Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Care for Cargo

The Air Canada strike was called today, mere minutes before the federal government introduced legislation to force the strikers back to work. It appears that this is a very important issue to the government, as stated below:

"Air Canada has a huge section of the market in Canada in terms of travel. It affects tourists of course but it affects business, it affects the delivery of cargo in Canada and from Canada abroad. So this is a matter of significant economic consequence," Flaherty told reporters.

Yes, that's right: cargo delivery in Canada and from abroad is far more important than any pesky worker's rights type problems. It appears that the reason for this strike is centered around the typical annoyances: pensions, job security, safety, quite possibly a cost of living increase to keep up with an inflation rate that is barrelling out of control for the average Canadian. But none of this has any business affecting cargo delivery. And that's the way that the government sees it.

It's startling to see how the gap between the rich and the poor has widened, how unions have become increasingly maligned as troublemakers and greedy hogs who want more days off than they should legitimately ask for, and how Canadian household debt has increased to close to $1.5 trillion dollars.

Trillion dollars? I thought that was a joke dollar made up on the Simpsons when they flew to Cuba and Castro stole it from Mr. Burns who was running away for tax evasion. Apparently, it's real and it's a real problem too.

But getting back to this strike issue. It finally seems clear to me why Air Canada employees always look so sour. I used to think that the monotony of the job was the problem, but it appears that poor work conditions and little pay for lots of aggravation from the general public are the real culprits. Not to mention the full barf bags.

Air Canada is reviled in a pan-Canadian way, due to poor service and just general cheapness, as everything on board starts to cost something and customers are now asked to check their own bags. Cancellations, delays, inefficient routes and astronomical fares to go across Canada are also factors. So it stands to reason that if Air Canada can treat its customers this way, the employees can't be much better off.

It's strangely ironic that a government which prided itself on making life easier for the Canadian family is now putting cargo ahead of worker's rights. The priority of the government is to support big business first, intervening on behalf of Air Canada, which is the injured party in this whole affair, as their cargo will be badly affected by the actions of greedy tax-paying hard working....Canadians.

Leave us not forget the fact that Air Canada is the company that taxpayer money helped to save back in the days when it was close to bankruptcy, probably because they had paid Celine Dion an outrageous amount of money to sing about the airline before her Vegas show took off. Just another embarrassing chapter in the airline's history.

This one will surely be a part of that, if the Air Canada employees buckle under the pressure. As much as I dislike the airline, the employees are right to stick up for their rights. They are right to take their employer to task. And they have every right to stand up for themselves and let the company and the government know that they are worth more than cargo.

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