Sunday, 31 August 2014

Video of the Day: picketer verbal abuse and racism

Some older security footage, showing just how "peaceful" the picket line was, early in the strike.  This one goes back to the morning of May 11.

Note a "care" worker's racist comments beginning 4:18.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

The New Guy

AUPE's  efforts to counter the reality of what they've been doing at our home for the past several months have so far included a couple of audio interviews that they've posted online.  A sort of "man in the street" thing.

We did wonder how they could have someone ready and available to interview some supposedly random person who came to check out the picket line.

Turns out they've simply hired their own Newspeak specialist for their Ministry of Truth propaganda machine.

Sure enough, they've got a new paid picketer, who's job is apparently to sit around at our home in wait, to "interview" these "random" visitors, as well as the picketing SAIL staff.  Two of his "spontaneous" interviews are already online.

Of course, any supposedly random visitor isn't going to be seeing what AUPE has been doing to us for months, now that the leashes are on.

They're not going to see the hours of noise from megaphones, bulb horns, kazoos, car horns, various forms of vocalisations and yes, even the air raid siren.

They're not going to see the picketers taunting a non-verbal woman in her home, to the point that she can't go out on her balcony.

They're not going to get a chance to talk to our members who've had to increase their pain medications, or were forced from their homes to undergo treatment for PTSD.

They're not going to see the picketers as they continue to verbally harass some of our members (hint to AUPE: any time one of your picketers forces their attention onto a member; no matter how fake-friendly the words used, it still falls under the definition of harassment), or lie in wait for a certain care worker they have targeted for exceptional levels of abuse.

It's pretty unlikely they'll have read this blog or seen the videos - if they did, they'd know that AUPE has been in damage control for a while now.

But then, if they did read this blog, they'd know it would be pointless to come out to the picket line at AUPE's invitation and talk to the "care" staff.

They'd already know it was all an act.

Outright False

Noticed the photo used in the header of the AUPE twitter page that's supposedly by the SAIL staff.

Check out the placard in this screen capture.

Another example of AUPE Newspeak.  This statement is just plain false.

They weren't locked out because they asked for benefits.  That was one of the things they went on strike for (though they had rejected a benefits package a couple of years ago as being too expensive; the choice was between a lower wage with benefits, or a higher wage and no benefits.  They chose the money).

They were locked out because, on seeing their behaviour on the picket line, all trust and confidence in them was destroyed, and the user members no longer felt they would be safe with these "care" workers in their home.

They weren't locked out because they asked for benefits.

They were locked out for the protection of user members.

Not even trying

Looking at AUPE's more recent attempt to regain control of their public image via social media Newspeak has been ... interesting.

Especially when they post things like this.

This was posted on the same day as that stomach churning food photo.

 They're not even trying to pretend they haven't claimed our home as their personal playground.  They've actually posted a photo of themselves using our raised bed garden as their own personal seating.  A garden that was not designed to be used as seating and, as an object, is not part of any easement.

You can even see the "private property" sign in the back ground.  Two of them!

Yo!  Picketers!  Get your lazy butts off our garden wall before you wreck it!

The public image game continues

So with all the videos, posts and public blowback over AUPE's tactics while picketing our homes, AUPE has yanked on some leashes and forced the picketers to behave.

They clearly aren't too happy about it.  One even snarled at an Artspace member who said "good morning" to her - which is funny, considering one of their favourite methods of harassment is to shout out fake-friendly comments in relentless and taunting manners.  This is a group that has made "see you tomorrow" into a threat.

They also escape their leashes when they think no one is looking, continue to verbally harass people, and continue to hunt and stalk others.

They were posting long, boring video taken from a camera set up in the pee patch, counting on people to be dumb enough to believe the picketers would actually behave the way they have been for months, in front of their own cameras while in the middle of damage control.

Well, the police finally had a talk with them about having their camera on our private property, so they moved that one.

Now it's set up behind their van, facing into the high rise.

So while they've now got the tripod on the street instead of our private property, they are taking even more invasive video of our private spaces and into our homes.

In their efforts to engage in Newspeak, they started up a new twitter account, supposedly from the picketing SAIL staff.

The first time some of us stumbled on it, we actually thought it had to be some sort of spoof, or some kind of sarcastic parody, because of this.

Terrible photo aside, it looks like something someone puked up.  

We figured it had to be someone trying to make the real care staff - the replacement workers that have been doing such a great job - look bad by thinking this is what they were feeding our user members.

But no, apparently this is a genuine account, and someone seriously posted this disgusting photo like it was a good thing - and yes, the recipe did get posted in a series of tweets.

Now I'm the one horrified at the thought that our striking care staff may have been feeding stuff like this to our user members!  

Maybe instead of harassing Y all the time, they should be asking her for cooking lessons, because not only is her food amazingly delicious, it looks good, too.

AUPE is planning to hold another party at our home on Monday.  It's supposed to be a potluck.

If this is what they've got to look forward to, I feel rather sorry for them.

Thoughts from a Member

The following was written by an Artspace Member as she watched the picketers outside her home.

I'm listening to the caterwauling of the AUPE gangsters as they completely block the stairway leading to my grandchildren's home with their rude, substantial backsides. They are all over the grass and walks and stairways and front stoops of the townhouses across the street from our highrise. I hate it that my lifelong, unequivocal support of unions has been turned around by this episode, but so it has. I also hate it that, if even one politician shows up to support them, there will go my support for that party, which, at this point, has one of its only provincial representatives from this riding. These union-paid picketers are like cockroaches.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Another invasion planned, and illegal blocking

With the Labour Day weekend coming up, we all knew that AUPE would have another invasion of our home planned.

It's even been announced on their website.

No splashy ads this time, and no free Fat Franks, thankfully.

They are planning a potluck, though.  From 11-3 on Monday, AUPE picketers will be using our home for their party.

Our home.

But they've never had any respect for our homes, or private property.

Sure, they're working on their new public image of how quiet it supposedly is on the picket line.  They've even published an "interview" on their facebook page of someone from the twitterverse who came here and was all shocked about how people weren't crapping on the sidewalks and stuff.

Funny how there was someone there to interview a person who supposedly showed up at random to check things out for themselves.

Obviously, not someone who was well informed and didn't know that AUPE has been putting on a public show.  Someone who never got to see what they're like, say, out back of the high rise.  Someone who apparently thinks that, just because they saw their current behaviour, after having been forced to back off from their previous tactics, the past somehow just didn't happen, and everything is hunky-dorey.

Of course, no one *in* Artspace had any notion this person was coming here and they never got a chance to talk to people who live here about the effects AUPE's actions have had on our community; the people who have been targeted for abuse for months, and who's health has been damaged.

Even the title of the audio file, A visitor to SAIL, is bogus.  The visitor never saw SAIL, because the picketers aren't *at* SAIL.  They are at Artspace.  Our home.

But then, AUPE has always tried to mix that up to excuse the fact that they are still picketing our private homes.

And, of course, they don't get to see what's still going on, even if things are supposedly so "peaceful" right now.

Like this morning, when the picketers demonstrated that they don't need bull horns to be heard all down the street.  They were blocking the replacement workers again, and sounded like they were having quite the grand ol' time while they did it, with some ridiculously loud and weird cackling.

For a group that is demanding "respect" they sure don't seem to respect anyone or anything else.

Including that "private property" sign they're standing next to.  They keep creeping farther and farther into our parking lot.

Also, what they are doing here is not actually legal.  This is how it was explained to us by the police.

The purpose of a picket line is to inform.  Once they are done informing, the person being blocked has the right to leave.  They cannot continue to block you.

This includes the security vehicle.

They have the right to block for a "reasonable" length of time - the time it takes to inform.  Once the driver says they are informed, they can start moving forward.

The picketers are supposed to move.

The police warned us that they will complain about being hit, but if they don't move out of the way, charges could be laid against the picketers.

If, on the other hand, all they are doing is yelling insults, like when they were busily telling the replacement workers that they were garbage and pieces of shit, among other things, there is NO requirement to sit there and take it.

As you can see in the photo above, the picketers are making no effort to inform anyone of anything.  They pretty much never do.

Problem is, obviously, this is not enforced.

It's also rather hard to start moving forward when people are actually leaning on the vehicle.

Or perhaps "lounging" would be a better description.

They certainly aren't allowed to block people just because they are ticked, like in these images...

This image is from some video taken when the picketers decided to block a couple of people for 20 minutes.  They made it clear that the person was being punished for their pictures being put on the internet.  They made no attempt to inform and the only communication was to insult, such as the moment this image was screen capped from, where she is calling the people inside the van "bullies."

That's right.  They block two people - leaving the security vehicle they were blocking moments before, and inside the parking space, well into private property - for 20 minutes out of sheer spite, and she says it's the people in the vehicle who are the bullies.

Not too swift, that one.

As near as can be made out, considering they were yelling on top of each other at the time, the person on the far right is yelling "get out."

Sooo... they are blocking the vehicle from moving, and telling them to leave at the same time?

Not the swiftest, either.

What it basically amounts to is that virtually every time they have blocked a vehicle for this entire strike has been illegal.

Including when the security vehicle is being blocked.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Letter to the Editor: the rest of it, and then some.

Going back to the letter written to The Edmonton Journal recently, here is the full, unedited letter that was sent.

Breaking a Not-For-Profit to Pave the Way for a Big-Box Homecare Provider?
Like many members of the disability community in Edmonton, I was interested to read the recent Edmonton Journal story about a group of care seniors’ care workers at the Revera Churchill securing a voluntary, employer-sponsored RSP plan, part of a three-year contract that also increased wages, changed shift premiums and added health and sick-leave benefits. The employees, represented by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, negotiated for months and had assistance from an independent negotiator.
This successful negotiation stands in sharp contrast to the bitter, 4-month-long labour dispute which still rages between the AUPE and SAIL (Supports for Artspace Independent Living), a not-for-profit user-run homecare provider for people with disabilities who live in Artspace Co-Op. Throughout this conflict, AUPE picketers have routinely blocked/impeded everyone from residents, to DATS drivers, to mail carriers from entering or leaving the building. These picketers have caused public disturbances in a private, residential neighbourhood by chanting, singing and using bullhorns. All of this has resulted in Co-Op members with disabilities suffering stress-related illnesses. Yet, the intense conflict rages on, with no government minister, and no politician of any stripe, seemingly willing or able to work to broker a fair resolution and put an end to AUPE’s bullying and terrorizing of an entire community.
When further contrasting the ultimate resolution of the dispute between AUPE and Rivera with the ongoing conflict between AUPE and SAIL, one crucial difference becomes apparent. In the first case, the dispute was between Alberta’s largest union and a national, for-profit homecare provider. However, in the second case, Alberta’s largest union is demanding that a small, user-run, not-for-profit homecare provider, whose sole source of funding is Alberta Health Services, pay its healthcare aides the same wages as are earned by healthcare aides working for big for-profit companies and/or by healthcare aides working in large, long-term care facilities with exponentially larger client populations. Such a demand defies all logic. Even more baffling is AUPE’s apparent reticence to taking its demands for higher wages to Alberta Health Services, from which SAIL gets all its funding. Instead, AUPE seems quite content to simply continue to bully and terrorize the residents of Artspace.

This begs the question: What is AUPE’S real agenda in this dispute? Do they actually want a resolution with SAIL? Or, are they, in fact, doing all they can to make SAIL go under, so that AHS will bring in a big-box homecare provider, like Rivera, to take over the homecare contract at Artspace? In need of workers to meet the demands of the contract, the new homecare provider would have no qualms about rehiring AUPE members to provide intimate care to the very people that they have been terrorizing for months, regardless of the feelings or wishes of the homecare clients themselves.
It’s oft observed that a society is judged according to the way it treats its most vulnerable citizens. Considering the physical and psychological siege that AUPE is being allowed to wage, unhindered, against the residents of Artspace and the surrounding community, I’d say that Alberta has just hit a new low.

Heidi Janz, Ph.D
Adjunct Professor
John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre

It took a week for them to publish Heidi's letter, but in true Journal form, only 2 days for them to publish a response.

Two of them, even.

The first I will mention is written by someone in Sherwood Park, who is obviously uninformed.  That doesn't stop her from making assumptions and being really insulting.

Re: “A study in contrasts,” Letters, Heidi Janz, Aug. 26
Why aren’t SAIL Inc., Artspace and Ms. Janz, dealing with the Alberta Health Services’ failure to properly fund their care? Why do they think they should be an exception to the AHS failure to provide sufficient resources for home-care services?
It’s presumptuous of SAIL, and Ms. Janz, to assume they have a right to exploit their employees just because that seems to be easier than trying to get a fair deal from AHS. They would find they have allies in that struggle.
Carol Wodak, Sherwood Park

Ms. Wodak's accusation that SAIL and Ms. Janz have the "right to exploit their employees" is not only incredibly insulting, but pure AUPE.  She's spouting union talking points.

(BTW: Heidi doesn't have anything to do with the employees, but that doesn't seem to be stopping Ms. Wodak from assuming things).

It's awfully easy to just blame AHS, but it avoids the real problem, which is what AUPE is doing.

Also, the question of AHS funding is outside the scope of what's happening here at Artspace; that is an issue for the politicians, not SAIL.

Ah, but Carol is not just some concerned citizen from Sherwood Park.  She neglected to include that she is a Director for Senior's Action Liaison Team.  She's described as an "elder care activist."  A quick search finds that her focus is on institutionalized care.  Which is the complete opposite of what SAIL is about.  Perhaps the most interesting find is this letter to her, from the Legislative Assembly, written back in 2008, where the Sherwood Park MLA is defending people's preferences to receive health care without being in institutions.

For someone who has such personal reasons to be an activist for elder care, you would think she would be fighting for people to live independently as they age, rather than AUPE's attempts to control the independent living market.

You would also think she would be able to do so without insulting those same people and accusing them of exploiting employees (after all, some of the user members need home care, not because they have various obvious disabilities, but because they've simply gotten older and need a bit of help).  How incredibly offensive and degrading of the very people Ms. Wodak is supposedly fighting for.

(update: have been informed that Ms. Wodak actually used to live in Artspace many years ago, and was present when one of our members spoke on a panel trying to save SAIL - and those care workers' jobs - last year.  Which makes her accusation that SAIL is exploiting employees that much more disturbing.)

Speaking of offensive and degrading.

Here is AUPE's response.

Aiming for equality
Re: “A study in contrasts,” Letters, Heidi Janz, Aug. 26
Ms. Janz asks the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees if it wants a resolution to the ongoing labour dispute with Supports for Artspace Independent Living.
The answer is yes. That’s why staff voted to accept the independent mediator’s recommendations for settlement July 29. On Aug. 1, SAIL rejected those same independent recommendations, extending the employer’s lockout outside the Artspace Housing Co-op indefinitely.
AUPE has offered to partner with SAIL to assist in its funding negotiations with Alberta Health Services numerous times. Every offer of assistance was rejected. SAIL has even indicated it’s happy with the funding it receives from AHS.
AUPE’s goal is to have the women working at SAIL treated as equals in the industry. The independent mediator recommended that too, but SAIL continues to fight against fair compensation for staff. Those who question SAIL’s agenda have been subjected to scorn and ridicule on social media.
You’d think that in a community like SAIL, the belief in equal treatment would extend to those who care for disabled residents at Artspace, too.
Karen Weiers, AUPE vice-president

In typical AUPE doublespeak, Karen (who is at least honest about who she is) tries to make AUPE out as some sort of hero, rather than the villain they really are. Of course, she neglects to mention that the mediator's recommendation would have bankrupted SAIL - after all, AUPE has been busily accusing SAIL of fraud and "bad faith bargaining" to justify ignoring SAIL's financials.

As for her claims of AUPE's offers of help, I will have to leave that to others to respond to, but it's a bit like saying the lion has offered to "partner" with the lamb over what's for dinner.

Then she tries to go the "equality" route.  SAIL's employees were, of course, treated with equality, and they were fairly compensated for the work they did, but to AUPE, equality means something very different.  To them, equality is not about people being of equal worth, but of a forced equality of outcome.

Meaning, of course, money.

Oh, oh!!  And look!  She complains that "those who question SAIL's agenda have been subjected to scorn and ridicule on social media."

Suddenly, it's SAIL that has an agenda.  AUPE is very good at accusing SAIL of what they, themselves, are doing.

Scary, scary, SAIL, a non-profit run by a volunteer board, has an AGENDA people!  Run!  Run for the hills!

Those nasty people with wheelchairs and walkers and canes dare to want to live independently!

They want to have control over their own health care!

AAAAaaahhhh!!!  We can't have that!  We can't have people who *gasp* can actually THINK FOR THEMSELVES!!!

The horror!

Oh, yes, and how dare the plebeians question their betters!  Remember, only AUPE is allowed to heap scorn and ridicule on people.  Like... oh, Ms. Weiers herself.

Here's Ms. Weiers, on the picket line, just a few days ago. Moments before this photo was taken, she had her face plastered against the window, where she was busily heaping scorn and ridicule on the replacement workers outside.  She's been out here quite a lot, fully participating in the abuse of our community.

Then she whines that AUPE's drones are getting flack through social media?

HelloOOOooo.  Welcome to teh internetz.  

And then she hits the low blow.

You’d think that in a community like SAIL, the belief in equal treatment would extend to those who care for disabled residents at Artspace, too.

How utterly insulting and degrading to the people who fought to be treated like human beings, worthy of living independent lives, in their own homes, and capable of having a say in their own care, rather than being farmed off and hidden away in institutions.  You know, for REAL human rights, not entitlements and unearned privileges. What gall for a woman, who has condoned and participated in the abuse of our community, to make such an offensive statement.

Sorry, Deary, but you don't get to play the victim card when you are the villain.  Especially when the people who are supposedly so oppressed just held a woman hostage for 4 hours only 2 days ago.

Oh, and Karen, SAIL is not a community.  SAIL is a company.  A company run by a volunteer board that are also Artspace members.  A company that is consumer driven by people who are Artspace members. Some of the board members are also SAIL users.

Which makes it laughably ridiculous - and dishonest - for her to suggest that SAIL, the company, doesn't have an interest in the care of Artspace user members.

Spoken like someone with utter contempt for the disabled - a contempt we have seen from AUPE throughout this entire ordeal.

You can wail away about how it's all about "equality" all you want; AUPE's actions speak louder than their talking points.

It's about money - for AUPE.

It's about power - for AUPE.

It's about control - in the hands of AUPE.

Control over the lives of those least able to defend themselves against the AUPE juggernaut.

The elderly and disabled.

I wonder if Ms. Wodak would be so supportive, if she saw just what AUPE picketers have been doing to our community?

Four Hours (updated with corrections)

You know, just when we were starting to kinda appreciate that the picketers have at least made some sort of attempt to behave, they go and show us, once again, just how much of an act it is.

Four hours.

That's how long someone was blocked trapped on Tuesday, April 26.

Four hours.

No, not the replacement workers.  Not even an Artspace member.

A care worker.

Not a replacement worker.

The same person they are heard taunting and harassing here, and in other videos.

The same person they are heard harassing here.

This is someone they have been on the hunt for.  Someone they have a personal vendetta against.

It started when she worked with SAIL and was the only person to vote against joining AUPE.  When the strike vote happened, she didn't bother voting against it, since she knew she would be the only one and saw no point.

She has not been on the picket line, nor has she worked with SAIL, since the strike started.

She does, however, do Self Managed Care with individuals in Artspace who are not SAIL user members.

On Tuesday Monday, she came in to do 1 hour of work for a non-SAIL using member.

They caught her as she was trying to leave, and blocked her.
(update: working on getting the exact times)
(update: details now added below)

After working her 1 hour shift, she couldn't leave, because the picketers were at her car.

Waiting for her.

They stayed there from about 9am to 1pm.

Four hours.

She spent FOUR HOURS trapped at Artspace, unable to go home, by picketers.

Like these "ladies."  These are screen caps from video taken the day she was blocked on the 94th St. for almost 1 1/2 hours.

Recognize her?  You can see her here, misrepresenting her job.  

And the woman in the foreground, here?  Yeah, she's the same one you see here.  In the video, she is threatening the same person.

These are the "care" workers (who were also joined by paid AUPE paid picketers).

This isn't about the labour dispute.  The woman being targeted is not there to do work for SAIL.  She is working in people's private homes, that's it.  They are, however, her former co-workers.

They have a special hatred of her.

They hunt her.

They stalk her.

They hang around in wait for her.

They stand on the street and shout verbal abuse at her - in multiple languages, even.

They have been targeting her for ridiculous amounts of harassment and abuse for months.

And they are taking that hatred to new levels.

Levels that now include holding her hostage, unable to leave




Update Nov. 6:  Here is the video the above screen caps were taken from.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Oops, they did it again (Updated)

Since noticing that AUPE has their own count-up timer on their website, counting the number of days under lockout, we've been wondering what they would do for today.  Based on their counter, today would have been day 100.

So far, nothing much has been going on outside.  Aside from tending our raised bed garden, that is; despite the "private property, no trespassing" signs all over the place, like the one below, they've manipulated one of our members (in their efforts to divide and conquer, they have been nice to some members, aggressive with others) into allowing them to "help" tend the flowers and herbs, which requires trespassing.

Which means they are deliberately putting one of our vulnerable members (and an amazing survivor, which makes it rather more despicable) into a position where she is acting counter to an official statement from the co-op; someone they've been using to their advantage for pretty much the entire labour dispute.  It is painful to watch her being manipulated like this.

To be clear, this has nothing to do with the labour dispute, but with the safety of our members.  Those signs went up because someone allowed the picketers into the high rise, much to the alarm of other members.  The garden beds are Artspace private property and have nothing to do with SAIL; garden beds they still treat as their own playground, picking through them, leaning against the walls (at least they seem to have stopped actually sitting on them), including the walls along the driveway to the underground parking, completely ignoring the no trespassing signs right behind them.

Overall, though, it's been quiet today.  There are hardly any picketers, and aside from the trespassing and using some of our members for their own benefit, there's not much going on out there.

It was a curious thing, until some of us went back to the AUPE website.

And caught them re-writing history, again.

They've changed the start date of their counter.

Unfortunately, no one got a screen cap of the previous counter, but since they neglected to change the text, they now have this...

It's still different from our own (the difference may be whether or not the counter counts the immediate date, or perhaps because the strike started in the afternoon, and someone knew the exact, official time the strike started), but now they're saying that the SAIL staff (not SAIL, since that's the company name, so that's another error on their part) have been locked out for 111 days.

Now, if they'd stuck with the lock out date, today would have been day 100, but since they've moved to the starting date of the strike but forgot to fix the text, they are now falsely claiming that the staff have been locked out for this long.


AUPE, caught trying to re-write history again.


Okay, seriously, you guys?

So AUPE has gone and changed their counter again.

And they STILL got it wrong.

Since they apparently need us to tell them this, let me try and give them a hand.

Here's the new screen cap.

I just had to include their cute little retro TV graphic, linking to their slick propaganda video.  I invite you to watch it.  Especially starting around 3:45.

Why, you ask?

Because it's a set up.  The woman in the wheelchair is Meagan; you can read about her here.

AUPE basically had that picketer hang around, then force a hug on Meagan.  She did not want that person approaching her, did not want a hug, and did not know she was being recorded for an AUPE video.  In fact, AUPE has been served legal notice to remove the video because she did not give permission for herself to be used as a prop for their propaganda video.

Obviously, AUPE has ignored it.

Then there is the changed counter text.  "SAIL has been on the line..."

No, SAIL has not.  Supports for Artspace Independent Living is the employer.  A company.

AUPE is basically saying that the employer has been picketing themselves.

And finally there's the little graphic below.  That's a link to the picketing schedule.

112 / 7 = 16.

It's been 16 weeks.  Not 14.

Okay, so the lock out has been about 14 weeks, but since the strike has never ended (it was only "suspended"), and the counter is now all about the length of time on the picket line, the two next to each other just makes it look like a contradiction.

How many times are they going to goof up a simple counter?

An Open Letter to SAIL Workers

This letter is re-posted in the hope that the locked out workers will read it and begin to THINK FOR THEMSELVES!

The first thing I want to say is that I value the work that all healthcare workers provide. Without assistance, there are many who live in Artspace Co-op who would have to be in some sort of long-term care facility. So thank you for the work you do.

The second thing I want to say is I believe all healthcare workers should be paid much more and have benefits and retirement plans in place. The reality, however, is far from what we all would like it to be.

When you all walked off the job on May 7, 2014, your union sent letters to EVERY SINGLE HOUSEHOLD in this Co-op. In it they “encouraged” us to ask the “hard” questions of the SAIL Board as to where they had the money to pay replacement staff and hire security; why there were 7 years’ worth of missing audits, and why couldn’t they pay SAIL staff more than $19.50/hr. Basically, they were asking us to
THINK FOR OURSELVES! So I did ask those question, and I received more than satisfactory answers. I
won’t be sharing those answers with you because I think YOU should be thinking for yourselves, also. (And by the way, I asked the same questions more than once and the answers were always the same.)

I also went farther than the union suggested and I did some of my own research into the differences/similarities of healthcare aides who work in clients’ homes versus SAIL workers working in a single apartment building as you were. In general, what I found was that your wage of $19.50/hr was the highest wage I could find among any of the healthcare workers doing anywhere near the type of work and workload as you. In fact, the average was around $15/hr, and those workers have a heavier workload with very little “down time”. In fact, if they had any down time, it was spent driving from one client’s home to the next, IN their own vehicles, with little to no compensation for gas or wear and tear on their vehicles.

I couldn’t find anything about benefits, but I know the Board (and myself) all agree that you should have them. After all, there’s always a chance of injury, even in an 8 hour shift with 4 to 5 hours of scheduled care, although some of that care is homemaking, laundry, feeding a client and meal preparation—a far cry from what one worker complained as "a lot of transferring and heavy lifting aaaalll day long."

Believe or not, I’ve tried really hard to understand your position, but I just can’t get it! How many people would love to have a position in which they work 4 to 5 hours of scheduled care time and have 3 to 4 hours of down time where they are paid to be “on call”? I think you had a good thing going, but now you have blown it.

Now you are choosing to believe whatever your union tells you, but I don’t believe for one second that they are concerned for your welfare. I’ll probably say this more than once: You need to start THINKING FOR YOURSELVES instead of letting the union do it for you. Ask them all the hard questions. Questions like:

1. Why did the mediator look at only unionized collective agreements when making his recommendations—agreements that look only at healthcare workers who work in institutions and are run off their feet their entire shift? Naturally, they should be paid more. Why didn’t the mediator look at other private homecare providers who have similar job descriptions as yours?

2. “Hey hey! Ho ho! Where did all the money go?” Why does the union refuse to accept SAIL’s financials that are transparent and signed off by a certified accountant. Why did the union negotiator dismiss the financial statement without even looking at it? Why didn’t you, the workers, meet with the SAIL Board and let them explain it to you? I know they wanted to. Could it be that the union doesn’t want you to know the truth?

3. How are they looking out for you when, if SAIL is forced to pay you more than Alberta Health gives them, this small not-for profit company will go bankrupt and there will be NO JOB for you to come to?

4. How are they looking out for you when they suggest to the SAIL Board to pay you top dollar for the scheduled care hours and minimum wage for the rest? By the way, the Board was too decent to even seriously consider this.

5. How is the union looking out for you when it’s willing to sacrifice your job and the SAIL Homecare model just so they can save face? Those are just some of the questions I think you should be asking the union. Maybe you have some yourselves, unless you’re not willing to think for yourselves.

I want to put aside wages, benefits, etc. for a moment and talk about BEHAVIOUR!

Do you really think your actions on the picket line are acceptable? I can’t begin to express how deeply disappointed I am to know that about a third of the workers are either participating in or condoning the abusive behaviour we have been forced to endure for the last 3 months. Do you think all your yelling, name calling and vehicle blockading will get you anywhere? When was the last time you saw a school yard bully get what he wanted by beating up on others? For people to claim that we have human rights because of the union, it’s beyond me as to why they can’t respect MY right to a safe and quiet neighbourhood.

And speaking of rights: I have the right to decide who I allow into my PRIVATE home, as do other User-
Members of SAIL. You can be sure that, I personally, will not be allowing any of the workers who have been on the picket line back in my home. Whatever trust and respect I once had for you is GONE!

You say you want to come back because you care for your clients. If you truly care for us, the best thing
you could do is quit SAIL and find work elsewhere. The longer this dispute continues the greater the risk
that “your clients” will lose their self-directed, independent model of homecare for which they fought so hard to get to begin with. (And there are more employment opportunities out there for you than there are in-house consumer driven models of homecare for us.)

A Proud SAIL User-Member

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

A message to our invaders

Since the picketers prefer to target people with visible disabilities so much, here's a thought for them to ponder.

Letter to the Editor: A study in contrasts

This morning, the Edmonton Journal finally printed this letter from Heidi Janz.

It only took them a week.

Given what we've seen in the past, we can probably expect AUPE's response to be up tomorrow morning.

A study in contrasts
Heidi Janz
Edmonton Journal

Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Re: "Seniors' care workers win retirement plan from employer," Aug. 18 The successful contract negotiation by a group of seniors' care workers, represented by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, and their employer, Revera Churchill, sharply contrasts with the ongoing labour dispute between the AUPE and SAIL (Supports for Artspace Independent Living) Inc.
The first dispute pitted Alberta's largest union against a national, for-profit home care provider. In the second case, instead of taking their demands for higher wages to Alberta Health Services, which is SAIL's sole funding source, AUPE seems quite content to simply continue to bully residents of Artspace by picketing outside their home.
Does AUPE actually want a resolution or are they actively trying to bankrupt SAIL so AHS will bring in a big-box home-care provider to take over the contract at Artspace?
Heidi Janz

Questions Answered

On AUPE's Facebook page, someone asked a few questions.  AUPE has not answered - at least not publicly.

We will attempt to do so here.

Not sure who this "informed" insider was, but I doubt it was anyone from Artspace itself - and there have been plenty of people claiming to have "inside" information about Artspace that they clearly don't.

Question 1 is one that confuses quite a few people, as co-ops don't fit into the categories most are familiar with.  It has been addressed on the page, Artspace, SAIL and AUPE.  The ability for a co-op to have a subsidiary like SAIL required some changes on the political front.  I believe those changes are provincial, only.

Question 2 and 3 is a topic that has been deliberately obfuscated by AUPE.  They make all sorts of claims about SAIL's funding and financials, and SAIL can't respond because this stuff is supposed to be kept confidential; that hasn't stopped AUPE's "avocat" from yelling out all sorts of accusations on the street for hours, though.

SAIL has had contracts with AHS for 24 years.  These get re-negotiated every now and then.  Since AHS provides the funding, they have full access to SAIL's financials and go over them with a fine tooth comb.  SAIL would not get the funding, otherwise.

When the strike started, SAIL and AHS were in the middle of this.  The funding was going to change, as AHS had re-assessed members for care hours, plus there was a significant drop in the number of user members.  Until SAIL knew how much funding they would actually get, it would be useless to complete a new wage contract with the employees until the actual funding amount was known.  Yet, AUPE demanded exactly that.  SAIL was completely open about their finances to AUPE, under the naive belief that AUPE would be reasonable and see the obvious.  Instead, AUPE has accused SAIL of everything from refusing to provide financial information to fraud.  Simply put, AUPE has shown no real interest in SAIL's finances, as they seem to have another agenda.  Then AUPE has the nerve to accuse SAIL of bargaining in bad faith!

Now, it's true that SAIL's finances were not audited for 7 of the 24 years of operation; the previous board was told they didn't need to.  That doesn't mean the books weren't kept.  As mentioned above, AHS has to know everything about where the money is going and why, and they have been satisfied.

There is now a new, 2 year agreement with AHS.

Question 4; I'm pretty sure the mediator's recommendation was supposed to be confidential.  In fact, as far as we know, all the negotiations are supposed to be confidential.  Which should make these comments left online and here on the blog particularly troublesome for AUPE.  As for the recommendation itself, the picketing care staff trapped a woman for an hour and a half on a public street, during which they read it out to her, in between verbally harassing her, so if that's supposed to be confidential, the picketers have broken that confidence.

The mediator, however, did not look at SAIL's finances when making his recommendation.  They were dismissed as irrelevant.  Nor did he look at comparative labour, such as other home care workers.  Instead, he looked at collective agreements of union members working at large care facilities and hospitals; places that have no real similarities to SAIL.

Why would a mediator dismiss SAIL's financial records and recommend something that would bankrupt SAIL?

We have no idea.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Co-opting (Updated)

After this blog was started, one of the things we quickly noticed was AUPE repeatedly co-opting things from here into their own messages.

We expose their bullying of Artspace members, friends and family, and suddenly they claim that we have bullied the picketers.

We expose the aggressive behaviour of the picketers, and they try to claim Artspace members have been the violent ones.

We expose their displays of racism and they play up their own use of the race and gender cards to try and make Artspace members as being the racist ones.

We hold a vigil to commemorate our standing up to 100 days of their siege of our homes, and the next day they hold an illegal block party and political rally on our street, complete with new signage on the 100 day theme.

We declare ourselves "Artspace Strong" and suddenly there are new signs among the picketers, declaring themselves "strong."

And so on.

Some of their signs combine both.

The one above has me curious.

"100 Days Fight for What's Right!"

Really?  Demanding wages so high they'll bankrupt your employer is "right?"  We've been hearing from several sources in the health care industry talk about how they have university degrees, a decade or more of experience, years of training upgrades, and work 12 hour shifts in hospitals, and they don't get paid what our striking care workers are demanding.  How is that "right"?

Especially after the SAIL board and user members fought to hard for the care staff to keep their jobs when the Redford government tried to privatize the contracts.

Is it "right" to go out on the picket line and yell out about some of the more intimate personal care user members need, and how it's so embarrassing to care for the "fat cripples", that you deserve more money?

Is it "right" to yell out that they don't "deserve" your care"

Is it "right" to yell out that they don't deserve to live here and should be out on the street"

Is it "right" to say that you don't care if the user members end up in long term care?

Is it "right" to verbally harass, threaten, abuse, intimidate, provoke, insult and degrade the people who gave you, then fought for, your jobs?

And why is it a "fight"?  Who are you fighting?  SAIL, who has no choice because of the constraints of funding?  What use is that?  AHS?  No, no one is taking the battle to AHS.

Why are you even here?  Why are you fighting Artspace members, most of home have nothing to do with SAIL, and none of whom control the funding?

Who are you fighting, and why?

"We are strong and united."

Strong against whom?  The SAIL board?  They can't do anything more than they've already offered.  The user members?  Artspace members in general?  Our friends?  Our neighbours?

And who are you united with?  AUPE?  The union that made suggestions that would have left you with either the same pay, or less, depending on the shift?  The union that doesn't care if SAIL goes bankrupt and loses you your jobs?  The union that convinced you that it was a good idea to become aggressive and abusive on the picket line, destroying all trust user members once had in you?  Or was that just your real selves, finally revealed?  The union that is so willing to sacrifice you and your jobs for their own agenda?  Is that who you are "united" with?

Here's another sign that doesn't make much sense.

What's the way forward?  Well, since you guys rejected every offer SAIL made, destroyed all trust from the user members to the point that they don't want you in their homes anymore, then voted to accept a mediator's recommendation that would bankrupt your employer, it's not SAIL that can say anything more.  If you're waiting for an answer and asking the wrong people, you'll be waiting a very long time.

Try looking in a mirror.  You'll probably have better luck there.  Lord knows, AUPE sure isn't going to help you out with that one.  They're the ones that wrecked it all.

I admit to not going to the AUPE website often, since it's pretty much all propaganda, but they do post the picketer schedules on there, so what the hey - not that they follow it very well.  While Saturday had them back at the siege, taunting someone in the high rise loud enough to be heard by almost the entire block, no one showed up on Sunday.

It was on their website that I noticed another way they co-opted something from this blog; they added a count-up widget.  We've got one up at the top left, showing how many days we've been under siege, beginning on the day SAIL staff walked off the job on May 7.

They, however, are once again trying to re-write history.  Their counter - which is even down to the second (I wonder how someone figure that one out?) - is since the lock out started.  If someone didn't know any better, they would think that's when the labour dispute started.  From our perspective, the strike has never ended, lock-out or no.

The siege began on May 7, and it was the care staff who walked away.

It does leave us wondering.

According to their counter, today (Monday) is day 98.  That means day 100 for AUPE is on Wendesday, the 27th.

UPDATE August 27, 2014: So AUPE decided to re-write history again.  Wish we got a screen cap of the previous counter, which would have put today as day 100 for them.  Instead, they changed the starting date.  It doesn't match ours, but that may be the difference as to whether it counts the immediate date as well, or each full day completed.
They forgot to change the text, however.  Which means they are now falsely claiming that they have been locked out since May 7.  Here's a screen cap of what is there today.

What will they do to commemorate their own milestone?

Will they once again invade our homes with another illegal block party?

More free Fat Franks for the invaders and their supporters?

Maybe bring out some more politicians to partake in the abuse of our entire community?

Or will they pay more people to come out and harass and abuse our neighbourhood?

What will AUPE do to punish Artspace members this time?

After all; like their sign says:

What all this is really about is AUPE power.

Artspace, SAIL and AUPE

Most of this post has also been added as a tab above.

There has been a great deal of confusion in regards to the labour dispute between AUPE and SAIL, and how it relates to our home, the Artspace Housing Co-op.  Part of this confusion is the result of AUPE's deliberate attempts to redefine our home as a care facility, or trying to claim that, as co-op members, we are also SAIL owners, to justify their picketing of our private homes instead of asking permission to picket on the private property in front of the SAIL office, located in one of the units of Artspace.

Co-operative housing is not uncommon, though many have never heard of it.  It falls into a sometimes difficult to explain grey area between home ownership and renting.  Canada has over 2,000 co-ops, with over 30 in the Greater Edmonton area.

Every one of these co-ops is an independent organisation, with its own in-house rules regarding maintenance, pets, improvements, etc.  They can be apartments, townhouses, single dwelling houses, duplexes, triplexes, four-plexes - basically, any type of accommodation.  Likewise, there can be any combination of amenities, accessibility, and so on.

The day-to-day running of each co-op is the responsibility of membership.  There is a board, plus various committees, made up of co-op members,  and it is all done democratically.  One unit, one vote.

To become a member of a co-op, one has to send in a membership application.  Waiting lists can be anywhere from a few months to years long.  Accessible units, if there are any, tend to have much longer waiting lists than regular units.  Potential members in Alberta must attend a NACHA information session, and applicants need to undergo a credit check.

When a unit becomes available, potential members are interviewed, typically by individuals on the membership committee and the corresponding member of the board.  They then give their recommendation to the Board, which votes on whether or not to accept their recommendation.

For their part, applicants must agree to be a full, contributing member of the co-op community, abide by the by-laws and regulations, and whatever else is required to be a "member of good standing."  So long as members abide by the membership agreement and the by-laws, and pay their housing charges on time, their right to live in their home is protected.  It takes quite a lot for someone to have their membership revoked, though it does happen.

Which is why co-ops are best described as intentional communities.

Where the confusion seems to centre around is, who owns the co-op?

When someone is accepted for membership, they have to buy shares.  All members own the same number of shares/unit.  This is not like buying shares on the market, but is more akin to paying a damage deposit on a rental, except it's not attached to our units, but to the co-op itself.  If we move out, we get it back, but we cannot buy and sell them as one would on the stock market.

Individually, we pay housing charges which are somewhat like paying rent.  The housing charges are set by members to cover the costs of the co-op.

Including the mortgage, if there is one.

Which is where things get even more complicated.

Membership is responsible for setting housing charges, which must cover the costs of running the co-op, but cannot generate profits (though some provinces do allow for-profit co-ops).  Membership has to vote to approve the budget each year.

But we don't actually have much control over the budget.

Because we have a mortgage.

That means that Artspace is technically owned by the CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation).  As long as we have a mortgage, it is CMHC that tells us our housing charges must be within a certain percentage of the housing market.  It is CMHC that controls, to a great extent, our budget.  These cannot be discussed here because by-laws do not allow for such things to be discussed publicly.  Suffice to say, there are a lot of rules and regulations that we must follow if we are to maintain our status as a co-op.

Our boards have been doing a good job of it over the years, as Artspace has been held as an example for all of Canada, as a well run and maintained co-op.  This could only be done through the dedication and integrity of our board members over the years.

So while Artspace members all "own" shares of the co-op, as long as we have a mortgage, it is CMHC that is in primary control.

Then there is SAIL.

SAIL Inc is a subsidiary of Artspace Housing Co-op.  There are only three such models of in-home care in Edmonton, including SAIL.

As a subsidiary, Artspace Inc. owns SAIL Inc - but Artspace members do not.  This is where AUPE has tried to muddy the waters by claiming that, as members of Artspace, that makes us also owners of SAIL.  This is false.

SAIL is administered by a volunteer board, under the auspices of Alberta Health (AHS).  They are the intermediary between SAIL users and AHS.

The concept is a win-win-win situation.

It's a win for user members; through SAIL, they have a say in who comes into their home and how their care is provided.  More importantly, because SAIL is in-house, not only do they get the scheduled care they need, but can also get unscheduled help that is impossible for AHS to provide in the usual home care model, where care workers travel from location to location.  User members get to live in their own private homes, rather than institutions, get the scheduled care they need, and have the ability to get other assistance on-call.

It's a win for SAIL employees.  They provide scheduled care for using members on location; no driving from place to place.  In between scheduled care, they have down-time, where they are available for on-call assistance.  In essence, SAIL employees are getting full time wages for part time work.  Considering the importance of on-call availability, this down time availability is essential to the in-home care model.

It's a win for AHS.  SAIL has been around fro 24 years.  Over this time, AHS has found that user members fare much better living independently than those in institutions.  They require fewer medications and lower doses.  They have fewer hospitalisations.  Their overall outcomes are simply better than any other model.  Ultimately, this saves AHS - and taxpayers - money.

This means that the SAIL model is one that has great potential for expansion; more people who need home care can continue to live independently, home care providers are better able to care for individuals when they don't have to rush from location to location, and AHS has a model that costs less than institutionalised care, with better health outcomes for users, which also ultimately saves taxpayer dollars.

This also makes it a huge potential market for AUPE.

They want in on the in-home care market because it has the potential to make them millions.

Unfortunately, it would kill everything good about it.

SAIL and other in-home care companies would lose because AUPE is demanding home care workers be paid as much as those in care facilities and hospitals.  As much as we appreciate the importance of the work they do, these are positions that require only a few months training.  They are not nurses with university degrees and a decade of training and educational courses behind them.  They are not constantly on the run for their entire shift.  SAIL has an LPN to provide the care the workers aren't allowed to do.  AUPE claims equal pay for equal work, but they are not comparing to equal work at all.

 SAIL is funded based on AHS assessment of user member care hours.  There's only so much money available to cover the costs of administration as well as staff (the board itself is volunteers, so they get no pay at all).  They need a certain number of care workers to provide for those hours.  They can't afford to pay what AUPE is demanding and remain solvent.  The excessive demands would bankrupt them, and SAIL's employees would all lose their jobs.  The care staff knew this when they chose to go on strike, which means they knew from the start that their actions would very likely lead to SAIL going under, and their own job losses.  How AUPE managed to convince them to go on strike anyhow is curious, indeed.  They certainly aren't doing it for the care staff.  Especially since some of their proposals would have left the care workers being paid even less than before, which the SAIL board refused to do.

User members lose because one of the essential components of the SAIL model is being able to have a say in who comes into their homes to provide care.  Once AUPE is in control of the in-home care model, they essentially gain control over individual care through the staff that provides it.

If SAIL goes under, user members either have to accept whomever AHS sends, or the contract gets awarded to a private for-profit company, and they control whomever goes into a user member's home.  User members also lose a lot of control over their own care.  This will result in higher stress levels, which leads to increased need for medication, especially pain killers, relapses, increased hospitalisations and even being forced to live in an institution.

AHS - and the taxpayer - loses because this inability to maintain their independence will result in increased care needs and increased costs.

The end result would be fewer care models like SAIL's, fewer people able to live independently, and more pain and suffering among individuals who need home care.

As for AUPE, they get lots more money, while people lose their jobs, individuals lose control over their own health care, and the whole thing costs taxpayers more.

The only one who "wins" in this situation is AUPE.

It is for this that AUPE has laid siege on our private home.

The ones who lose the most are Artspace members.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Help! We've Been Robbed!

It's been more than three months since the strike/lockout began. On May 7, SAIL workers walked off the job. About 10 SAIL workers and many paid Union supporters formed a picket line outside of our homes. They robbed us of our spring. They robbed us of our summer. They robbed us of our freedom to enjoy our neighborhood outside.

The AUPE not only formed a picket line, they became loud and obnoxious. They hurled abuse at us. They called us names. They blocked our vehicles. They threatened us. And they robbed us.

Yes, they robbed us.

They robbed us of the feeling of security in our own neighborhood.

They robbed us of our freedom to come and go unimpeded from our homes.

They robbed us from enjoying our sunny balconies without fear of being yelled at.

They robbed, and continue to rob, our well-being.

Their thievery has not only affected adults. They have robbed our children of a carefree summer.

One member puts it this way:

Well... we're approaching the end of August and our kids and grandkids will be headed back to school. Most summers, we see the kids out playing street hockey or soccer, or even setting up lemonade or Kool-Aid stands. Not this summer. This summer has been taken from our kids, and from us, by the intrusive and invasive actions of the AUPE.

While the Union may have robbed us of many things, one thing remains true: We are stronger than ever as a community.

As neighbors, we know each other better.

 We look out for each other more than ever before.

 We support each other.

 We fight for each other and we fight together,

 for we are


Friday, 22 August 2014

AUPE still playing the image game - and rewriting history

AUPE continues to play the manipulation game about what is happening here at Artspace.

They've changed their "work" hours, it seems.  We were wondering why they were staying through their 4 hour "lunch" break.  Turns out they changed the official times of picketing our homes and are now laying siege from 6am to 4pm on weekdays - for now.  Their website says they'll update weekly, so we're still going to be left not knowing when we can go about our lives without having the make our way through the gauntlet, or be taunted and verbally harassed as we go by.

Oh, and they brought out the bull horn again, playing its various sound effects, early in the morning.

They've also split up the ranks, with one bunch hanging out on our raised bed garden - just leaning on the walls, now, rather than sitting on them, at least.  An improvement, but still not something the beds were designed to withstand for such great lengths of time.  Then there's another bunch that sometimes hangs out in the lane beside the SAIL office.  Thanks to the police talking to them, they're not trespassing quite as often or as blatantly (they're still doing it), that means they're leaning against the guardrail on the side of the lane itself.

That means they're basically picketing on a public street; one that sees a LOT of traffic, even though it's just a back lane.

Which also means they are disrupting DATS (Disabled Adults Transit Service), too, which uses that lane for every trip.  It's just plain not safe for such a large vehicle to pass by while people are on the guard rail.  Plus, if a driver decides they won't cross the picket line, that means they have to go through elaborate measures to get to the front of the high rise to drop off/pick up passengers, like going around from the other side, then turning around in the parking spots on that side - if there is space for them to do so - to go back again in the other direction.

Then they play the twitter game, claiming...

Ah, gotta love the condescension.  Abuser Tactics Bingo, anyone?  Denying/invalidating reality, triangulation, minimizing, etc.

I wonder if this twitter visitor was another one of their plants, like the people posting on their Facebook page, claiming to have been to Artspace and/or know someone who lives here and saying they've witnessed Artspace members abusing picketers.  Rather hard to make that claim, since it's never happened (and no; responding to provocation doesn't count).  Funny, they shut up pretty quick when it becomes obvious they're lying.

No idea when this visitor is supposed to have been here. Maybe is was that truck that pulled over to the left, blocking most of the street, while the driver talked to a giggling gaggle of picketers.

I wonder if this twitter visitor was there to see the other picketers over in the side lane, verbally harassing people who drove by?

Our own Artspace insider just couldn't let it slide, though.

Do people really think that if they show up and talk to the picketers, as AUPE invites them, they're going to see the real thing?  Try showing up without them knowing you're there and watching when, say, DATS drops off one of our members that they love to harass while she is trying to leave or come home.

Of course, with all the negative attention they're getting, they have quieted down, as if that makes their picketing of our private homes somehow less wrong.  The damage is done, and is still being done.

Then there's another lovely bit of game playing.  Don't be surprised to see something on the AUPE website about Balconies in Bloom soon, if it's not up there already.  It seems they made a deal with one of our members to get votes for his balcony through their website.

So, they get to play the public image game, try and manipulate our members against each other, and even manipulate the voting process of a local contest.

Quite the trifecta!

Meanwhile, members noticed AUPE trying to rewrite history in their own time line of their siege against Artspace members.

MAY 15, 2014
AUPE notifies SAIL Inc. that staff wish to suspend the strike and provide care for Artspace residents over the Victoria Day long weekend over concerns that temporary staff could be difficult to secure.
Well, that didn't sound right.  Perhaps because...

May 16, 2014, Edmonton Journal
...the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, which is representing the aides, said workers decided to suspend the strike out of concern for residents’ well-being.
Then there's... 

Global News
The workers chose to return to their jobs Friday because they said they were worried their clients weren't being properly cared for by replacement workers.
Oh, and...

May 17, 2014. Edmonton Sun
The 30 workers were on strike but had agreed to return to their jobs over long weekend, because the union says they were concerned “for the quality of care that their disabled clients had been receiving from replacement workers.
I suppose AUPE had to change their tune, considering how many SAIL user members are saying the care they are receiving from the replacement workers has been superior to the "care" they were getting from the striking staff.  

Meanwhile, the suggestion that SAIL would have had difficulty securing staff for the long weekend is just plain silly.  Especially since, even if the striking staff hadn't completely destroyed any trust user member had in time through their actions on the picket line, SAIL still couldn't have had them back on such short notice due to conflicts with the replacement staff schedules.

May 15 – With 19 hours notice, AUPE notifies it’s employees will be returning to work without a collective agreement in place. SAIL responds that it needs five days to plan for an orderly transition of replacement workers to SAIL employees; a transition which ensures the user member’s health care needs are met.

Ah, AUPE.  Still playing the game.

Too bad their game pieces are the people living Artspace, our neighbours, friends and family.

Thursday, 21 August 2014


There have been some notable changes in picketer behaviour in the past few days.  Mostly in their efforts to pretend that this is, and always has been, a "peaceful" picket line as they continue to lay siege on our home.  One type of behaviour to the public, another they try to hide.  Not very well.

The security vehicle with the replacement workers continues to be blocked for excessive lengths of time (courts have found anything more than 4 minutes as excessive, and that applies to all vehicles, including company trucks, suppliers’ vehicles, contractors’ vehicles, employee cars or buses).  Yesterday, they were blocked for 30 or 40 minutes at a time - except when the police were here, and suddenly they blocked the vehicle for "only" 15 minutes.

Which still resulted in at least one of our members trapped in bed and hungry, because the care workers who were to help him transfer out of bed and eat breakfast where themselves trapped in a vehicle, surrounded by hostile AUPE picketers.

Watching the activity among our invaders has been curious, indeed.  Especially as more public attention is being focused on them.  The illegal block party/political rally they held on our street was an obvious response to our own silent vigil to commemorate 100 days of the siege.  I guess they realised they missed something there, because suddenly they themselves were focusing on the 100 day theme.  It's like when we'd post here about witnessing racism from the picketers directed at our security guards, then suddenly there were accusations of racism from Artspace members towards the picketers.  We'd point out their bullying behaviour, and suddenly we were being portrayed as bullies.  We'd point out their threatening behaviour and harassment of members, and they'd turn around and accuse us of what they, themselves, were doing.

Perhaps most ridiculous of all is their response to our own signs and comments of "Artspace Strong." Suddenly, there's a bunch of their own signs with "100 days" and some variation of being strong themselves.  Because it's just sooooooo empowering and uplifting to get paid to lay siege to a community.

This rather takes the cake, though.

"Nothing can beat the union power."

Sounds like a threat, really.  After all, "union power" is a multi-million dollar organisation harassing and intimidating people in their homes and trying to crush a small, volunteer run, consumer driven in-house care company that only a handful use.  A company funded entirely by AHS, and a co-op that's designed to provide affordable housing with a focus on independent living for the disabled.

You know.  These guys.

That's it, AUPE!  Crush those nasty, bullying union-busters!

"Union power" against the vulnerable!

"Union power" against the marginalised!

"Union power" against the disabled, the elderly and children!

"Union power" against non-profits!

"Union power" against a group of people who have fought their entire lives to be able to live independently and control their own lives and care.

"Union power" against a non-profit care model that has allowed people to do things like hold jobs or volunteer in the community, rather than be hidden away in institutions.

"Union power" against people who have fought discrimination, neglect and oppression all their lives.

"Union power" against those who fight just to live normal lives in ways the able-bodied take for granted.

What a great example of "union power."

The picketers wear signs about "dignity" and "respect."

The ones who have shown the most dignity are the Artspace members who have stood up to AUPE's oppression for more than 100 days.

The ones who have earned respect are the people of Artspace.

Not the ones who spend their days outside, paid to harass, intimidate and threaten them.

Strong are the ones who maintain their dignity as they face an gauntlet of picketers, hurling verbal abuse at them, day after day.

Artspace Strong.

Strong are the ones who hold their neighbours as they cry and shake and throw up, while AUPE holds an illegal block party outside our homes.

Artspace Strong.

Strong are the ones, trapped in their bed, going hungry, because the real care workers are held hostage in the parking lot driveway.

Artspace Strong.

Strong are the ones who find themselves having to take more and more pain medication, just to make it through the day, and do so with a dignity the picketers could never match.

Artspace Strong.

The picketers being paid to hold us hostage in our homes, leaving us unable to go onto our balconies, look out of our windows or walk our dogs without enduring harassement, provokation and intimidation, do not know what strength or dignity truly is.

They are bullies.  They are cowards.  They are abusers of the weak.

And they are doing it all for money.