Thursday, October 11, 2007

CUPE's Back: Blocks Poor From Computers at Carnegie

CUPE came back. The inside CUPE 15 workers returned to work today at Carnegie Center in Vancouver. But they are not allowing the poor to return to work. CUPE members are blocking the poor from the public access computers inside Carnegie.

There are public access computers in Carnegie in the following locations: three in the basement Seniors Lounge, eight in the third floor computer room, 6 in the third floor Learning Center, and two in the Vancouver Public Libary branch on the first floor (although those inside the library branch are primarily for looking up titles of books and other library materials.) Of course the doors of the small Carnegie branch of the Vancouver Public Library remain locked since the VPL workers voted not to accept this week's contract offer by mediator, Brian Foley -- so nobody expected to get into the library to use those computers. But what about the computers elsewhere in the building? The poor who want to use them have been told to take a hike.

The poor have been told that the reason the computers in the building are off limits to them is that they are run by the Vancouver Public Library. Indeed, the VPL logo is on the desk tops on the screens of these computers.

Only three computers are accessible to the public in the Carnegie building. They are three of the six in the 3rd floor Learning Center. That's because those three are operated by the Vancouver Community Net, not the VPL.

So what are well-paid CUPE members who have returned to work going to be doing with their time. A primary job of Colleen Gorrie is to work to keep volunteers in the areas in the building where there are computers. The volunteers keep an eye on the computers and get people to sign-in before using them. So what is she doing now? Twiddling her thumbs?

Maybe she could use her free time to answer questions about the WCB/WorkSafe claim she made. She claimed that a blog about Carnegie was making her feel "unsafe". A man who doesn't even blog, Bill Simpson, got scapegoated and barred from the Carnegie Center as a result of this claim. (Carnegie Director Ethel Whitty revealed this reason after the barring, although the official written reason given to Simpson in a letter on City letterhead was that he "links" to the blog in question.) Now that Gorrie and some other CUPE members, like Assistant Director Dan Tetrault who delivered the barring letter to Simpson along with Whitty, will have time on their hands, it would be a perfect time to launch an investigation into the legitimacy of this WCB claim. As Carnegie Board member Grant Chancey, a pro-union guy, pointed out, there was nothing threatening whatsoever on the blog in question. "And I've looked and I've looked and I've looked." When it comes to this claim, the opinion of several bloggers is that WCB, CUPE, and a few individuals in the City legal department have some splainin' to do.