Transit Strike Announced for May 22

Damnit. STM maintenance workers voted to strike as of May 22nd. I’ve blogged about this before and I find it totally unacceptable. Is there any way that we, the people, the riders, the affected, can rally to pressure these guys not to go through with a strike? Do we have no say in this matter? What am I supposed to do? Spend an hour walking to work? Spend money on a taxi when I’ve already spent my $65 for a bus pass? I am so fed up with this. Every few years, I have to put up with this crap. I have enough stress in my life and this just makes me insanely mad.

31 Comments so far

  1. Dipin (unregistered) on May 6th, 2007 @ 7:09 pm

    Yes I agree, this does suck. We should do something about this.

  2. paul (unregistered) on May 6th, 2007 @ 7:51 pm

    As someone else said about this a few weeks ago, the best thing we can do is support the workers so that management stops driving them into this position so regularly. Just because someone works in the public sector does not mean that they should not put their own interests first or try to do the best that they can for themselves and their families. Having seen many times the type of crap that bus drivers have to put up with, and the messes we leave for the maintenance workers to clean up, I know that I wouldn’t do the job for a penny less than they get.

  3. ahmad (unregistered) on May 6th, 2007 @ 9:00 pm

    Are they allowed to strike? I thought they fall in the “essential services” category.

  4. max (unregistered) on May 6th, 2007 @ 9:39 pm

    they are allowed, with the service running a couple of hours a day during peak hours. Still going to disrupt everything though.

    Paul, it’s a bit hard to support them when their strike is going to wreak havoc in the city and disrupt everyone’s schedule. Not the best way to get a sympathy vote.

  5. DAVE (unregistered) on May 7th, 2007 @ 12:05 am

    the best thing we can do is support the workers so that management stops driving them into this position so regularly.

    Yeah cuz getting more than 20$/hour to mop a floor is just disdainful, I mean how can they possibly feed themselves on such a crappy wage? Awwwwwww they get all my support, they really do.

  6. tornwordo (unregistered) on May 7th, 2007 @ 7:07 am

    I can’t believe it. I’m gonna lose work over this and therefore, pay. Or better yet, I should reserve a car while I can.

  7. kYsis (unregistered) on May 7th, 2007 @ 7:50 am

    I’m not sure if we can do anything about it. Unions have way too much power, especially the ones at stm. I think people just give up on the stm when they’re fed up: That’s why they have less and less clients, less and less service, and why we have to pay more and more, just to pay a bus driver -who’s going to insult us- more than an engineer.
    I’m buying a car as soon as I can.

  8. tarteaucitron (unregistered) on May 7th, 2007 @ 10:22 am

    I would really like to support the STM and ride more with them, but it is simply faster, cheaper and less hurting to my ears when I do the walk/bike/drive combo appropriately.

  9. Vila H. (unregistered) on May 7th, 2007 @ 3:24 pm

    The earlier comment Paul referred to was mine, and can be found here.

  10. PurplePig (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 2:22 pm

    They make as much as I do, and I work in a profession that requires a master’s degree.

  11. paul (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 12:04 am

    Well, Purplepig, what can I say? I’ll bet your job involves neither picking up garbage, mopping up vomit or getting screamed at by irate bus riders – all things I would never conceive of doing for less than 50k a year. And where is it written that only people with Master’s degrees should make a decent wage?

  12. Daniel (unregistered) on May 10th, 2007 @ 4:10 pm

    The unionized members are the front line workers in one of the most important public services – and that’s why we should support them wholeheartedly. If Montreal is to fully develop it’s transit system – and believe you me that system needs lots of developing – it can only be done with the support of happy, well treated employees. That’s why we, and they, need them to have a good collective agreement. It’s in the bus-riding population’s best interest.

  13. STM Guy (unregistered) on May 10th, 2007 @ 9:49 pm

    Just to let you guys know, that maintenance people at the STM are not ONLY the people who clean the stations and garages. I work as a maintenance employee at the STM and my job involves repairing electronic equipment, which, with the aging of our metro, fails more often. We are asked to patch equipment that is over 40 years old with parts that we do not have. Our job just keeps on getting harder and harder over the years. Meanwhile, the personnel that retires is not being replaced/re-hired, so we end up with more and more work for the same salary.

    It’s unfortunate that the strike affects the public, and personally, I am against it, BUT it is the only way that our employer and the general population will listen to us. We have tried talking to our employer, and they have closed their ears, saying that they cannot negotiate with us, even though our collective agreement has been expired since January.

    I know that the majority of people are not on our side, but understand that this strike is not illegal, it has been allowed by our government. Essential services will continue, and the maintenance employees, although on strike, will still be working at maintaining the Montreal metro and repairing all of the obsolete equipment, so that you can get to work/school/etc on time.

    I am not asking for sympathies, just for a bit of understanding. We do not want to take the population hostage, and believe it or not, but we are also left to ourselves when it comes to transportation, since we (dept I work for) start and finish at a time that essential services are not operational. I will be biking to and from work for the duration of the strike.

    Hope we don’t end up going on strike, and that the STM has the decency to at least start negotiating with its employees, but if we do go on strike, rest assured that it’s not a vacation for us, on the contrary it’s more of a hassle than anything else.

  14. Justin (unregistered) on May 11th, 2007 @ 6:49 am

    Wow, another transit strike. It’s like France, minus the great bread! ;-)

    Ride your bikes!!

  15. DAVE (unregistered) on May 11th, 2007 @ 11:25 am

    Some of us can’t ride a bike, some of us live to far away to ride a bike to work. I take 2 buses and a 30 minute metro ride to commute and then do it again to get back home.

  16. paulalex (unregistered) on May 20th, 2007 @ 5:05 am

    Those of us who don’t have cushy fat-cat unionised non-competitive quasi-government jobs and who have to scrimp, save, and WORK for minimum wage or less are SICK of the self-righteous egoist neo-fascist faux-collectivist bourgeous privileged syndicalism of the unionised baby boomer ‘workers’ who have pensions and protected positions when ordinary people have no such luxury and are dependent on this essential service.

    These highly-paid ‘workers’ ($50k!?) are holding the oldest, poorest, and weakest members of society hostage to serve their own interests …

    If they don’t like their jobs why they don’t they try getting a different one !!!??? instead of blackmailing the poorest and weakest … ?

    Normally I make a point of being polite to these highly-paid privileged workers, but now, having paid $65 and being forced to WALK four hours a day due to this selfish strike, it will require a huge effort of self-restraint on my part not to swear at them …

  17. Angry Wolf (unregistered) on May 20th, 2007 @ 6:19 pm

    OK, seriously. I sympathise and support the STM workers who want to get paid a fair wage. However, I think that those who cite education have a point: what exactly makes your job so much more valuable than working as support staff in a bar (all the vomit you can mop for about $8 per hour) or being yelled at constantly in a customer service call centre (8 hours of verbal abuse per day for $9-$16 per hour)? I’ve done both those jobs and plenty more.

    I think that the hue and cry about the lack of raises (because this is NOT about cuts, layoffs, abusive working conditions, etc… it’s about how big a raise they’re going to get) is unsupportable, and no attempt to paint the labor union as the abused underdog is going to conceal the fact that this is about greed. They’ve offered you a better salary, and they’re trying to make things more efficient so that they don’t have to keep raising fares, but the union says “we deserve better pay because they’re saving money through good administration” and so we have a strike.

    Finally, I despise this “essential services will continue” crap. I take classes in the afternoons, and work evenings. So, “essential” services don’t do a darn thing for me. I probably won’t buy a metro pass for June, because the transit service has just become absolutely useless for me.

    On the bright side, at least the strike is in the summer this time. Last time I was freezing my balls off due to this crap (about the STM borrowing against pension funds, as I recall…).

    So no, sorry, I don’t support the strike, I don’t think the union deserves my understanding, and I’m going to walk downtown every day cursing your families.

  18. Owen (unregistered) on May 20th, 2007 @ 6:25 pm

    I had a brainstorm just now: what if transit employees were simply to refuse to charge passengers? It hurts the STM, doesn’t hurt passengers (most of whom have paid for the month anyway) and definitely sends a message.

    Frankly, I think it’s a better plan than the strike: after all, currently I’m mad enough that if a provincial candidate promised to disband the STM union, I’d vote for him/her. I NEED public transit.

  19. stael (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 11:48 am

    ok!!! after i have read all these comments… my rage just increased to the max… cause this crap stike will cost me a whole lot of money… i have exams this week and the next to take all the way in lasalle…stages to go to and work at CDN. i take care of your sick bastard in the danm hospital, vomiting, shiting all over the places plus whatever diseases you might have. we can’t go on strike because of essential services…. over work and under paid. but us nurses, and preposes we do our job anyways. so yah greedy (Mf)stm maintenance needs to shut up and put up, cause yah overpaid anyways, and stop F*%)ing with our lives.

  20. oliver (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 5:09 pm

    these maintance workers get great pay and benifits.
    most of the people who use public transit are people wo work for minimum wage and they will suffer again the most.
    the day where everyone has to get a big raise is gone.everything has gone out of control.
    the so called essential serive is bs
    buses start around 5 am do you think people use them at this hour becase they like to get in a few hours early-metro starts at 5.30 normally 10 cars per train 45 people per car minimum per =450 people every 3 minutes so from 5.30-6 20 trips x 450 people=9000 people
    green/ blue/ yellow /and orange =4 lines
    2 x2 directions =8×9 =72,000 people who are obviusly inconvienced and this does not take into account the 100+ bus lines-if service is essential to work it soulc cover from 5-9 this is not for a walk in the park its to survive–this is 1 big mess again–comes to mind what ronald regan did in the usa with the air traffic controllers-they thought they were untouchable as well!!!!!

  21. Denis (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 6:22 pm

    In reply to Daniel, who says that the personnel that retires is not being replaced/re-hired, so we end up with more and more work for the same salary, Well I hate to break it to you, but the same thing happens in the world of non unionized workers, and they often get their salaries frozen when their employers are in the red. If I don’t like the new terms, I look elsewhere for another job.
    Now because of the strike, I will need to use my bike to go to work rain or shine (25KM each way) because my shift is from 3:30 PM to 12:00 midnight, and the afternoon rush hour only starts at 3:30, that would put me 90 minutes late.
    You can guess what I think of your union!!!

  22. Rebecca (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 7:54 pm

    I’ve only lived in Montreal since 2004, but this is what i have noticed about the bus service down here.
    The bus shelter’s are some of the nastiest i’ve ever seen. Even the bus shelter’s in Detroit Michigan are cleaner! With piles of trash so high especially in the West island, people would rather freeze outside even in the winter.
    The brown slush covers the windows of the bus and it makes it almost impossible to see where to get off. Forget about trying to see at night lol. The maintenance people or whomever don’t remove it, and it stays there all day.
    The buses are way over crowded. One day the bus passed me up because I had a stroller and there was no room for me. And it wasn’t even rush hour! On the other hand I’ve also seen the buses half empty only to pass up a poor old lady running to try to catch the bus, because they couldn’t wait one second more. So I want to ask the stm officials why are we paying for an increase and now suffering through a strike. Whose gonna hear our cries?

  23. gd (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 10:48 pm

    Transit strikes are a necessary part of the process. Just suffer the consequences and live with it and stop complaning at least you have essential sevices. That’s already more than you deserve. A stike is a stike this will last 30 days or more so good luck.

  24. Gili (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 8:30 am

    With all due respect to STM workers, people get paid a lot less for cleaning toilets or doing telemarketing (which falls in the same category of cleaning up vomit or getting yelled at). In fact, those people probably get paid minimum wage. I’m not saying it’s fair, I’m saying it’s how it is. There is no way someone with a University degree should be making the same amount of money as they do, period.

    When you work for the government (especially under the scope of “essential services”) you are making a trade-off: job security in exchange for lower wages. If you don’t like it go work for a non-governmental body, there are plenty of them.

  25. polar (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 10:29 am

    Although the strike is allowed by government,it does’t mean that it is reasonable.Hundreds of thousands of people who are suffering the “essential services” only for around 2 thousand STM workers to want their benefits,it’s unfair.

  26. Stephanie (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 12:57 pm

    Is there going to be a PROTEST or a RALLY that will take a STAND AGAINST THE TRANSIT STRIKE? please let me know…………

  27. stmx (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 1:25 pm

    What recourse do you the public have. None what so ever. So prepare yourselves to suffer a long strike. Perhaps the whole summer or longer. Remember Quebec city in 1984 an 8 month strike. After todays news conference the city has no money and the workers can stay out. Don’t blame the workers with their attitude the STM doesn’t care.So make other plans as the drivers prepare to strike also, they meet tonight to decide their pressure tactics. GOOD LUCK AND GOOD REDDINS.

  28. paulina (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 2:36 pm

    So we’re trying our best to protect the planet right? Recycling, coming up with new regulations about cars in the city. I mean who needs a car in the city when you have such great public transport right? YEAH RIGHT! Wishful thinking…
    I never realized that maintenance workers have so much power over the entire city… it’s almost funny…and ironic. You study your ass off, spend thousands of dollars on uninversity, and pay off your loans for the next x amount of years, and a couple of maintenance workers who get paid probably more than some of the graduates out there are controlling if we can get to work or not… Seriously, that’s what i call power!
    And the bus drivers are so nice, aren’t they? haha, that’s a joke by the way.I had way too many bad experiences with these jerks, seriously can’t someone start a private bus service already?

  29. Mark (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 11:28 pm

    Unions were created with the best of intentions during the industrial revolution when the owners of factories weren’t passing very much of the profits to their employees. They served to protect the employees both indvidually and as a whole against the big bad corporations. That being said it is mostly done in professions where the individual workers are easily replaced (ie STM) and the only way they have leverage is for the whole force to quit. In the case of public transit is where they will have the most visible leverage as they are holding pretty much the whole city hostage. If workers of Factory X go on strike, I seriously doubt the public would really care.

    The STM knows this and is hoping that the city is going to cave into their demands because they have the leverage of a whole city. My solution would be to hire new employees and bring back the scabs that want to come back that would be happy working for 50k government job. I would love to see the STM workers trying to picket in front of Metro stations and bus stops.

  30. Mel (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2007 @ 10:05 am

    Yes, let’s get some scabs right now.

  31. Vive Duplessis (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2007 @ 8:12 pm

    These little whiners make 50K, and they want to strike? New York City Police Officers only make 25K, and they face dangers that are several orders of magnitude worse than what rear-echelon STM workers face! I say, privatise the entire maintenance department of the STM and then outsource it to Mexicans, Chinese and/or Indians who will only be too happy to work for 50K!

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