Some of his desire for social democracy must have rubbed off on me and I became active in the Union when I joined Air Canada. Like him, I was never a radical but worked on Health and Safety issues and played my part in the strikes that were called during those 33 years. I remember walking the picket line the first morning of a lengthy strike: it was 0600, Bloor St in downtown Toronto and a blinding snow storm. As the three of us - we had been working midnight shift - marched up and down waving our placards, waiting for colleagues to join us, TV cameras recorded our frozen faces and valiant chants. My friend Susan was trying desperately to hide behind me because she didn't want her father, then President of Sterling Drugs, to see her on the picket line. I would love to think that anything I did bettered conditions where I worked but as I've grown older I question how effective it really was. I know in the case of one strike the only people who won where our Union Executive who got cushy jobs with another union out of it.
So why this Union and strike talk? Well a massive general strike is planned here in Italy tomorrow (November 30):
- Airlines from 1100- 1500
- Trains from 0900 - 1700
- Public Transit from 0900-1700
- Ships/Traghetti delayed 24 hours from schedule departure
- Highway Emergency Assistance from 0700-1500
- Car Rentals from 0900-1700
- Four hour strike of Highway/Autostrade workers - e.g. Toll Booth collectors
Already in Rome we have had two days of work-to-rule and traffic-snarling demonstrations by cab drivers - apparently because 500 more taxi licenses were issued at the beginning of the week. Performances at some of the opera houses and theatres were cancelled - opening night of Moise at the Rome Opera, Forza del Destino in Florence and three performances at La Scala. But apparently negotiators reached an agreement with opera house staff late Tuesday night so winter seasons will begin (pax Rome and Florence) as intended.
Once again as I guest I am not in a position to comment but let's just use as an example Alitalia. Italy's airline loses an approximate EUR 1 million a day - that's a day; wouldn't this suggest that striking for higher wages and job security would come under the category of "blood from a stone?"
So tomorrow it looks like I'll not be flying, training, busing, sailing, breaking-down or car renting. It may just be the day to finally clean up what we laughingly call the office.
29 novembre - San Saturino