Just to increase the stress of everyone in Ottawa, two major things happened this week:
- Tuesday night we got 12" of snow, plus about 1/4" of freezing rain.
- Ottawa's transit system went on strike.
So Peter and I went for a run in all this mess. Thankfully the paths along the Rideau Canal were cleaned up.
The run went rather well, even though we had to adjust where we ran due to snow drifts, snow removal crews and icy patches. But what really was evident was just how crazy the roads are now. The traffic levels during the lunch hour now are what they were at rush hour. My morning commute at 6am saw traffic levels that normally exist at 7.30am or 8am. People are stressed out, and you can just see the road rage growing in their eyes.
And I get the feeling that no one's going to give in. Neither side is going back to the table - the city's got no money to give, and the union's not giving in. All I know is that I'm out $101.00 for a bus pass that I can no longer use.
I'll probably get flamed for this, but I have no sympathy towards the transit workers. The city offered very generous pay increases, including a $2000 bonus just for signing the agreement. I haven't had a pay increase for years. The union says they want to be able to pick their own shifts based on seniority. I never get to choose when I work, or what I get to work on. They walked away from the negotiating table. I'm happy and lucky to be employed right now. And now they set their picket lines across laneways that are used by crews to make life better for the rest of us on the road - they're hurting the people they're supposed to be serving.
I'm sorry to say this, but I do hope this strike lasts a long time. Perhaps then they'll realize that their jobs are damn good ones, with damn good pay - even in this time of economic downturn.
If only they'd strike in the summer. Me and my bike wouldn't mind that at all.