Rancor And Ridiculousness

Am I the only person to find it odd that TTC union chief, Bob Kinnear, sent a voice message out to his membership, warning them of a City Hall directed crackdown on cell phone use by transit workers? I mean, is he deliberately trying to get them in trouble, sending a note that everyone, in all probability, will read via their cell phones? Just imagine the gleeful headline in the Toronto Sun.

Kinnear’s claim that a driver was fired for using her cell phone to take a picture of the person who had just allegedly assaulted her had better be true. Otherwise, it’s one of those accusations that not only undermine the argument of the person making it but the cause attached to it. And if it indeed happened, well, we’ve moved beyond the realm of the ridiculous, firmly into theatre of the absurd. A counter-productive, poisonous atmosphere of workplace dysfunction that can hardly be conducive to improving customer relations.

So far, nothing being issued from the commission or its chair has actually spiked Kinnear’s statement. On Metro Morning earlier today, TTC GM Gary Webster said he hadn’t heard of such an incident happening. Not a denial exactly. Commission spokesman, Brad Ross, assures us that the driver has been ‘reinstated’, suggesting that she had been initially canned but on sober second thought, saner heads had prevailed. Ross then proceeded to go into semi-damage control mode, reiterating TTC chair Karen Stintz’s statement, “We’ve put safety measures in place like cameras, so if there is an incident or an assault or a safety concern on the vehicle, we do have a way of capturing that information.”

That’s a kind of official denial that also works on the level of confirming the original allegation. It seems to be suggesting that there was no need for the TTC drive to fully exercise her right to use her cell phone to take a photo because there were security cameras in place to do that for her. It also points to some serious underlying tension at work between the TTC commission and its employees. This would seem to be a pretty straight forward regulation to have in place. All those operating a moving vehicle should adhere to the law that states use of hand held devices while doing so to be illegal. Anything beyond that could be perceived as bordering on unnecessary harassment.

Of course, denials have been much firmer about any connection between the recent blitz targeting texting/talking TTC workers and directives coming out of the mayor’s office. It would be hard to believe even if such a thing actually existed it would have been written down somewhere, waiting to be scooped up for a wider public broadcast. Kinnear’s suggestion could just as conceivably be seen as a salvo thrown by a city union at a union hating mayor.

Yet… yet… it just seems so convincingly plausible. So much so that the mayor’s people have had to spend time to officially deny it. Why? Because the mayor obviously hates unions. Hates the TTC. And loves to malignantly micro-manage. He lives to declare war on things. That he’d get involved in a petty pissing match isn’t really hard to believe.

The fact that such state of affairs is even possible is the result of an elected official whose entire reason for being is to attack the very government he leads. As a councillor, on the campaign trail and now as mayor, Rob Ford is all about dismantling the public sector or, at least, to limit its scope of operation. He displays a pathological mistrust in the notion of anything outside of private, for-profit enterprise. Everything else? The Gravy Train. Those he perceives to be slurping from it are treated as suspect and must be hassled, vilified and punished for their weakness of character.

It’s a toxic attitude and unsustainable, built entirely on resentment and vindictiveness. Co-operation gives way to squabbling, and instead of progress being made, there’s just internecine struggles that accomplish absolutely nothing. While there’s plenty of blame to pass around for that, in the end it’s a kind of rot that starts at the head.

stinkily submitted by Cityslikr

2 thoughts on “Rancor And Ridiculousness

  1. Bob Kinnear did an interview on Newstalk1010 with John Moore around 8:27am. There was a sticking point on what “fired” means. Jerry Agar who did the Ford interview last week twisted the interview to suit his anti union views from 9am – 12pm. Unfortunately, some TTC operators called into that show & were summarily ripped by Agar.
    The managers have been making hay of cell phone use.
    In the end, the street car driver was reinstated…

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