Monday, May 28, 2012

On Strike

CP Rail is on strike. 
Thousands of running trades employees are fighting a serious fight that will affect them and their families for years to come. 
I've read the newspapers. I've watched the news. I can see the twitter feed. I have read the comments. I hear the buzz about it.
It's disheartening to hear what people are saying.

Get back to work, don't you care how many people you are affecting. 

What are you complaining about? We all know you make $130,000/year and get at least 6 weeks paid vacation. 

Your job is so easy.

Your pension will be based on more than almost anyone else makes anyways, so stop whining and get back to work. 

First of all, check your facts people. I just got our income tax return back and nowhere on there does it say anything even close to $130,000. For the record. And also, 3 weeks vacation right here.

Second and more importantly, I think the whole world would be remiss in thinking that the thousands of CP employees that are on strike right now, don't care about all the people they are affecting. They know, they care, they worry and lose sleep over this whole thing, but they have to do this. They HAVE to stand up for what is right and fair. If they don't, then what?

This job, Brians job, is not easy. It's not for everyone. And let me assure you, the perks are limited. In fact, off the top of my head, I can't think of even one perk. Maybe some think a solid pension at the end of 35 years on the road is a perk. I happen to think that after 35 years of working in these conditions, the all nighters AND all day-ers in one trip, the no weekends or holidays off, the missing important events because you can't get even one day off, the unpaid time in an away from home terminal, the being on call 24/7, that a solid pension at the end is a right. Oh, and plus, they pay for it. Literally and figuratively.

These employees are not asking for a raise, for more time off. Hell, they aren't even asking for better working conditions. They are asking for the company to leave their pension alone. Asking for them to NOT cut it by 40%, to see that they work hard for a very long time and that they deserve it.
CP Rail has a long standing history of having an enviable pension plan. One that made people want to work for them for just that reason. Yes, it would be 35 long years, yes, it would a difficult lifestyle, but look! At the end, I would be able to live! Comfortably!
Take this away? I dare say they take the only reason to work for them away.
I don't know anyone who works for CP Rail because they get to wear cute overalls. (p.s. Those cute CP overalls are totally a thing of the past)

I watched a live news feed from the House of Commons today that had every minister of every industry in Canada explain why they thought the government should intervene and mandate the employees back to work. Each one went on to say how many billions of dollars the railroad moves every year and how many millions of tonnes of cargo and resources are moved. How many people in this country are directly and indirectly affected by how the railroad operates. It was everyones argument as to why the employees NEED to go back to work. As I listened, I had to wonder why the Company doesn't see that those are the EXACT reasons they (the company) should appreciate the employees and want to do more (or at least something) for them (the employees). Why don't the see the employees as a valuable asset that they should take care of? Why don't they want to be the stand up company that they used to be? Why do they make millions of dollars in profits yet somehow justify cutting pensions by 40%?

Brian might have been a twenty year old kid that hired on because he saw the dollar signs and thought well where else can I work in this town with a high school education? But now? Now he works there so he can provide for his family and have a hope of one day retiring and getting two solid nights of sleep in a row.


  1. Agreed. I thought of Brian when this strike happened, and hoped that CP would do the right thing and negotiate in good faith. It's shameful that the government is preparing back-to-work legislation. Stick to your guns.
    Plus it's not like CP is losing money... it's not Air Canada here.

    1. Thanks Tim.
      Ya, definitely not losing money. Not even close.

  2. Cute overalls is a great reason, right?! I hope things get figured out soon - wishing you the best peace there.
    Thanks so much for your kind words on my last post about my heart breaking through parenting my sweet little miss. It's so tough mending her heart while mine splits. The recess yard is a tough spot I tell ya. Thanks so much for reading and letting me know you're not alone.