer-upper. When Nortel finally imploded she lost her job at the new company too. She found an new job specializing in tech support for health care. Her salary suffered, but she could still keep the house. No vacations but that was fine. She didn't even get a cell phone until this year because she was intent on restoring her RRSP. She kept her desktop and only switched to a laptop 2 years ago. She's very frugal because she is hoping to have the house paid off before she retires. So, as of this April, she had 10 years in at that job, when they fired her, and kept all the men she trained. She has applications in at two jobs she is perfect for but the process is long and she is terrified. She's an older woman in tech. She reads story after story in the Gazette of older tech workers unable to find work. She's been very responsible so she can still hang on for another few months although she had to start dipping into her RRSPs to pay the mortgage.

She might lose everything she has worked for for decades even though she has done everything right. She went three years without taking a single sick day and she still lost her job. She has spend evenings and weekends for over a decade fixing up the house. It's going to break her heart if she has to give it up. She thinks she has a good chance at the jobs she has applied for, she's a perfect fit, but there are other applicants.

This explains how the pension situation came to pass:

http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Pension+plan+crunch+this+point/9956209/story.html

My sister was hit hard by the 2008 recession. Many people were. Young people struggle to find secure jobs that pay well. University educated people are working at Starbucks and Second Cup. This is "the public" that is on the hook to pay the pensions. So yes, my sister will acknowledge that it's unfair to change pension benefits retroactively. But what has happened and is happening to her and countless others of all ages and in many walks of life is unfair. The "pain" has to be shared, and from her perspective the share of the "pain" municipal employees are being forced to bear is tiny in comparison to the financial hardships she and others are suffering while government employees are sheltered. The money for those pensions comes directly out of her pocket. She can't afford to pay more.

The philosophy of how unions benefit everyone makes sense, but from where everyone else is sitting city employees have really cushy jobs with fabulous benefits and security. Having to accept less cushy but still fabulous pension benefits just doesn't seem like that much of a hardship to a lot of people.

My sister is not a "union buster". She believes in unions and understand that without unions all workers would be much worse off.  She just can't afford to pay higher taxes even assuming she finds another job at her level.

When she sees grown men having a temper tantrum  trashing city hall she sees her property being damaged because she has to pay for the clean-up. That's a great big "fuck-you" to her, and to me and all the people in my family that have worked very hard to earn what they have.

So far no one has explained to her why she should impoverish herself even more to support the public service unions. "Because they had a contract" or "because unions keep up standards for everyone" is insufficient.

That's "the public" I am talking about.

lagatta

A good (social) response to "anecdotism":

http://www.pressegauche.org/spip.php?article18540

Élargir la lutte pour la protection de nos retraites (Broaden the struggle to protect our pensions)

This one too, from a business reporter:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/workers-not-to-blame-for-quebec-pension-...

 

Slumberjack

Pondering wrote:

Thank-you Slumberjack.

Unionist, does criticizing Israel make someone anti-semitic? Criticizing specific union actions or positions isn't anti-union either.

Just to be clear, i wasn't criticizing the storming of city hall.

Unionist

I'm quitting the union and joining the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation. They'll protect your sister, Pondering. They love struggling low-income working folks. Their mission is to bring them salvation. They stand for social solidarity - that all working people should share the pain, while the rich capitalists laugh themselves sick.

 

 

josh

laine lowe wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

The big deal is the attack on pensions in this country and the stupid people who believe that unless everyone has a pension plan then no one deserves one especially someone who works for the public.

THIS.

I don't get the envy. Many of these same people have no issue with the outrageous remuneration and bonus packages corporate leaders receive. They don't froth at the mouth over people who pay relatively little tax on income earned from interest on inherited wealth.

It's the old game of divide and conquer that those at the top play so successfully with the rest of the population.  Those without pensions would rather drag down those with pensions than to demand that they have ones because they constantly are exposed to the 1% propaganda in the media and the culture. 

Aristotleded24

Pondering wrote:
The philosophy of how unions benefit everyone makes sense, but from where everyone else is sitting city employees have really cushy jobs with fabulous benefits and security. Having to accept less cushy but still fabulous pension benefits just doesn't seem like that much of a hardship to a lot of people.

And from my perspective, the fact that she owns a house means that she is better off financially than me, and can at least sell her house for cash if things get too rough.

There's always someone out there less fortunate than you are and who wouldn't mind seeing you take it on the chin. See how dangerous that kind of thinking becomes? Everyone tends to think, "woe is me, my life is so hard and my job is so bad, but everyone else has it much better than me," for example when people think teachers have it easy because of the time off they have in the summer but don't see the over-and-above work that teachers put in during the regular school year.

Pondering wrote:
When she sees grown men having a temper tantrum  trashing city hall she sees her property being damaged because she has to pay for the clean-up. That's a great big "fuck-you" to her, and to me and all the people in my family that have worked very hard to earn what they have.

That's a bit of a complicated thing. The police have actually been known to employ people to start trouble at public demonstrations to discredit the protest in the eyes of the public. We saw that happen at Montebello in 2007. Let's also remember the G20 in Toronto, where the police clearly allowed people to trash cars. Someone in the Toronto Police Association at the time alleged that the officers there received an order to stand down. Back to what happened in Montreal, were those responsible for the vandalism charged accordingly? Even you acknowledged that the people doing the vandalism were a tiny minority.

The other thing is that vandalism is unfortunately too common, and had it taken place outside of the context of a public demonstration, the police wouldn't have done much, they probably wouldn't have even sent a cruiser to take a report.

lagatta

Yes, I've never owned a house or any other major property item in my life either, and I'm probably of about the same cohort as Pondering's sister. 

I don't anything more valuable than my computer, and of course that has rapidly depreciated, and it is a "capital good" - I need it for my work, and can deduct the value on my income taxes. I own a fortune in books, but the resale value is next to nothing.

I do occasionally feel pangs of envy with respect to a close friend with a good pension, not because of her pension, but because I think she sometimes fritters it away on frivolous things, such as new-ageish alternative health classes. But at least it isn't an SUV or some other polluting crap.

Indeed, the police play a dual role - they do at least in theory protect our lives and personal property (though just try to get them to deal with bicycle theft) but they are also agents of repression for the capitalist system, protecting strikebreakers and clamping down on demonstrations, which were most often peaceful at the outset. There was a ridiculous excess of police violence against the students two years ago. Now they are sporting red squares.

They have also been very friendly and polite during our Gaza demonstrations, but that can turn on a hair.

 

 

 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Pondering wrote:

So far no one has explained to her why she should impoverish herself even more to support the public service unions. "Because they had a contract" or "because unions keep up standards for everyone" is insufficient.

That's "the public" I am talking about.

Using your sister as an anit-union sock puppet is a new trick for you.

You are demanding a debate on the fundamental principal that pensions for public workers are a societal good.  Fuck off with the anti-union animus in any shape and size you can dream up and using whomevers voice you chose to appropriate.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

babble is NOT intended as a place where the basic and fundamental values of labour rights are to be debated or refought. Anyone who joins babble who indicates intentions to challenge these rights and principles may be seen as disruptive to the nature of the forum.

Pondering

Yup Slumberjack, I intended to show my comments to Unionist were separate but I guess I wasn't clear enough.

lagatta wrote:

A good (social) response to "anecdotism":

http://www.pressegauche.org/spip.php?article18540

Élargir la lutte pour la protection de nos retraites (Broaden the struggle to protect our pensions)

This one too, from a business reporter:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/workers-not-to-blame-for-quebec-pension-...

I agree, anecdotes do not prove arguments but they can illuminate. In this case, I am trying to explain where ordinary people who are not activists and spend all their time working are coming from. They, not the government, is the audience that has to be convinced, not intimitated.

You can't intimidate my sister into thinking Montreal should go bankrupt because of politicians that made stupid deals years ago. She would support the city privatizing it all rather than giving in to intimidation that would lead Montreal to financial ruin. Why should we wait until Montreal goes bankrupt like Detroit? That is just stupid and trashing city all just shows her that unions don't give a shit about her struggles as long as their beds are feathered.

You can dismiss her and all the people like her who are struggling but they are the target of the neoliberals and guess who is winning. Neoliberals show her respect for her hard work and dedication to trying to ensure her own retirement. Leftists shrug their shoulders and tell her others are worse off and maybe even portray her as the enemy or call her ignorant and right wing.

I am personally leaning towards supporting the union on pension rights because I know I've been hoodwinked and that Canada is full of wealth that is being withheld from the people. That's not an argument I can present to my sister. It sounds like a faith-based argument.

To a great extent battles like this one are lost before they are begun because the public, and by that I mean ordinary people, accept the basic world view of neoliberalists even if they don't know it as such. It has permeated society to the extent that it is considered conventional wisdom, common sense. It is the world view of Dr. Phil. and based in the righteousness of individual responsibility. Like Dr. Phil says, it's an eat what you kill world. Don't expect hand-outs. Canadians may be tired of Harper but his rep as an economic manager is still strong. Both Trudeau and Mulcair have to run on not "threatening" to do anything too dramatically different.

I still believe the tide is turning because of the failures of neoliberalism to deliver but progressives must create cracks and drive wedges in them.

I'm not saying that the unions should lose this battle but I think they will anyway and the reason they will lose is that the public is completely convinced that Quebec must embrace austerity or we are doomed. The public purse is empty and we must learn to live within our means. Being in debt is bad. Our credit-rating is threatened.

So when I approach my sister to defend the union perspective it isn't a matter of principle, of contracts signed that should be honored. Principle can't trump the "reality" that we can't afford to honor the agreement. Pension funds took a hit in 2008 and our longer lifespans means there will not be enough workers to pay the pensions. We'll be paying more for pensions than for city services. It's not sustainable. That workers aren't to blame doesn't change the "reality". 

 

cco

Pondering wrote:

Don't expect hand-outs.

Pensions workers have contributed to, in exchange for the hard work they've done under a contract they agreed to and had reason to expect to be binding, are "hand-outs" now? I suppose the fact firefighters are paid at all is just welfare, given over 85,000 Canadian firefighters are unpaid volunteers. Someone get some market efficiency over here!

Municipal workers aren't stealing your sister's livelihood. The mafia is. The ones Québecers just reëlected with a majority. (Coderre's already handing out contracts for a totally useless covering of the A720.) Allowing them to set the terms of the discussion such that their grossly inflated corrupt infrastructure contracts are "facts on the ground" and hard-won pension contracts are open to slashing and burning means you've already surrendered the battle.

lagatta

I have rightwing relatives too. If I have to speak to them for some reason (fortunately none of the rightwing ones live in Montréal) I avoid such discussions, change the subject, or say I'll refuse to talk about it. Just as I would in most cases with racists, homophobes and other ignorant people.

Workers, whether public or private sector, deserve pensions. Nobody should have to starve for the crime of getting old or living too long. I don't think this is even a matter for discussion at a progressive site.

Many employers, including the CBC, have taken "pension contribution holidays". They were certainly not "honouring their obligations". It is a dire problem now.

Pondering

cco wrote:
Pondering wrote:

Don't expect hand-outs.

Pensions workers have contributed to, in exchange for the hard work they've done under a contract they agreed to and had reason to expect to be binding, are "hand-outs" now? I suppose the fact firefighters are paid at all is just welfare, given over 85,000 Canadian firefighters are unpaid volunteers. Someone get some market efficiency over here!

Municipal workers aren't stealing your sister's livelihood. The mafia is. The ones Québecers just reëlected with a majority. (Coderre's already handing out contracts for a totally useless covering of the A720.) Allowing them to set the terms of the discussion such that their grossly inflated corrupt infrastructure contracts are "facts on the ground" and hard-won pension contracts are open to slashing and burning means you've already surrendered the battle.

No, you are missing the point and I didn't refer to pensions as handouts. That's an outrageous example of taking words out of context. 

To win an argument you have to understand what other people are convinced is true, and you can't just respond with "that isn't true" and ideological principles or theories, or get into an indignant huff.  I'm saying the union battle exists within a misguided and misinformed understanding of economic (mis)management and what the government is capable of achieving.

The battle is being fought against the backdrop of decades of very effective propaganda. That has to be acknowledged. My sister is a good and kind person that cares about people and the environment not a selfish corporatist. It is people like her that have to be convinced they have been sold up the river. Then they would understand that it is possible to respect the contracts without going bankrupt or creating more hardship for them.

swallow swallow's picture

Here's another anecdote. I live in Quebec. I have a pension plan. It suffered the same troubles as other funds when the stock market tanked. To keep it going, the employer is putting in more, and we have had to take a pay cut in lieur of increased contributions. It sucks, but might have been necessary. The difference here is that the government of Quebec did not come in and decide who pays what, then force that on everyone by administrative fiat. The employer and our union met, and struck an agreement. Why can't municipalities do the same? 

Pondering

lagatta wrote:
I have rightwing relatives too. If I have to speak to them for some reason (fortunately none of the rightwing ones live in Montréal) I avoid such discussions, change the subject, or say I'll refuse to talk about it. Just as I would in most cases with racists, homophobes and other ignorant people.

I can understand not trying to undo a lifetime of brainwashing one person at a time. It is useless because such a transformation is unlikely to happen in a single conversation. You are speaking at cross purposes with them because you come from a different understanding of what government can do. Are they ignorant like racists, or ignorant like people who are unaware of how the levers of power are being used against them, ignorant about how much their lives could be improved, how they are being manipulated?

Do people who have been manipulated and brainwashed deserve whatever they suffer as a result?

Does the black community of Toronto deserve Rob Ford because they support him? Should we disrespect them, roll our eyes and call them ignorant or greedy or selfish?

Pondering

swallow wrote:

Here's another anecdote. I live in Quebec. I have a pension plan. It suffered the same troubles as other funds when the stock market tanked. To keep it going, the employer is putting in more, and we have had to take a pay cut in lieur of increased contributions. It sucks, but might have been necessary. The difference here is that the government of Quebec did not come in and decide who pays what, then force that on everyone by administrative fiat. The employer and our union met, and struck an agreement. Why can't municipalities do the same? 

Apparently there is a long delay before the bill becomes law during which the government is willing to negotiate. The bill is a cudgel to hold over the heads of the unions.

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