This is my design blog so before I speak to anything but, I'll give you a tip that connects the two! TIP:  A licensed engineer can complete inspections now instead of waiting for a city inspector later.  If you have an active permit contact an engineer to keep the project on track!  I can refer you to one if you need it.


The principals unions are based on speak to equality, fair and equitable pay, safe working conditions and the ability to feel secure in our jobs and beyond into retirement.  Principals that we can collectively agree are not simply important, but paramount.  Where has the shift occurred that sees us now unsympathetic to the union’s demands?  Why are we not pleased to be suffering personal sacrifice for the good of our neighbours and those in this case, that keep our city running?

I’ve had many discussions over the past few weeks with friends, twitter connections, and facebook followers.   As we enter the 6th week of the strike one would think there are massive issues needing resolution.  Strangely, the discussions are not heated.  The points are more quiet irritation than roars of disagreement.

For those families enrolled in city run day care and summer camps, the strike has meant more than irritation.  It has seen many themselves suffering financial strain to seek alternatives.  I’m sure there have been emotional and heated discussions at those dinner tables.

It’s an interesting time when the press is speaking to the rich struggling to survive.  Former bankers, brokers and money movers are cashing in retirement savings and cutting loose all unnecessary extras in hopes of simply being able to live; feed the family, pay for the roof be it bigger than typical.

Many of my own friends, 30 and 40 somethings who have put in the time at university, worked 12 hour days all of their adult lives, trying to work up the proverbial ladder.  They are being asked to work 4 day work weeks with a proportionate pay cut so that their employers can pull through without having to lay anyone off.  A wise business move and generally accepted by those asked.  The idea of requesting more sick days, or even benefits is laughable as they understand that we all must sacrifice a bit in these times.

This reality has lead to the questions about business, and in this case big business and the effect a union has on it. What is the right answer?  Would the big auto makers have slipped so far from healthy if they had the ability to cut wages, request hour decreases, remove pension top ups and excess sick days, double time or anything above base pay.  Would the employees if given the choice have chosen to sacrifice the extras in order to keep the machines running and in turn their jobs?  Does this thinking go against all that we’ve worked for?

The concept works on every scale, but if the ability to be tough when we need to is removed, how then are the businesses to keep above water?

In a moment of frustration I tweeted Mayor Miller.  I didn’t expect any answers, but it made me feel good that I was complaining to the source.  He replied (see below), saying it’s not us it’s them.  The union is striking, not the city.  My return to that was, hey isn’t the union just a part of the bigger animal that is the city.  After all, we can call it by any name we want, but the city and our government is just a business.  Money in, money out and a whole pile of tasks and structure needing to get done along the way.


This is when I take a giant step back.  All this doesn’t add up to any progress. Wait a minute, the city feels like it’s not them doing this.  The union feels they are entitled to these sick days.  The city needs those cut to keep the business on budget.

Us, the city folk get angry when we hear our budget is not balanced.  We get angry when our recreational programs are cut to help that budget.  We get angry if the trash we chuck about isn’t picked up.  We get angry if our taxes go up to help pick up the trash. We do believe that we are all entitled to a comfortable retirement and security in fair wages and job security.  So, who’s right? Who’s to blame? Who is to fix it?  I don’t know…

I sympathize with the union, and a group really just trying to not be the ones to take the hit.  I feel down right sick to my stomach for the parents without daycare, and my clients bleeding money waiting for building permits.

But, I can’t help but think about a friend of mine Luke, from Germany.  He spent a year here a few back and opened my eyes to the magnitude of our North American dysfunctions.  He loves Canada and the people.  Was impressed with Toronto and all that makes us proud.  He was however, disgusted at the way our government encourages us to spend beyond our means.   The fact credit cards are a part of our financial security and credit allows us to buy, own and live.  Sadly it isn’t even our fault.  The government backs the bank loans and plaster propaganda everywhere telling us they are helping us by allowing 0 down for first time home owners, and tax breaks when we buy.  They are a business, business needs money in, in order to do all the stuff we demand and so the cycle goes.  We want all the stuff they say we can have.

Of course we have no personal accountability for our cities distress.  We’re too busy trying to pay down our credit cards, and keep up with our inflated mortgages.  We can’t stop to worry about a faceless city worker, who has planned to offset his retirement with earned banked sick days, and he can’t worry about the single mother who had her kids enrolled in daycare and has now lost her job having to miss work to stay home.

We are all just trying to take care of ourselves, and our families, and hoping that somebody will make this annoying strike and all this garbage go away.

Follow me on Twitter MelissaDavis

Follow Mayor Miller on Twitter MayorMiller

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