Thursday, June 9, 2011

Women Arrested for Scratching and Hitting Pedestrians

A twenty-something woman was drunk late Thursday afternoon and was scratching and hitting pedestrians at Main & Hastings.  She was arrested on Hastings next to the Royal Bank.

At least seven uniformed police officers, two on bicycles, arrived at the scene, along with two paramedics.  There was a police paddy wagon and one ambulance.

The woman arrested was native, slim, with shoulder length brown hair.

Seventy Year Old Woman Abused at Carnegie, Security creates No Consequences

A 70 year old woman had a bottle of water thrown at her by a man as she stood waiting for the elevator at Carnegie.  She said the bottle could have broken her ankle, as it landed near her foot.  She reported the incident to Skip Everall, Security Co-ordinator.

Everall spoke to the man who had thrown the bottle and then dropped the entire issue.  The woman was puzzled that nothing had been done.  She was told by another Carnegie member that Everall has a record of not taking abuse of women seriously.

In fact, the way this case was handled is typical of the sharia law practiced at Carnegie under the the City of Vancouver.  The way sharia works is that a man's testimony is given twice the weight of a woman's.  And men can decide on the punishment a woman deserves, without any input from her.  (Skip Everall and guard Ted Chaing, made a decision about a woman's punishment for raising the issue of sexism, without any input from her.)  Physical abuse of a woman is not considered serious, although a woman failing to defer to a man is considered worthy of serious punishment.

Such sharia punishment, when imposed by the City of Vancouver, generally involves barring the woman from City services for an extended period. After she serves her sentence, she has the option of meeting with Everall, a meeting during which she must act meek and deferential, and make no mention of her rights, in order to be considered sufficiently rehabilitated to have access to services funded by her tax dollars reinstated.  I'm not exaggerating.  We have tapes of these 'sharia court' sessions financed by the City of Vancouver.  It's an example of the social degeneration that can occur when City Hall tosses 3 million dollars a year at Carnegie staff, and essentially looks the other way, expecting little or no accountability for how patrons are treated.

I pointed out to a Carnegie member a couple of years ago that what was being practiced at Carnegie was comparable to sharia law.  She then pointed this out to Carnegie Director, Ethel Whitty.  Ethel "just shrugged", she says.

Rigged Complaints Process at Carnegie: Woman has been Waiting almost Two Years for City staffer Dan Tetrault to Respond to Abuse Incident

There is evidence that the process for the many Carnegie members who have complaints about staff abuse is rigged.  Complaints about staff abuse or other forms of misconduct are regularly sent to CUPE member Dan Tetrault.  That's where the rigging is: complaints against CUPE members are sent to a CUPE member to be addressed.

It has now been almost two years, and there has been no response to a formal complaint that went to Tetrault after being lodged with Security Co-ordinator Skip Everall about Brent, a cashier who approached a woman in an aggressive manner and swore at her.  She was entering the cafeteria at the time and he apparently was trying to close earlier than scheduled -- she wonders if he was sneaking out early for the long weekend -- and didn't want customers getting in the way.  She was uncomfortable returning to the cafeteria due to Brent's conduct.

Everall scolded the victim for daring to speak to a security guard about Brent's behaviour -- even though members are instructed at Carnegie to report any incident to security.  (Members are discouraged from handling such situations themselves. Signs of empowerment on the part of any low income person are considered punishable by barring from all City services at the Centre.) 

After scolding the woman for daring to believe she had a right to speak to a security guard, Everall told her that complaints about staff are to be sent to Dan Tetrault.  He would not allow the guard to write an Incident Report and slammed the Incident Report binder closed.  Everall instructed her to submit the complaint in writing. She did so immediately and handed it directly to Everall.  He said Tetrault, would respond to it.  The complaint was balanced, in that the complainant pointed out that Brent had previously been polite to her.   (Others at Carnegie noticed Brent had become nasty at times; they figured his probationary period was up.) 

The complaint was buried. 

It will be two years in July since the woman who was cussed at was told to put the complaint in writing. If the situation had been the other way around, if a woman in the Centre had cussed at a male staff person, the woman would have been instantly barred for an extended period from City of Vancouver services inside Carnegie. She would have had an Incident Report instantly written about her and entered into the City of Vancouver "Security" database where it would remain for at least two years.    

David McLellan, General Manager of Community Services, who oversees Whitty and Tetrault, is ultimately responsible for ensuring that a response is given to complainants about staff. McLellan would be aware that when a written complaint is lodged, a letter acknowledging receipt is to be immediately sent to the individual.  No letter was sent in this case, although there was a witness who saw her hand the written complaint to Everall.

The sham of sending individuals with complaints against Carnegie staff to Tetrault has continued for roughly 20 years.  Many Carnegie members are not aware of the conflict of interest position occupied by Tetrault.  They assume he's management when they take a complaint to him.  They haven't seen the photo of him on the internet standing on a CUPE picket line with a placard when Carnegie staff were on strike.

Tetrault's abuse of his City powers became public when he barred the husband of a co-worker with whom he had entered a sexual relationship, denying the husband/taxpayer access to all City services at Carnegie.  That barring was lifted when bloggers made it public.

But what lingers are questions about why Tetrault has been allowed to continue to abuse his City powers while in a conflict of interest position.  It is not uncommon for people who have lodged complaints with Tetrault against his fellow CUPE members to find themselves the target of barrings a few months down the road.  Barrings are regularly rubber-stamped by Tetrault.

Tetrault should be stepping aside when he is in a conflict of interest position.  He would no doubt claim that Director Ethel Whitty is ultimately responsible for the barrings and just delegates responsibility to him.  Don't believe a word of it.  Barrings are regularly instigated and implemented under Tetrault's supervision, without Whitty even being on the premises.

Whitty has positioned Tetrault as the go-to guy for complaints against staff -- "talk to Dan Tetrault," members are told -- even though his conflict of interest position virtually guarantees that he will take no serious action.    In most cases, complainants, both men and women, report that Tetrault did absolutely nothing.  I know of no case where a member felt they got a satisfactory result.  There is enormous resentment against Tetrault by members who have been brushed off over the years.

Here's what you can expect when you take a complaint to Tetrault: He will greet you in a somewhat friendly voice tone as if he were greeting a family member -- staff push the "Carnegie family" angle to discourage poor people from seeing class and power differences favouring the povertarian class.  He will allow you to tell him what you experienced.  When his demeanor is described to me, it never fails to bring to mind the term, "feminized male": consistently speaking in a mild one of voice, shuffling his feet a bit, looking at the floor (non-threatening male), smiling a bit because of course he's in the company of "family".  He will come across as inoffensive. But you are likely to be highly offended when you discover that he has done dick about your complaint.  And it is likely that you will discover that, as thousands of members before you have discovered. And you may also find staff behaviour toward you becoming hostile, once they realize that you are a complaining 'black sheep'.  And if you keep returning to Tetrault's office to find out why nothing is being done, you may find that he has sailed away on his yacht to places where he can't be reached by "family" members.

This rigged complaints process where staff have one of their own deflecting complaints against them, has contributed to an environment at Carnegie which has parallels to the degeneration over the decades of Woodlands.  Although the clientele are not at all similar, the abuses that continue unchecked are in some ways similar -- physical and verbal abuse and even systematic sexual exploitation.  Tetrault is not solely to blame though. Whitty admitted at a Board meeting that she would defend her staff no matter what, and she has to date covered for them even when there was evidence of sexual exploitation and verbal and physical abuse.  

The fact that a woman has been waiting almost two years for a complaint against Brent to be processed, is not about his cussing. It is about a rigged complaints process.  When the suppression of the complaint against Brent reaches the two year mark in July, it has been suggested that Councillor Susan Anton be asked to ensure that David McLellan answer for this delay.  McLellan should also explain why complaints of staff abuse or misconduct are directed to Tetrault who belongs to the same union and stands on the picket line with staff.