Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

Toronto Transit Workers make me so mad!!!

Britishvixen21
April 1st, 2005, 12:28 PM
Thought you would like to see a letter that I wrote to the Sun, Star, and Metro this morning. The TTC workers here make me so mad.

This is an open letter to all TTC staff members
I would like to reply to your full page ad in Fridays metro news.
I cannot believe that you are all expecting the long suffering TTC passengers to actually sympathise with your situations. You say that you are underpaid, abused and overworked. Well I would like to break it to you personally that nearly everyone that has to encounter your nasty, abusive, sometimes threatening bahaviour every morning on the way to work is underpaid, abused and overworked, and they are not nearly as well off as earning $28 an hour and having full benefits, a pension and the cushion of a union behind them!
I work in a call centre, I earn $15 an hour, I have no benefits, no holidays, no sickleave, no pension and you would like me to sympathise with you!
I have taken the subway every day for two years now, and to all different parts of the city and my current job requires me to take 2 buses, and 2 subway lines. I have never once seen a passenger abuse any TTC workers, if anything it is the other way around with bus drivers not helping passengers, being rude, undermining minorities and driving like maniacs. And with your union behind you nothing is ever done to reprimand these drivers. If you want the residents of the GTA to feel sorry for you. Then I suggest that you start earning that hefty wage and quit whinning. Suck it up the rest of us have to.

raingirl
April 1st, 2005, 04:03 PM
Bugger! I had a whole long post and it got lost!!

As I was saying...

I will try and not be offended as both my parents are TTC subway drivers.

Yes, there are some bad drivers out there, but a greater percentage of them are good people. If you had their job, I'm sure you would be pissy some of the time.

Yes, they are overworked (my parents work 12-13 hour split shifts, they work a few hours one, a few hours off, and few hours on...and they aren't allowed to go home in between. All drivers have to do this to minimize fatigue). My parents get only 1 week of vacation per year, and only 2 sick days, and anything over that is unpaid. That is substandard in the workplace these days.

Yes, the are abused. My parents get spit on daily, screamed at daily, and have to deal with all kinds of problems on the subway, like drunks puking, people peeing on the subway, and fights all the time. Both of my parents have witnessed people commiting suicide. And you know what? They make you take *unpaid* time off work if someone jumps in front of your train. Does that sound fair?? You CANNOT return to work until you have had a psychologist release you. You have the option to claim STD, but only if the even affected you (only if you couldn't return to work). If you were fine after and wanted to go back, STD is denied.

And I agree that they are underpaid for what they do. A few years ago, I would not have agreed with that, being that I was in a nowhere job and saw what they got paid as a luxury. Now that I have been in the workforce a few years, and see the oportunities out there, what they make is nowhere near what they should. My mother has worked there for 8 years, and she only gets paid about $45K a year, before taxes. They do not make $28 an hour, and the few who do have been there for MANY MANY years. Yes, they do get a pension, but most salary jobs have pensions. It's not the best pension though (trust me...my previous job I worked at 2 years, and had a better pension that in my mother's 8 years). They force their drivers to retire early, and settle them out of money that is due to them as well. I used to work a job that paid by the hour. Never again. Salary jobs have benefits, pensions, and sick time off. I could do without a Union though (they suck!)

The next time you get on the subway during evening rush hour, just think that the person who is driving has probably been there since 2 pm, and will driving until subway close time (between 1 and 2 AM). That doesn't sound like a good job to me.

And keep this in mind, if the TTC strikes, I will have to be buying my parents food, as they have a mortgage to pay, and with the measly stike pay, they won't be able to survive. My parents voted against a strike.

If the TTC's problems are anyone's fault, it is the government. The TTC is the most UNDERFUNDED transit system in North America, and one of the most underfunded in the world. If the government would devote the same percentage to the TTC that other governments do, the fares would drop by over 50%.

I usually hate strikes and unions, but the TTC is the ONLY one I support. If shutting down the system for a few weeks is the only way they will get the money they DESERVE then so be it.

(I remember the days of taking 2 buses, the RT, and 2 subway trains to work. I got smart and moved out of TTC range. I now live cheaper outside the city, and used to use the GO train to get downtown. There are lots of salary jobs out there with pension and benefits and sick days. If you need any tips, let me know! I have a database of about 30 job search engines bookmarked)

db7
April 1st, 2005, 07:05 PM
If the TTC's problems are anyone's fault, it is the government. The TTC is the most UNDERFUNDED transit system in North America, and one of the most underfunded in the world. If the government would devote the same percentage to the TTC that other governments do, the fares would drop by over 50%.

The TTC (Toronto), the Metro (Montreal), and the Skytrain (Vancouver) are the only subway systems in the world that do not receive funding from their national government.

I was recently in San Fran. Public transit rides there cost about half the price of Toronto. But The TTC is broke.

DON"T VOTE LIBERAL. Paul Martin has been generating massive federal surpluses for years all on the backs of cities and provinces.

db7
April 1st, 2005, 07:06 PM
If the TTC's problems are anyone's fault, it is the government. The TTC is the most UNDERFUNDED transit system in North America, and one of the most underfunded in the world. If the government would devote the same percentage to the TTC that other governments do, the fares would drop by over 50%.

The TTC (Toronto), the Metro (Montreal), and the Skytrain (Vancouver) are the only subway systems in the world that do not receive funding from their national government.

I was recently in San Fran. Public transit rides there cost about half the price of Toronto. But The TTC is broke.

Paul Martin as Finance Minister and now Prime Minister has been generating massive federal surpluses for years all on the backs of cities and provinces.

DON"T VOTE LIBERAL.

chico2
April 2nd, 2005, 09:53 AM
I agree,we have the worst Public Transit system in the modern world,nothing is done to encourage people to leave the car at home.
Here in Oakville it's terrible....I drove one of my sons to work every morning,because a 10 min trip by car would take an hour by bus,on a good day(2 busses).
When we lived in Sweden,we never even bought a car...no need to,the subway took you anywhere you wanted to go,before a new suburb was built,public Transit plans were also made,with a new sub-way station.
I don't blame Unions..Unions are there to protect loyal workers(and slackers,unfortunately!),but loyalty to employees and subsequently employers seems to have gone out the window in the last few yrs.CUTS and saving $$$$ is what it's all about nowadays!

raingirl
April 2nd, 2005, 10:29 AM
I just feel really bad for my parents if the TTC does go on strike. They just moved and are broke, and can't afford to loose the money they do make. Besides, my mother has a really bad back, and can't walk the picket line very well, but she is required to regardless.

LL1
April 2nd, 2005, 10:57 AM
Interesting article in this week's Now Magazine on the TTC

NOW | MAR 31 - APR 6, 2005 | VOL. 24 NO. 31
TTC: The ruder way
We are fans of a well-paid, organized public sector but we're getting tired of catching flak from ornery TTC drivers. So as bargaining continues between the city and the union, we have to ask: are drivers just plain nasty, is the corp badly supervised or is crabbiness the cost of an underfunded system?



What the TTC lists as the most important qualifications for the job of driver
Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
Extensive customer service experience


The ugly truth
Even though the training manual for drivers includes a code of conduct, complaints about driver behaviour consistently outnumber all others - a whopping 6,206 of the 16,773 complaints in 2004, 7,145 of 17,385 in 2003, and 6,268 of 16,942 in 2002.
It's not late buses, streetcars and subways that have TTC patrons so rankled. Discourtesy (7,207), bypassing of patrons (3,164), failing to wait at stops (1,107) and disputes over transfers and fares (7,554) outnumbered total complaints about surface delays (6,640) by more than three to one between 2002 and 2004.


Blame game
By its own count, the TTC is at fault in more than 65 per cent of complaints lodged.


Discrimination allegations
An October 2003 Social Planning Council report, If Low-Income Women Of Colour Counted In Toronto, called for a Human Rights inquiry into discrimination faced by women, single mothers and older women on the TTC. The report identified "racism and discrimination by drivers and passengers on the transit system in all parts of the city" as a top concern of low-income riders.
Complaints cited in the report include drivers humiliating riders "with mockery and verbal abuse," openly ridiculing non-English speakers' accents (sometimes encouraging passengers to join in), refusing help to mothers with young babies in strollers, and calling police to settle transfer disputes.


What the TTC's defenders say
It's just a few bad apples. And what do you expect with 750,000 riders a day?
Complaints are subjective. Is it discourteous for a driver to ask you to show your seniors pass or not to say "Good morning"?
Chronic underfunding of the system ($100 million less since 1990) means fewer buses and streetcars on the road (a 10 and 20 per cent drop respectively since 1990), more delays and overcrowding and, as a consequence, more aggravation and conflict.


What the TTC's detractors say
If an average of 50 people a day are taking the time to sit down and write out a complaint, you've got a problem.
The complaints system is geared to smoothing over customer complaints, which are handled by the TTC's marketing department, rather than actually disciplining offending drivers, so problems persist. Only a handful of complaints against drivers have gone to any form of labour arbitration in the last 10 years.


Transit takes

"We're in the middle of contract negotiations right now, and it's just too sensitive a time to really get into how we discipline."

TTC spokesperson Marilyn Bolton

"There's incredible pressure on these folks to meet the precise schedules the TTC sets out. You're going to have situations where drivers are less courteous on some days than on others. It's a complex issue."

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 spokesperson Bill Reno

"We want the complaints system changed. Our objective is to make our customers love us, to take ownership of the system. And it's not simply a matter of providing excellent service. It's a matter of people feeling good about the system being there for them when they have legitimate concerns, rather than a system that says, 'Don't bother us.'"

Councillor Howard Moscoe, chair of the TTC

"The TTC is one of the most underfunded public transit systems in the world. That's what's creating the problems. I think drivers do a good job. We're still one of the safest systems in the world."

Rocket Riders founder Gord Perks

NOW | MAR 31 - APR 6, 2005 | VOL. 24 NO. 31

Safyre
April 2nd, 2005, 11:01 AM
RainGirl - it does sound like your parents are in a bad situation, sorta because of the Union.

If they were going by the Employment Standards Act, if the TTC routinely employs over 50 people, they would have to give them 10 Emergency Days. Emergency days are used for sickness, or emergencies (family member in car accident, things of that nature) As well, there is a part of the ESA that states how much vacation someone should get for the length of employment.
First line under VACATION XI " An employer shall give an employee a vacation of at least two weeks after each vacation entitlement year that he or she completes"

Unfortunately, when it comes to unions, they only have to use the ESA as a GUIDELINE... and boy do they drift away from that line (only 2 sick days? BS! paid sick days, depends on how much they accumulate each year. if the company has sdet up that they can only accumulate 2 days worth of wages... i dunno what to say to that.)

Anyways, sorry, I jsut had to complain about that. Unions can be WONDERFUL sometimes. But if they take away the rights that the government has seen fit to give you, they aren't good.

raingirl
April 2nd, 2005, 12:05 PM
In regards to the complaints. The TTC would rather have complaints about buses not waiting to have on time buses. A driver will be reprimanded if they are late, but are not if people complain.

Next time you see a bus leaves while you are running for it, it is because the driver does not want to get fired. Before driving the subway, my parents drove buses. Yes, they are supposed to be courteous, but being on time is more important to the TTC than being nice. If you can be on time ALL the time, you raise in the ranks faster than being a nice driver.

Also, there are TTC supervisors in disguise on the buses and trains, and you can actually be repremanded if you talk to the passengers too much. You are only required to take fares, as for ID and drive the bus. You are not required to answer questions if you do not know the answer, as that would make the TTC liable.

chico2
April 2nd, 2005, 01:31 PM
Raingirl,I am sorry for your parents,what you describe being their benifits do not sound like a Unionbased program,then again your mom has only been with TTC for 8 yrs,right? Not a very long time to get a decent pension...
As for buses being to early or late...that was always one of my beefs with them,not to keep quoting Sweden,but there every bus-stop has a timetable and the buses do not leave until they are supposed to,that way if you go to the stop on time,you will not gave to run after a bus.
I myself used to work with the public,it's not an easy job,but one that I loved..and sure you deal with all kinds of people,some people are just plain nasty and nowhere in the workforce do you have to take that.

raingirl
April 2nd, 2005, 04:21 PM
They used to have schedules at each stop, and a phone system you could call that would tell you when the next bus was supposed to come, but with budget cuts, they removed them.

Prin
April 3rd, 2005, 12:51 AM
Yes, they are supposed to be courteous, but being on time is more important to the TTC than being nice.
Is that why the bus drivers in Montreal give car drivers the finger? It's about time constraints? Or why they ripped off half of my car with their sloppy driving without even stopping? Seems to me when I am in a hurry, I don't rip off peoples mirrors or give people the finger. They just don't care. Maybe your parents are of the few who take their jobs seriously but a couple of good people is not going to have a big impact on the public when they get treated like criminals the majority of the time they ride public transit.

I have had SO many bad experiences with bus drivers. SOOOOOO MANY. I have not had any memorable good experiences. I remember my 82 year old grandmother defending a bus driver from a bunch of drunk teenagers, but nothing from the bus drivers' side.

I worked 12 hour shifts at a vet and we put at least 4 animals to sleep every day. We got paid way less ($12 000yr) and did way more then sit on our butts driving a bus. My boyfriend and I make way less than $45000/year combined and he can work 16 hour days and weekends. Yes he gets vacation time but it is only in the winter when I am in school. I consider us LUCKY. The majority of Canadian households make under $45000. If your parents can't make wise money decisions and are broke after a long week, it's not their salaries or their pensions or their vacation time that are at fault. I know a single mom raising 5 kids on a Walmart salary and she's thrilled to have a steady job.

Every job has it's cons, but it also has it's pros, otherwise you wouldn't work there. It's when your attitude changes that things start to suck. If we all started arguing about who has the worst job, no one would win. The thing is are bus drivers really worth more than our teachers? Our nurses? Most of the public would say NO.

By the way I have never heard of a unionized job with no vacation... That is the first thing the unions ask for. And pensions- most people won't even depend on their pensions anymore. People from my generation know that companies are not dependable like they used to be and a pension is not guaranteed even if you've paid your dues. That's what they invented RRSPs for.

CyberKitten
April 3rd, 2005, 01:30 AM
Re: By the way I have never heard of a unionized job with no vacation... That is the first thing the unions ask for. And pensions- most people won't even depend on their pensions anymore. People from my generation know that companies are not dependable like they used to be and a pension is not guaranteed even if you've paid your dues. That's what they invented RRSPs for.

I do not live in a large enough city to worry about transit though Halifax has a pretty good system in my opinon. I do not, however, have to depend on it. Moncton has a system with few buses and even fewer stops and seems to require even more improvements.

I have heard of unionzed jobs with no vacation. It's called medicine, lol <Kidding but only sort of> The only way I get a vacation is to go to the other side of the world - tho even now with tech, I can be reached - It is a 24/7 job that never leaves you and that is why I suspect, fewer people value the profession and seek to practice family doctors. Most now want to specialize on other areas.

That said, I think I referred earlier to a wonderful workshop on the four generations now in the workforce and their competing views of work and values. I notice in the younger or newer ;) residents I teach that securing a position where one would be there almost forever (like our parents, the veterans) and some of the boomers. GenX and the Google generation want positions where they know they do not have to make a committment to a particular employer for a significant amount of time - say five yrs plus. They prefer to work for a few years, take some time to travel or find a new adventure or experience a new part of the country or world. (I've decided I am in the middle - I enjoy the security of knowing my position is here but I do like to travel to parts of the globe to volunteer in sometimes precarious and a bit more adventure than I bargained for).

These younger workers - whether they be in medicine or IT or education or any profession for that matter - rarely take the notion of belonging to a union into consideration when opting for a post. Benefits outweigh or trump unions big time. And I do not mean the traditional notion of benefits (med.dental, vacation, job secuity - hmmph (almost a misnomer in this day and age). I refer to issues like taking a pet to work, a casual enviornment, being able to wear happy face attire if one wants to :p ,stock options, and maybe job sharing and telecommuting for example)

Unions are way behind in recognizing the changing demands of the new workforce. They are mired in the world of the 1950's and perhaps the sixties when workers expected to be remain in the same place for a significant amount of their lives. Now the only constant is change (speaking of oxymorons) and even the more progressive unions that actually fought for such benefits as adequate child care (a 24 hr onsite daycare for ex) and equal pay for work of equal value are behind in realizing that today's new worker is not all that interested in contributing to a company's restirement plan because they may not be there that long, tne company may not be there that long and they want more control over what they do with their money and how it is invested! Unions to be relevant need to get with the program - to utilize an overused phrase I hear from students especially.

Creating inconvenience to the public especially does not help anyone. I often thought unions were a very useful tool - and they were - when workers' safety was compromised, there was no specific cap on hours one had to work (tho that is still true in my profession, hah!). They simply are behind the times and new structures will take their place unless they realize this.

I for one have no illusion any CPP or other pension plan I have contributed into will be there when I am ready to retire so it is up to me to make sure I save so much each week and invest it wisely. And although I love my specality, it is one that requires more time with my patients - children require at least twice as much office and clinical time as adults - and cancer patients of all ages often do as well. But our system pays doctors not by salary but by how many patients one sees in a day. Thus many physicians - espcially GP's - race people through their ooffice as if they are running Henry Ford's assemnby line, a horrible approach medical care that is a direct result of how doctors are paid. More and more places - thank goodness - are moving to the team approach, clinics and salaried positions.

So these people who drive transit buses- who probably did not sacrifice to spend thousands of dollars to go to school and continue to do so - and make huge salaries vis - a vis their level of responsibility (Some make more than nusres for example!!) - get little sympathy from me. Plus, they can go home when their shift is over and are not called in the middle of the night with an emergency. How in the world can they call their job abuse???

I love my work but the idea that they are overworked by driving a large vehicle around a city all day is ludicrous!

Anyway, enuf of this rant. I was on call and am work and it is only 4:30 AM Sun morning. I may as well just stay here, lol

Bearsmom
April 3rd, 2005, 07:35 AM
I'm a member of a large, powerful union, (International Association of Firefighters), and I do firmly believe in them. They got women in the fire service pay equity, and this was only 10 years ago. Our dispatchers and female firefighters were paid far less than the males. So, the union stepped in and fought like heck for it, and it was made equal.

My union entitles me to keep my medical coverage, insurance, pension, and an awesome benefit plan. Union dues cost about $600 per year, but when they fight for our raises and benefits, they do a good job.

I used to live and work in Toronto, and never had a problem with the TTC or their drivers, then again, I was always the one to get on the bus/streetcar and greet the driver with a cheery smile and a hearty "good morning", they really had no choice but to answer me.

It is provincial law (Employment Standards Act) that every employee is entitled to 2 weeks of vacation after 12 months, and entitled to vacation pay of 4% of their wages for the 12 months. The only ones who don't get that time from work (although they are paid 1 1/2 days per month) are part time or contract employees. If TTC drivers aren't paid this, then the TTC is in contravention of the law. I'd be looking into this.

chico2
April 3rd, 2005, 08:41 AM
Bearsmom,my husband also is a Union-member working for a newspaper,good wages,good pension,benefits etc... you could not find a more loyal employee than my hubbie and it has paid off,now when he's about to retire.
I believe the people putting down the union are driven by envy,in this time of take-overs,relocation to third-world countries,CEO's making millions while employees slave away for $14/hour or less,unions are very important.
Who in this day and age can save for a pension,raise children,add to the economy by buying a house,making minimum wage,or even $14/hour.. :confused:
I feel for young people today,not everyone can afford,or has the opportunities to get a degree,but it's an insecure environment even with a degree from University.
Loyalty and hard work means nothing today,part-time disposable workers with no benefits,is the way to go for most companies,the bottom line is all that matters.

doggy lover
April 3rd, 2005, 10:05 AM
My husband use to work for TTC, their pensions and vacations are better than that. He was only there for 5 years and got 3 weeks vacation which has to be taken to get paid, and they have one of the better pensions around, they even have special meetings for people to figure out how to retire early which alot of TTC employes do as long as they have 30 years of service in. My husband left because the company is a joke, he had 10 construction behind him and they kept putting him on janitors|nights, and yes there are alot of ignorant people you meet both staff and clients but that is everywhere in life if you work with the public. I'm in a union too SEIU and we get 3 weeks vacation for 6 years employment. I will be getting 6 weeks vacation next year after 23 years in, we have pension, benefits etc.

raingirl
April 3rd, 2005, 10:49 AM
Prin, keep in mind that Montreal and Toronto are way different. $45k in salary is not the greatest. It's average. However, given how much my parents put it, she should be making more. I started at my old job at $30k...and in 2.5 years, a was around $40k...

Minimum wage in ontario, full time hours, is still over $15k a year...I don't know what Quebecs minimum wage is.

My parents are broke because in Toronto, to own a house you have to pay close to $2000 a month for your mortgage. My parents own 2 houses (therefore $4000 a month), because this is my mother's first job EVER in her life. She has no RRSPs or pension really. She can only rely on her rental investment. We grew up on welfare. She raised 3 kids alone on less than $8000 a year (back in the 80's). I like to think that she has done well considering she turns 60 this year. She only has 5 years to pay off two mortgages for 2 houses, so that she can retire. That is why my parents will be broke. My step father is in the same boat, no rrsp, no pension, etc. And we all know that the TTC is going to force her to retire before then, and screw her.

I don't know why my parents don't get more vacation or sick days. Right now my mom is off work sick with no pay. She has been off for 5 days. No Union helping her there.

Chico, i know what you mean. I get paid more that my mother, and I still have trouble paying rent, paying off student loans, and saving for RRSP and a house. It's almost impossible! I have an Honours Bachelor of Science degree and it does me diddly squat!! Instead, I am $45K in debt!

Safyre
April 3rd, 2005, 12:09 PM
"Generally speaking, employees represented by a union can't file a claim. These employees--if they are covered by a collective agreement and whether or not they are actually members of the union--must use the grievance procedure contained in the collective agreement between the employer and the trade union. " as per How To File an ESA Claim (http://www.gov.on.ca/LAB/english/es/factsheets/fs_claim.html)

Sometimes Unions go by the ESA to the letter, and use that as a beginning for thier collective agreements. Some, don't. I don't think all Unions are bad, I never said that. At my last workplace, I voted YES for a union to come in. We did not win the vote. When a Union does not give you the same rights that the provincial government has given you (ESA), I can't see that as good.

chico2
April 3rd, 2005, 01:00 PM
Raingirl,you are confusing me a bit(does not take much :D )but if you own two houses in Toronto,you have a pretty good pension right there,in the resale.Owning two houses I don't think your parents will get much sympathy.
Maybe your mom was hired as a part-timer,hence the one week vacation and 2 days sickpay.
Like Bearsmom says,every Ontarian is entitled to 2 weeks paid vacation after a year of employment.My husband gets 6 weeks vacation,since he's worked for 25yrs for the paper.His Union is GCIU(graphical and communication international union).
The Union protects it's workers,they do the hiring since only proffessionals can work at the paper.
Nobody in any Union wants to strike,but sometimes it is neccessary,especially in todays climate.The sad part is,TTC will only take it out on their customers,in higher fares.

Bearsmom
April 3rd, 2005, 01:18 PM
I think my problem lies with the youngsters we're hiring today in the fire service. We have one guy who just started in our hall, and his attitude is, "all of you owe ME something". We call him IKEA ( I Know Everything Already). That attitude will SINK you as a new employee.

My dad gave me some awesome advice-"for every person who has a job, there are at least 50 others waiting in line FOR that job-appreciate that you have that job". Made me appreciate work so much more. Sure I whine and complain, wouldn't be human otherwise, but I'm still extremely grateful I have my job.

Prin
April 3rd, 2005, 03:02 PM
I wasn't comparing $45000 in Montreal to $45000 in Toronto, I was comparing it to a national average. In Montreal, the average is around $32000 per household. I'm sorry if your parents can't afford their 2 houses, but the rest of us are working our a**es off to pay for just one, if we can even get it. It's like we're supposed to feel sorry for John Travolta because his taxes went up on his house in Senneville, since he's got like 12 other houses to pay for. Why do you need 2 houses if you're broke? SHOW ME a nurse with 2 houses.

chico2
April 3rd, 2005, 03:17 PM
Bearsmom,thank's for the IKEA thing,hubby will use it at work :D
He has a real problem with the young guys,coming in as apprentices..making $60-80 thousand a year,not wanting to do this and that.
What they need is a kick in the butt,back out to the unemployment-line,to appreciate what they have.Hubby is production manager and hears it all the time from young guys,the older ones he has no problems with,they already know how lucky they are.

CyberKitten
April 3rd, 2005, 04:42 PM
Ok I am tired and probably cranky but what on earth is wrong with obtaining an education? I believe in learning for the sake of learning. One should never enroll in university because it will give you a job. Of course we need a career - there are jobs that I do not consider a career - something you do not plan to do all your life - but that is not entirely the same thing as learning.

I do not live in TO but my experiences there have not been favourable - too big, too expensive, too driven by profit, think they are the centre of the universe or at least New York, lol , unfriendly, too fast. That was DOWNTOWN tho - my hunch is living in the burbs would be OK.

As I said previsouly, unions do have a role but they need to update. Chico, I am sure your husband's union is fine (my dad and my mom's were too - still are) but they do not meed the needs of the new knowlewdge economy and that concerns me. They also spend way too much time not organizing those who really need a union and instead focus on raiding other unions. That is a huge waste of time - for those employees who have no proetction.

Anyway, that's it. Sorry I am miffed about most things today, lol

raingirl
April 3rd, 2005, 09:06 PM
I'm not saying anything is wrong with an education Cyber, but when I was in highschool I didn't think I had a choice (peer pressure), and I think I made some bad decisions. My friends looked down on people who didn't go to University (and it had to be University, not college as college was for dumb kids to them). No one told me it would cost as much as it did either and of course, I had no money going in AT ALL as I wasn't told to save any from the jobs I had. and I regret a lot of the decisions I made while I was there, like not getting a job, not saving my money, taking out too many loans. The government had this thing called "loan forgiveness" when I started school, where basically for every $10,000 you got per year in government loans, they forgave $3000. Well, when I graduted, they stopped it and I got screwed. If I had taken a few years off and thought about what I really wanted to do, and waited, I probably would have been in less debt and not been so jaded. I think learning is great, but not when you feel you are forced to do it, and end up in huge debt.

(and it's not only peers that force you to go to school..the teachers did also, which thinking back, I don't agree with. We were basically taught that the only way we will ever get a job is with a university degree...that's it. On a positive note, out of all my highschool friends, I am only one of three that actually finished their degree).

Sometimes I wish I didn't grow up in Toronto, as things here seem so different than the rest of the country. In toronto, I couldn't even get a job at McDonalds (and I tried...) without being a "super student" as I called it (you had to have lots of extra curriculars and stuff..weird huh?). The competition is so feirce, things are too expensive. It really screws with your perceptions sometimes.

I probably should have clarified about the 2 houses thing. My mother got our house (that we grew up in) in the divorce. She just sold that one
(last week actually...boy will I miss that house), and bought another one. then she used to collateral from that house to buy a second one. The second one, once paid for, will be their income for retirement as they do not have ANY RRSP's. At 60, it was risky to do, but it was their only choice or be homeless when they retire.

I agree with you prin about buying a house though. I don't think I will ever be able to afford one at the rate I'm going because of where I live. Toronto (and surrounding areas) really suck. A house in Toronto that costs $280,000 would cost less than $150,000 an hour or less drive out of the city (hamilton etc).

Doggy lover, what part of the TTC did you DH used to work for? I would love to know if my mom is getting screwed maybe.

I guess this thread is getting a little off topic. All I wanted to say was that from what my parents told me, I can't see why they keep their jobs with the amount of crap they put up with, for what they actually get. I could not stand working 12 hour days, having odd days off (not weekends, but you don't really get a choice), less than 2 weeks vacation, few sicks days, the stress of the people yelling, the smell, and all that for less pay than I think they should be making after being there so long. You get harassed if you call in sick (they called my mother 3 times today asking her to come in even though she is really sick), and they call harassing you on your weekends/vacation BEGGING you to come in and cover people who called in sick. My mother comes home crying sometimes because of how bad it is, when I keep telling her, find a job elsewhere, like a school bus driver, and you will get paid the same for less work, more vacation, and better working conditions. If I worked for the TTC, I would be happy to strike.

(plus, I would love it if they did bring back that phone system with the bus times, that rocked!!)

Prin
April 4th, 2005, 01:08 AM
(and it's not only peers that force you to go to school..the teachers did also, which thinking back, I don't agree with. We were basically taught that the only way we will ever get a job is with a university degree...that's it. On a positive note, out of all my highschool friends, I am only one of three that actually finished their degree).

I know what that is like. I left home pretty young because I didn't have a clue what I wanted to do with my life and I didn't see the point in bumbling though school without any ambition. I took 3 years off to travel (I think that gave my dad and all my friends and relatives a heart attack- but I didn't cave in). I worked 15 jobs in those 3 years and I got bored so fast with each one. I've done almost everything except work in restaurants (I have enough trouble with food already...). I decided the only way doors would open is by going back to school. Now after 3 years of Biology and 2 summers struggling to find a student job at my age (REEALLY looking forward to doing it again :rolleyes:, you work at a vet one summer and all of a sudden you're "overqualified" for any other job but underqualified for anything you're studying for... :mad: ) I still don't have a clue and I probably won't have a job when I graduate. And I'm pretty sick of it all too. (At least now they've reinstated the bursaries program! YEY the students won!!)

Cyberkitten I think the main reason "kids" choose a university program to get a job right away after graduation is because there is not much learning going on anyway. THREE years of Biology and my courses are still all about memorizing. Getting a degree isn't about learning anymore, it's about who is the best at memorizing and regurgitating a textbook (especially in science). What gets me is that graduates know that and somehow BSc beside a name still means something. It definitely doesn't mean you can think.

Anyway, that's my school rant.

Raingirl, why don't you encourage your mom to take courses, like secretarial courses or something that would bring her inside with less confrontation?

chico2
April 4th, 2005, 07:19 AM
CK,I agree with you about Toronto,I drive there once a year(about 40 min away) to take my son to Toronto General Hospital and breath a sigh of relief when I get back to Oakville and my peaceful little house :D
Also,I never said an education is a waste,learning is always important,even at my age I learn every day and am eager to do so.But depending on the circumstances of your child-hood and life in general a good education is not always possible.
It should be available to anyone willing to learn,should not be limited to whether you have money or not.
In many countries in Europe a higher education is free(France being one),but you have to prove you are serious about learning and wanting a degree or you get kicked out,no forever students there.Also a young graduate will not start life with a $40.000 debt.

Bearsmom
April 4th, 2005, 08:15 AM
Bearsmom,thank's for the IKEA thing,hubby will use it at work :D
He has a real problem with the young guys,coming in as apprentices..making $60-80 thousand a year,not wanting to do this and that.
What they need is a kick in the butt,back out to the unemployment-line,to appreciate what they have.Hubby is production manager and hears it all the time from young guys,the older ones he has no problems with,they already know how lucky they are.

Always glad to contribute to workplace humour!!!! :p

Bearsmom
April 4th, 2005, 08:29 AM
I'm a firefighter. We put up with a LOT of c**p from people, getting puked on, spit on, and being around all KINDS of nasty little people, I've held more sick or dying people in my arms than I ever thought I'd care to. I've scraped more drunks off the highways than I've ever cared to, or thought I would. I've also carried more bodies out of houses because people were too STUPID to spend 93 cents at walmart and get BATTERIES for their smoke detectors.

Try being only one of two female firefighters on a department, when the other one spends most of her time either fighting with the guys in her hall or sleeping with them.

I work 10 hour days and 14 hour nights. Try THAT with a toddler at home, and a husband who works straight days. I get called constantly on my vacation/days off/lieu days/ etc. I've worked more holidays than I care to count, including Christmas.

But having said all of that, I still wouldn't trade my job for the world. I LOVE what I do. I'm extremely fortunate to have this job.

I also attended university (Honours Bachelor of Arts), and I also have my Masters degree in Public Administration (hey, they've gotta have a female chief at SOME point, right), this career just seemed to call me after having spent 10 years as a Toronto Police officer wrestling with drunks on Yonge Street.

Those who have jobs should just be careful, as at least they've GOT one. The pay may not be the greatest, but try having NO pay.

Sorry Cyberkitten, I'm pretty bloody grouchy today, too. :D

doggy lover
April 4th, 2005, 07:39 PM
Bearsmom and we thank you for being there when we need you. :grouphug:

mrmilo
April 4th, 2005, 08:01 PM
Someday...Just maybe...We will all realize that going on strike is one of the worst ways to settle a labour dispute. When you think of the total inconvience and hardship to workers and consumers, it absolutlely astounds me. So instead of working on a better way to solve a labour problem we instead pit rider against TTC worker. There is a better way to solve the dispute. Someday we may figure it out..on second thought probably not since most people in the position to solve this problem are more concerned with lining their own pockets. And most of us voters are too preoccupied and can't see the forest for the trees.

For those of you angry with the TTC employees, why shouldn't they have the right to make your life miserable. Lots of other unions do.

CyberKitten
April 4th, 2005, 09:25 PM
I hope I do not sound as crank as the other nite. Maybe I need more sleep, lol

Re Bearsmom comment that "I think my problem lies with the youngsters we're hiring today in the fire service. " Hey, my baby brother just became a firefighter - no easy task either, I may add - congrats to you for doing it! And he is a great guy and would never be rude to anyone at work or otherwise unless someone else started it. But he won't back down either and I do not blame him! Like you, he has multiple degrees and is a CA - he is athletic and hated the idea of being indoors all the time. So, pls do not lump every young person entering the labour force in the same breath. :)

I should note when he was hired a few yrs ago now - those with univ degrees were selected first. The days of joinng a fire dept off the street will soon be over I suspect. His science background came in handy as did his athleticism. He likes the benefits of the job and that was one of the main reasons he left accounting. (He also has an education degree and teaches acct at a community college - not easy to work around his schedule but the college accomodates him).

And...

Re: "I think the main reason "kids" choose a university program to get a job right away after graduation is because there is not much learning going on anyway. THREE years of Biology and my courses are still all about memorizing. Getting a degree isn't about learning anymore, it's about who is the best at memorizing and regurgitating a textbook (especially in science). What gets me is that graduates know that and somehow BSc beside a name still means something. It definitely doesn't mean you can think."

I HATE the idea of memorizing as learning. To me, it is not learning and simply reiterating what one read is NOT learning imho. It is true that certainly in medicine, there is much to know and much to memorize. However, by the time you have to actually practice, so much has changed and you need to be able to retrieve that info from your hard drive in your brain, apply it and make a decision - usually very quickly. How you learn to do that is the important part - not the facts that you memorized.

Science and medicine as a science is about being creative in applying knowledge. The old debate about the art and science of a subject. So while I agree I had to memorize mounds of material (and having a good memory helps and that is actually something that can be learned too) - that was the least important part of my university education and certainly how I teach my pediaric residents. I do not teach information. I teach how to find that info/data, how tio use it, the ethics of using it and how to relate to the people you use it for.

If "my" Residents cannot think critically, they do not graduate. It is that simple. Mind you by then, they have a BSc, a medical degree, internship and a residency in peds so they'd better be able to learn, lol

I agree with Chico about university education and fees. (tho this came up under meb99's concerns over the strike in QC too). Canada is not as bad as the US where my nephew's tuition alone was $28,000 a year and that was not grad school, merely an undergrad degree. And these days, an undergrad degree won't get you that far unless it is a professional degree like say pharmacy or Applied Nutrition and you still must do an internship after that.

I have taught for a few summer sessions in Ireland and really like their system - newly inaugerated in the late 80's. University tuition is covered by the "state" so that if you qualify and get accepted into the program you want in an accredited university, you do not have to worry about tuition. There are scholarships available for other costs like housing, books, etc - often from County govts. This practice - along with the country's good tax relief system - is credited with making Ireland the Celtic Tiger. The Irish were always well educated but now it is even more equitable. If one fails a program tho, one must then pay for the course from one's own money.

In so doing, they joined many European countries and NZ and others in ensuring people who gained admission obtained an education without concern about finances. Now that a basic degree is equal to what high school once was, I think Canada should be looking in the same way. We have a small population by the world's standards and as tuitions increase and fewer students from middle class families can afford to attend university, that - along with other policies - would make is more competitive economically. I think as we do that, we must also increase the standards of at least the undergarduate degrees which I think are less difficult than when I was a student in the late 70's -early 80's. I mean - taking a course on Nancy Drew as Literature (as much as I love the titan haired heroine) or "the sociology of sex" - as fun as that one sounds - is not in my opinion worthy of academic pursuit. I myself am studying Irish Gaelic for the fun of it and there are many courses like that but I do not intend to use them in my work - unless I practice medicine in Galway. <g>

There is a wonderful open site at MIT where one can take courses for free - tho you obtain no credit not contact with the prof - but that is a wonderful idea in sharing knowledge with the community. I'd like to design something like that myself on wellness and medicine for parents and have been looking inbto the Office of Learning Technologies for doing it, especially as we move to a health care system where people must travel a greater distance to see docs and specialists.

I did not mean to suggest Chico that you were against studying - not sure where you got that idea. Sorry if I offended you - it was entirely unintended!

chico2
April 5th, 2005, 09:12 AM
Oh no CK,you did not offend me :D
I just hear so often"get an education",but for some people it is not always that simple,including me.
For some people life is a"survive the day"exsistence from childhood on,my mom as an example,was disabled,I grew up on wellfare...after graduating highschool,no matter how much I wanted to go to school,it was just not possible..I had to get a fulltime job.
I am certain the same scenario happens here too today,even more so since it's very expensive,not all parents see an education as something important to their kids,they might not even care at all,it happens more than you think.
Also academia is not for everyone,in todays economy getting a trade,getting an apprenticeship(SP?),becoming a tradesman/woman will sometimes benefit you more,the jobs are out there,since skilled labour is retiring.
The Universities are pouring out graduates,with only a few being lucky enough to get in to their chosen proffession.There are a few working with my husband,who make excellent money and often money is the bottom line.
But learning just for the heck of learning,never ends,your education never stops...keeping up with whats happening in the world,read and learn is to me very important,you will not get a degree,but you will not be totally ignorant :thumbs up
One incident sticks in my mind forever,a young girl I worked with(24yrs)did not even know where Paris was in Europe,the only subjects she could discuss,was the latest movies,baseball and football,now that to me is ignorance.I graduated from highschool(in Sweden)able to speak 3 languages,a general knowledge about the Globe,history,biology etc...what do they learn in highschool today???

Eleni
April 5th, 2005, 09:37 AM
My boyfriend and I make way less than $45000/year combined and he can work 16 hour days and weekends. Yes he gets vacation time but it is only in the winter when I am in school. I consider us LUCKY. The majority of Canadian households make under $45000. If your parents can't make wise money decisions and are broke after a long week, it's not their salaries or their pensions or their vacation time that are at fault. I know a single mom raising 5 kids on a Walmart salary and she's thrilled to have a steady job.




Amen to that, my husband and I right now net in about 35, 000 a year.

to get 28$ an hour would be a dream for us, we also consider ourselves lucky that we ahve been frugal enough to horde away savings and budget tightly enough to afford the lifestyle we have.



Eleni

raingirl
April 5th, 2005, 10:28 AM
Chico, I was reading back and forgot to clarify something. You said that having 2 houses is a good pension. I'm confused. Pension is what you company gives you for retirement right? Having an investment in two houses I thought wouldn't be a pension. I don't know...maybe pension is the word that people use for retirement in general.

Bearsmom
April 5th, 2005, 11:28 AM
[QUOTE=CyberKitten]
Re Bearsmom comment that "I think my problem lies with the youngsters we're hiring today in the fire service. " Hey, my baby brother just became a firefighter - no easy task either, I may add - congrats to you for doing it! And he is a great guy and would never be rude to anyone at work or otherwise unless someone else started it. But he won't back down either and I do not blame him! Like you, he has multiple degrees and is a CA - he is athletic and hated the idea of being indoors all the time. So, pls do not lump every young person entering the labour force in the same breath. :)

QUOTE]

No, I believe in giving everyone a clean slate and a fair chance, until they prove they cannot be trusted, or have the work ethic of a garden slug.

The fire service is a different culture altogether, and the senior guys will make SURE the junior guys/gals coming in learn about RESPECT. Once the respect is learned, then the trust is earned.

I don't want some hotshot watching my back that is too enamoured with the "Backdraft" idea of firefighting.

The new ones DO have to prove themselves.

We've just had a fine recruit class of 50 graduate. Most of them are doing very well, and are very good at their jobs.

We wound up with one clown in our station who walks up to me after Saturday breakfast (firehouse rule is if you cook breakfast, don't do the dishes), I had cooked breakfast with another guy, and he and I were relaxing on the sofa. Newbie walks up to us, plunks himself down next to us and says, "yeah, I don't DO dishes at home, and I'm certainly not doing them HERE". Captain made sure he did the dishes Saturday, and on Sunday, when we were cooking breakfast, we used every pot, pan, lid, utensil and kitchen appliance we possibly could. He also did the dishes on Sunday.

I don't like those who start at a new job in the lower positions, strut into the firehall, and demand respect. You can't demand respect, you EARN it.

chico2
April 5th, 2005, 01:43 PM
No Raingirl.I did not mean that,of course they should have a company pension,if they paid in to it.But I am sure your parents bought the houses as a retirement investment,to be sold,hopefully with some profit when they retire.

CyberKitten
April 5th, 2005, 02:26 PM
I agree young ppl need to prove themselves - I really think we'd all benefit from that session I attended given by Linda Duxbury on the 4 generations in the workforce, lol - how all these value systems are clashing and GenX is not too keen about the boomers and the Google kids do not want job security as much as adventure, change and benefits. (It is more complex but that is part of it, lol)

I was just defending my brother. He gets along very well with his older guys and even is a close friend of the ONE female firefighter at his station - they work out together and run in races together - but he was raised by feminists sooo..... He said the first time he saved a life (His dept is also first responders) - it made all the difference in the world. I can relate to that of course.

I was initially not keen about him entering the profession - the danger etc - but he just seems to have taken to it like a hand to a well warn glove and now I am thrilled for him. 9/11 (and my sister survived the collapse of the Towers in NYC) changed some of the status of the firefighter - tho there is an interesting book about women in the NYFD who do not get the recognition they should.

Anyway--- that's it for now, :)

raingirl
April 5th, 2005, 03:29 PM
Actually, my parents bought the houses so they could rent them out for their retirement income, but same thing in the long run. Because my mom got our old house in the divorce, and they new one only being a little more, they have like...1.5 mortgages. They are using all the rent to pay off the mortgages asap first, and hopefully they will be paid off in 5 years. They have 3 rental apartments, and live in the upstairs of one of the houses.

Bearsmom
April 5th, 2005, 04:22 PM
I wasn't specifically picking on your brother, I just wanted to state that I'm surprised at the number of younger people that walk into a job and demand that they be treated like someone who's been there for 20 years. That's all.

That book that came out with the female firefighters complaining they don't get recognized was really annoying.

CyberKitten
April 5th, 2005, 05:13 PM
I have not read it. I just know what it is like to be a woman in a male dominated profession tho mine is changing quickly and was intrigued when I heard about it.

Bearsmom
April 6th, 2005, 01:34 PM
It got a lot of flack (sp?) in the fire service in general, as it sounded really whiny-the author went on and on about how we should be referred to a fireFIGHTERS, and news services, etc after 9/11 kept calling them fireMEN. Far as I'm concerned, something far too trivial to worry about.

I found when I started in the fire service, I didn't fling my gender and equality rights around. I think I did have a bit of an advantage, though, as I had spent ten years prior to joining the fire service as a police officer (another male dominated profession-no wonder my mother worries so much heehee). so I knew what to expect when I started on the fire dept

What do you do, cyberkitten? I know you wrote about it somewhere else, but I have to get offline soon and can't remember the thread where you discussed it before. There's a puppy chewing on my ankle and it's starting to smart.

CyberKitten
April 7th, 2005, 11:08 AM
Bearsmom, congrats on what you do!! We need ppl like you. Sounds like you have some interesting experiences.

I have a close friend - a woman- who fishes lobster and woe to the person who calls her (a la CBC) a fisher, lol She is a fisherman, plain ans simple.

I am a pediatric oncologist - in my 1st year of medical school, less than 10 % of students were women - it was worse in internal medicine (specialty pre oncology) and even pediatrics was dominated by men. Now, I teach residents where 51% are women!

I've also spent time in politics - broke down a few doors there, not easy but fun, lol

Bearsmom
April 7th, 2005, 12:20 PM
My God, how do you do that work? We had our son down at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. What got me right in the heart was seeing those young balding children at the hospital, I used to just about cry every time I saw one. To deal with that on a consistent basis would kill me.

My heart goes out to you for all you've done. My mom has just been told that her cancer is too far gone, and nothing is going to work for her any more. (forgive me, I'm all teary eyed and emotional today). Her oncologists have provided her with the best healthcare and compassion I've ever seen. They (and you) are truly amazing people.

CyberKitten
April 7th, 2005, 07:04 PM
I am so sorry to hear about your mom!! ((((Bearsmom))))) I think sometime it is worse for the loved ones to watch their family members die - I see so many parents just shattered. But many rise above it all and become better people for it.

It is not the easiest specialty - emotionally anyway - but there are many victories. We get to laugh as we beat cancer often and that feels great!! There are some down days too of course but all the people I work with and meet in this work - whatever their age - have such an abiding zest for life that one has to think of every new day as another exciting adventure!!

Take care of yourself and hug your mom!!! :grouphug:

Bearsmom
April 7th, 2005, 09:21 PM
Thanks so much, Cyberkitten. It's really tough on us right now as I'm the closest geographical child to her. My sister lives in Connecticut, and my brother's an idiot married to an even bigger idiot who won't "allow" my brother to see his family. (Which also means that my parents haven't seen their other grandchildren, some they don't even know).

The most heartbreaking thing mom said was, "I won't get to see Robbie grow up". That killed me. Dad and I just don't want her to suffer (nor does she).

All I keep hoping is that someday they do find a cure.

CyberKitten
April 7th, 2005, 10:50 PM
Re a cancer cure - while it does not sound as tho it may help your mom, there are some great strides being made in cancer research. I am especially excited about the study of mutations in genes that predict how at a given time, an individual's cells may then start to act inappropriately and become cancer. These targetted drugs will one day enable us to treat just the cancer cells and thus not harm all the cells! This is also sometimes referred to a personalized medicine. I sometimes call my own research Customizing Clinical Drugs and Protocols.

Other experimental drugs block cancer cells and stop them in their tracks er is that by their mitochondria, lol

Anyway, take care of yourself as well!!

Bearsmom
April 8th, 2005, 07:53 AM
I think we've hijacked this thread. Hee hee

Anyways, she's been undergoing chemo for 6 years now, and says she's very tired. They don't think there's much more they can do for her, other than treat any pain she may have.

Keep on doing the research, a cure will be found someday.

doggy lover
April 10th, 2005, 06:51 PM
No strike my kids can get to school yeah.