Money for Nothing

The six week long strike in Toronto that has seen city parks become mounds of rotting refuse appears to be nearing a conclusion. But, not all councillors agree, and neither should you.

I don’t think anybody would be unsympathetic to the people living in Toronto these last six weeks. The transit strike in Ottawa was a huge mess because of the traffic gridlock it caused and the difficulty people had getting around the city, but at least we weren’t dealing with mountains of putrid, rotting trash in the middle of summer. I suppose Torontonians can thank their stars that this summer has been an unusually wet and cool season. Imagine what this strike would have been like had the sun been shining every day and the mercury topped the 30 degree mark more than once every two weeks. The stench would definitely be far worse. That said, I’m sure the insect and vermin situation would probably be about the same.

One of the major issues in this conflict has been the banking of sick days. Essentially, the workers want to be able to bank any unused sick days and then have them paid out at the end of their career when they retire. This is, obviously, lucrative for the workers, particularly when you bear in mind the fact that they get a ridiculous 18 days of paid sick leave a year.

If you figure that the average worker doesn’t get more than 5 sick days, this would mean that Toronto union workers would be able to bank 13 days a year. At the end of a career, this easilly represents a year’s salary.

First of all, why should any employer offer 18 paid days of sick time to a worker? That’s more than a day of sick time a month. Truly, if you are ill that often, there are other issues at hand. As stated, many, if not most, employers offer their employees 5 sick days a year. This allows for, typically, more than enough coverage for the sniffles, a rough night out, or a flu that lasts a few days. More than half a month of sick time, annually, is ridiculous.

Let’s all keep in mind that this is time that the worker is paid for when they are not working. I think it’s more than reasonable enough that an employer is understanding and allows that their workers will sometimes be ill and need to stay home for their, and their coworkers’, benefit. But, this is exactly that, a benefit. I’ve worked for places where there were absolutely no sick days. If you were ill, you were off work without pay. I didn’t like it, but at the same time I could understand that you don’t get paid not to work (unless you’re in politics), and that any time that your employer offers you that is paid without you actually reporting for work is generous. It’s not the employer’s problem if you are sick; there is still a job to be done, and your fitness to work is really your business. Take whatever sick time you are given and be happy for it.

18 bloody, fucking days!

And, why the hell should any employee be able to save these days up? These aren’t days that are owed to you. You don’t deserve these days. You have done nothing to earn them. They are days that are gifted to you by your employer in the event that you are too ill to come to work. If you’re not sick, you shouldn’t get to keep them, because they are SICK days.

Being able to collect your sick time year after year and cash it out is like being given a salary increase. Oh, yeah, the deal on the table right now includes one of those, too.

The current deal would allow existing workers to continue to bank and have their unused sick time paid out. New workers would not have access to this provision. There would be a 6% salary increase over the next 3 years, as well.

I don’t give a shit if the garbage is blotting out the moon at night. If the city gives in to this and allows existing workers to use their sick time as a supplement to their retirement, they’re idiots. I’m not above calling them idiots, but I would like to think that the citizens of Toronto will be smarter than their elected officials and shoot this deal down. This is just another case of greedy union workers holding innocents hostage in order to line their pockets. I don’t care what the kind of work is, and I admit that garbage collection is far from pleasant or glamourous, for which I’m sure they are given a reasonable salary to begin with. If you choose to do a job, knowing what the compensation package is, don’t resort to domestic terrorism to try and get yourself a better deal. If you don’t like your job, get another one. Lazy, greedy pricks.

And, if you continue to repeatedly pay people for illness when they are healthy, you deserve the ass-pounding they are giving you.

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2 comments so far

Hmmmm, you’ve obviously never had a union job… I work in a hospital and I don’t think there is a limit to how many sick days we can take. Of course, if we take too much, the manager comes and meets with us and tries to figure out why. But they would never refuse to pay us if we are truly sick. Then again, because many of our patients are immuno-compromised, it would be irresponsible for us to expose them to any contagious bug that we had, bugs that we probably caught from another patient. But I agree that having it paid out if you don’t use it is ridiculous.

August 3rd, 2009 at 2:12 am

The only union job I had was in highschool. I can honestly say from that experience that the only impact it had on my employment was the union dues I was forced to pay. Otherwise, the union didn’t do a thing for me.

I still don’t think that employers should feel obligated to pay for sick time. More to the point, I think it’s arrogant and unreasonable of workers to expect to be paid when they aren’t at work. It should be viewed as the benefit it is, not a right. Obviously, in your situation, it *would* be irresponsible to come to work sick, but, at the same time, an employer shouldn’t feel obligated to pay for a person’s illness.

Deep Cortex
August 4th, 2009 at 5:03 pm

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