Ever break an ankle or a hip on a nasty winter day? How about chipping an elbow or twisting a wrist? Whether it's the upper or lower body, it hurts, plain and simple. And Montreal's ERs are typically overloaded at this time of year, especially when the temperature gyrates, turning slushy pools into ghoulish mini skating rinks.
It falls to the brave warriors of Montreal's blue collar union to ensure, to the best of their ability because s&^% happens even when they try their hardest, that the salt and sand (used alternately depending on the weather conditions) make their way onto our roads and sidewalks in a timely fashion.
The union in presently in strike mode as part of its legal rights - let me be clear that this is a legitimate and allowed form of pressure tactic with which I don't take umbrage - and they've elected to enact rotating work outages in the city's various boroughs. Fair enough. But, what's not fair is when they decide to take this to the next level and endanger the safety of the population. The Essential Services Council required that abrasive spreading take place, but yesterday, in a sad attempt to ratchet up said pressure, two out of eight trucks didn't show up for work in Mercier-Hochelaga Maisonneuve .
After a hastily convened conference call, the two trucks eventually showed up, but what does this say about a group that seems to care less about the safety of the public than it does for increasing pressure in contract negotiations? Editorializing for a moment, there's been no shortage of scandals associated to the blue collars over recent years. From extended on-the-job disappearances, to overstaffed work crews, to (and this I've witnessed personally at least half a dozen times) actually parking their trucks on secluded streets to catch some sleep, there's little wonder that public sympathy for the union is at an all time low.
Let's hope the union got the message this time - not holding my breath on this one - and lives up to their duties specifically when their attendance is deemed, well, essential.