The economic, social and environmental costs associated with the strike are completely unacceptable for a major metropolitan city.
It is important to note peoples’ livelihoods are being hurt, their quality of life is deteriorating, the local and global environment is being damaged and the health and well-being of the most vulnerable people are being threatened — I have personally witnessed an elderly woman slip and fall, a man on crutches struggle to make his way across poorly plowed sidewalks and several people in wheelchairs who would still be stuck in the snow if it were not for kind strangers. Given the cold weather, we are fortunate lives have not been lost.
These problems are compounded by the fact neither side of the dispute has been willing to negotiate in good faith, using the citizens of Ottawa as pawns in their respective negotiating strategies. On the one hand, the transit union has been counting on public outrage to force the city to concede to the union’s terms; on the other hand, the city has been hoping union members would give in to the city’s terms once they began to feel the financial pinch. Neither of these strategies are responsible or effective negotiating techniques and neither will yield a satisfactory outcome.
I urge both sides to return to the negotiating table.
Neither the union nor the city can afford to maintain entrenched positions while the union members and citizens of Ottawa are left out in the cold.