Friday, July 20, 2007

CUPE Strike Chatter at Downtown Eastside Cafeteria

[The following post was e-mailed to the Downtown Eastside Enquirer by a reader whom we know to be a credible person. Like many Downtown Eastside residents, this reader regularly eats at the City-funded cafeteria at the Evelyn Saller Center on Alexender St. You can eat a full course dinner there for roughly two dollars. Lunch and breakfast are even less.]

Hi again. I thought I would write you about the Saller Centre after this morning's display at the center. I couldn't listen to anymore and had to leave without eating, I was that upset. First of all, on a regular basis, we are always made to wait for an extra 10 minutes before the staff gets things ready for us. This means that when they say that the cafeteria opens at 10:00am, it may open then but don't expect the staff to start work for at least another 10 minutes. This is also extended for the afternoon opening of 3:30pm. We also have to wait for an extra 10 minutes then. Sometimes like this morning it was getting closer to the 15 minute mark. Add this up in dollar and cents to see how much money is squandered on a yearly basis. Let's say $20 an hour for 8 employees. 10 minutes twice a day is almost $7 a day per person, times 8 people is $56 a day. Add that up for a year and I figure that the taxpayers waste at least $20,000 a year on cafeteria staff at this one centre alone. AMAZING and nothing is ever said about it.

One of the waitresses started talking union propaganda this morning and telling her coworkers that if anyone should say anything about it, to slow the work down to a crawl. I had to bite my tongue not to say that they couldn't work much slower than they do on a regular basis. Another man asked if they were going to strike and in a very loud voice so that the whole room could hear, she stated that, " you're damn right we are going on strike. Don't forget to recycle your garbage folks!" Clientele were guaranteed by Ernie, the centre's manager that all staff would continue to work through any work stoppage by the union and we would not be affected at all. Finally when one of the men asked her a question that I couldn't hear, but quite civilly I might add, she got angry and told him that he shouldn't listen to the media, that it is always biased and stupid. Gee, I hope that it doesn't include blogging, I didn't think that telling the truth where others won't is stupid, or is it just me that sees this!

This particular waitress has been put on the table for losing control with the clientele before on a couple of different occasions. She has even been forced to take anger management workshops in the past, yet continues to handle herself with the usual union arrogance.

I must be fair here too, saying that the kitchen staff seems to work as they should, but we don't see them as much being behind the scenes in their daily work assignments. The food for the most part is quite adequate and preparing that amount of food on a daily basis can't be a very easy task at any rate.

Finally, when it comes to the statement from the union head himself on the news last night, there will be no overtime work performed by union personnel. Well, I guess that means it depends if you are classified as an essential service or not, (which the center and Carnegie for that matter have not been classified one way or the other, just let slip through without mention one way or the other). My favourite waitress, who also doubles as a washer woman, worked overtime in the Health Services this week doing laundry. She often does this for extra days just about every week. Another waitress doubles as a worker for BC Liquors and uses the centre for extra money. Both of these women said the strike is not about the money.. They always say it's not about the money but sure are fast as hell to scoop it up when it's placed on the table. Greed, that's what it's all about! Our friendly waitress from BC Liquors also has a thing for one of the security men at the centre, pawing at him at every chance when they happen to be on the same shift. Too bad they are both married and not to each other. ;-)

Do Judge Judy [Rogers] or Jackie [Forbes-Roberts] need to know of these people and the rest that I haven't mentioned yet? The centre's management knows of all of the antics that go on there and turns a blind eye to most of it. One day, not long ago the mayor actually showed up to tour the facility and I thought that maybe it might be a little tree shaking but even with him there, we were made to wait the usual 10 minutes.

I'll leave this with you today. I only started taking notes yesterday and you can see what's come up in such a short time. I'll continue taking notes there and if anything drastic comes up, I'll let you know. If you want to post this, by all means do so and I'll leave comments with any new details there. Feel free to contact me any time. See ya later.

Carnegie Locks Low Income Residents Out of Computer Room -- Again!

Patrons coming to Carnegie Center to get an hour of computer internet time this evening found themselves locked out of the computer room.

The Learning Center was also locked all day. Even though the teacher is off for the summer, a poster on the door announces that the Center will be open from 1 p.m - 5 p.m. as long as there is a volunteer. But staff don't seem to bother arranging for a volunteer to sit in the room. A couple of weeks ago, the DTES Enquirer got a report from an eye witness that it was closed as well. There are computers in there that Downtown Eastside residents want access too but can't get through the door.

The only services on the 3red floor of the Carnegie are the Computer Room and the Learning Centre. So you would think that with roughly $500,000 worth of City management and supervisory staff on that floor, including Director Ethel Whitty, they could manage to keep the basic services open. Whitty was there today, wearing a navy blue suit.

At one point, Whitty was seen standing with the head of Security and other staff talking about the strike. If you ask me, they're already on strike.