Yesterday at around 3:30 p.m. the power went off in part of the Downtown Eastside. Hydro workers promised to have it restored by 7 p.m. at the latest. Pedestrians were darting across streets with no street signals as rush hour traffic began.
Carnegie management saw an opportunity.
They and their CUPE cohorts could get a Friday night off with pay. A decision was made that there would be no night shift at the Center which stays open until 11 p.m., although services close at 10 p.m. Staff were telling patrons this so many did not bother return when the power was restored at around 6 p.m. But in the end, Carnegie made a decision to keep the building open.
But it was clinically dead.
The primary services that draw members into Carnegie Centre on a Friday night were shut down. The third floor which houses the computer room was completely locked; nobody could even get onto the 3rd floor. Kereoke in the theatre was canceled, even though the volunteer who was going to handle it was there. And the library was locked. There was a sign in the front lobby announcing: 'No third floor computer room, No Kereoke.'
Closing services without adequate justification is a constant problem at Carnegie. Last Saturday, the Learning Center, much in demand for it's computers, was closed.
Mayor Sullivan has been made aware by several people that CUPE is ripping off the taxpayer by locking the poor out of services at Carnegie on a whim. Yet he appears hapless in the face of CUPE.
Bloggers have curbed the problem of service closures somewhat by relentlessly reporting on them. By doing so, though, bloggers face ongoing risk of retaliation by Carnegie staff and Director Ethel Whitty.
[Sorry: When this article was originally posted, it was based on the fact that Carnegie staff were announcing to members that the entire building would be shutting down for the night. Bloggers didn't realize until 24 hours later that a decision had been made to keep the building open, albeit with services almost non-existent. When we got feedback from a reader that the post was incorrect, we double checked with our sources and made the necessary corrections.]