Random stuff, reflections on the meaning of life and death, humour, self-deprecation, a bit of bad poetry.

1) “Without unions, you wouldn’t have labor laws in the first place. The right is the right to collective bargaining, not a right to a good deal. But dismantle collective bargaining rights, and you have no opposing structure to protect – even minimally – against exploitation.” — Cameron Skeene

2) Unions developed as a way for workers to join forces against the inequality of bargaining power that exists between an individual worker and an employer. When an employer is dealing with one employee, the balance of power is with the employer. When the employer is dealing with an organization that represents all employees, there is less power imbalance. In other words, there is strength in numbers.

3) The strike mandates were obtained through a democratic process. Not everyone voted in favour of a strike but an impressive percentage of members did, and these members represent a variety of different unions and job descriptions. We are not alone ; we are part of a common front. Nobody wants to strike. Quite the contrary. This strike is a last resort, the result of months of frustration over the government’s refusal to negotiate a new collective agreement in good faith. It is a legal strike and essential services will be provided.

4) If you can’t make the cause about you, then make it about someone else, perhaps a devoted teacher you know or admire, a child with special needs who is struggling, a vulnerable client without an advocate who is on an endless waiting list.

5) I am exhausted after 30 years working in public health. And yet my colleagues with only a few years experience are showing the same signs of wear and tear. It takes a lot more energy to do the job than when I started years ago. Clients are older, more frail, and resources are more limited than ever before. I could choose to coast until my retirement but what about the people I leave behind? Will health issues force my younger colleagues to leave the system? Or will they stay, depleted and jaded, until they drop? I am standing up for all of you, even though I am tired too. The system is broken but I refuse to give up on it. I will not be apathetic.

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” ― Elie Wiesel

6) The new health reform will centralize services. As a result, there will be less representation from the community on many levels. As unionized members, we have a strong, collective voice and an established medium by which we can express it. Let’s not squander this opportunity to demand better, on behalf of our most vulnerable citizens.

“Scientific data show clearly that a decentralized system is closer to the centres of decision- making and allow for health and social services to be better adapted to populations needs, especially those of the underprivileged or those living in rural or outlying communities. Contrary to industry, which seeks the production of uniform and standardized services at the best price, health systems need to be able to adjust services to the needs of the populations being served.

The disappearance of local institutions risks standardizing services throughout a regional territory, hence diminishing access to more marginal populations while increasing the inequalities of health. The creation of regional mega structures will result in an important loss of linguistic, cultural and community identity. Those institutions that have been serving their community for many years and are essential for their role in maintaining community ties and supporting community development will be lost.

Scientific evidence does not support the presumption of Bill 10 that there will be a reduction in bureaucracy with the centralization of decision-making. National and international experience has shown time and time again that the proposed reform will not have the desired effects and, in fact, will make healthcare delivery more complex. We should learn from these experiences instead of increasing the centralization of decision-making in our healthcare system.” — François Béland

7) Do a little research about the history of unions and you will see that despite the bad rap they get today, a lot of good has come out of them and non-unionized workers have reaped the benefits too. Here are a few examples: child labour laws, minimum wage, workplace safely laws, pregnancy/parental leaves, sexual harassment laws, social security, public education for children, etc.

8) A little fresh air, some exercise, and solidarity is good for team building.

9) Our union has worked very hard to represent us under difficult circumstances. Whether you opted to strike or not, please show them your support.

10) “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

These are things that matter, peeps. Take a deep breath and picket with passion this Thursday.

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