Nose pressed to glass

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Girding for battle once again

Week 3 begins. Sound the battle horn. Dig your old Che Guevara T out of the back of the CRV and re-join the latte revolution.

All that to say picketing is weird for a few reasons. Teachers are used to it while steelworkers and the like have it down to a science. I know CBC techs have experience with it but most of the people on the line still look bemused, gobsmacked and horrified, all at the same time.

Some will show up but they won't walk and/or carry a sign. I don't know if Strombo walked but he doesn't do signs. Maybe if we make a black one for him? (Would they sell them in the CBC Shop after we go back in?)

We're mostly a middle or upper-middle class bunch with a high ratio of hipsters and wannabes. We like The Arcade Fire, not The Internationale. We get excited when frappuccinos go on sale.

Aside from the too-cool-for-school factor, there's a good reason many of us feel weird and uncomfortable. Journalism is, usually, all about observing and here we are as the story. We're also taught to keep our opinions to ourselves lest we open ourselves to accusations of bias. By marching we've obviously come down on one side. I don't have too much of a problem with that and, frankly, I need the strike pay.

Where it gets really gooey is when someone like Jack Layton shows up and we're all supposed to clap at the right places. But journalists usually don't clap. We look at our MD recorders, scribble and make faces at each other when the guy says something notable or just stupid.

Even worse, all those people going to Queen's Park to support the Hydro workers. If you're a CBCer who's not a journalist, fine. But the rest of us might be back inside and reporting on that conflict in a week (OK, call me Pollyanna) or producing an item about it. But I'm a little conflicted because I am grateful for other unions' support. I also welcome Jack or any diversion on the line that means I can stop walking for a bit.

For the same reason, I don't think I can do the Labour Day parade even though it would mean a bonus 4 hours of picket duty. Well, I could watch but I couldn't march at the front of the parade. It's not because I'm too cool -- it just goes against years of training. Maybe I'll get over it and get all Fox News and biased on everybody's ass.

Some other random observations:

Has anyone else noticed that really tall security guy? He's balding but has it slicked back in the front and then a mullet in the back. He wears polo shirts and stands at Wellington and does the Secret Service watchful stare like he's guarding Hugo Chavez at a Republican fundraiser. I'm guessing he's a boss. He looks pretty tightly wound. What makes a guy like that tick? I bet he has no time for frappuccinos.

I don't have a problem with dogs on leashes on the line. The local newsletter was a bit over the top with its photos and dire warnings of disaster should a child or a pet find its way into the Long March. If you bring a friendly dog, I'll pet it and we both win. Better yet, bring your cat and let it lead you. It will take you a full eight-hour shift to get around the building. That tall security dude will give you a very mean look.

Robin asked about my reference in the previous post to Jane Chalmers as Robin in a shag to Stursberg's dark knight. It was a Batman reference. I just meant that she seems to be Stursberg's sidekick and not the prime mover in this whole mess.

Some of the reputed manager's blogs talk about a big announcement coming that has nothing to do with bargaining. My gut is it has to be a manangement attempt to put on a version of The National. I'll be sad if they manage it but we've already benefitted from all the lumps columnists have meted out over the Antiques Roadshows reruns, etc., so it's no big deal. How Stursberg failed to get a team together to provide better alternate programming, with all the lead-up time and all the resources at his disposal, is a very interesting question. I'll pop it out if we have a Q and A after the fall launch announcement.

And, finally, speaking of Our Friends Inside, the maybe-manager's blog by Ouimet has a factual error, so maybe she really is a manager. She says of the crowd's inhospitable behaviour when Richard Stursberg bizarrely tried to melt into the mob during a Buzz Hargrove speech: "... next time we send out our old fat guy to talk to your old fat guy, let them hash it out."

In fact, our old bald guy asked your old bald guy to debate. The crowd would have welcomed, nay, loved it. We didn't stop them from hashing it out. Your guy did by turning and running like a rat going down a hole. So when you stop by to pick up your overtime cheque, ask him to try again.


At 7:56 PM, Blogger Justin Beach said...

I understand your issues about journalistic integrity regarding Layton and other unions, but look at it this way. In the short term, you are a professional striker. Think of it as a learning experience, get into it, and feel what it’s like to be on the union side of a picket line. Once all of this is over, go back to doing what you do but perhaps it will help you to cover these things when they come up in the future.


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