NO BULL MAY 2006
It's Election Time...Don’t miss out!
Our General Membership Meeting on May 18 is the most important meeting for all of us to attend. We will elect our Local Executive who will be representing us for the next two years. In addition, your negotiating team will be elected. This group will be working hard to bring you the best possible contract for your ratification. This could be a difficult round of bargaining. The contract sets your wages, benefits and working conditions. If this doesn't motivate you to get off the couch on that third Thursday in May, you must not care what you are paid or how you are treated in the workplace.
The General Manager of the Parks has indicated to
me that they would like to start negotiations early. I am
in favour of this, as an early agreement would take the
stress off of all of us. We would know that there wont
be a disruption in our pay due to a strike or lockout.
The reality of the situation is that, in order to ensure we
are treated fairly, we must be in a position to turn down
an unfair offer. It's always a good idea to put a little
money aside now as an emergency fund, then we can
vote with a clear mind.
Your Executive has taken our employer to task on several issues with policy grievances. One of our big issues is the employer's improper exlusion of workers from the
Over the past six years or so, our membership has dropped by about 250 workers. This would represent about a 33% loss of unionized jobs. One would assume that such a large drop in workers would be mirrored by an equally large drop in management, after all there are fewer workers to manage... Unfortunately, the only thing that seems to be shrinking is the Park's buying
power and the profits that the Parks are reporting.
I am in full support of the Code of Respect, and would like to thank all of the people that worked on this difficult document. These are fine ideals and I see their benefit, providing they apply to everyone. Human Resources should lead the way and perhaps rethink their position on defending some manager's tendencies to treat their workers unfairly and without respect.
Come out and have your say at the May 18 meeting. Make sure to make your vote count., .or take your chance that someone else can read your mind. I hope to see more members stand for elections as Stewards, Executive and Negotiators. We need more activists to share the responsibility of improving our workplace
Words of wisdom! calm
Despite the cost of living, have you noticed how living remains so popular?
How can a cemetery raise its burial costs and blame it on the high cost of living?
Just remember, if the wolrd didn't suck, we'd all fall off
You can't have everything, where would you put it?
If the shoe fits, get another one just like it.
The things that come to those who wait could be the same things left behind by those who got there first.
A note from our secretary.
I appreciated the opportunity this term of being a member of our
Local executive has given me. I feel that it is time to pass along the
duties of secretary to someone else. 1 will remain a steward and would
be happy to assist our new Local Secretary during the transition
I was glad to see that attendance at the General Membership meetings has increased, but there is still room for improvement. It can't be said enough that there is strength in numbers. We need to stick together now more than ever.
The Executive has made some great strides and hopefully, with the support of the membership, will continue to do so. Although we still see signs of apathy in the ranks (which is disappointing) I think that times are changing and our members are starting to realize that there is no
The same old song and dance
This time it will be the price of gasoline. Management has been singing a two song selection for years now, and they're getting a little stale.. .There just aren't as many visitors cominmg to the Falls, or people just aren't spending enough money at Park venues that chorus is follewed with a medley of 9-11, Sars, Mad cow, and the strong Canadian dollar eventually a new chorus will be passport requirements. I'm sure this years the favourite tune will be the high price of gas. Perhaps it is time to question the obvious. Is it time to change the way our Park is being managed?
Often, when an outside business suffers a drop in their numbers they respond with a sale, longer hours, special offers or events designed to bring in more customers. Grocery stores : refer to thi s as a lost leader. The item itself does not make any money, but while the customer is in the store, they often pick up other items and generate more revenue. The Parks goes about things a little differently, they raise their prices and cut the services. It seems that the stores are offering the same old things for sale at high prices. Value for money? This concept seems lost on our management. Peopl e are not going to spend their hard earned vacation budget on overpriced food, souveniers and attractions.
It seems that too many of management's decisions are based on saving money by chopping bargaining unit jobs and hours. Without the staff to help the visitors, or the venues being closed, how can you increase revenues? We have a double standard in our Park. s Last year many of us were required to attend customer service and image training. The message was clear: the buck stops here with us, the front line workers in the Park. The customer is number one and we shopuld strive to make them happy, because happy customers spend more money. These are great concepts The problem is that we (the workers) are trying our damdest to do our jobs and serve the customer while they (the management) are making decisions that make our jobs that much harder, or in some cases impossible. Management make the decisions and we take the hits... Shorter seasons, shorter hours and fewer bargaining unit jobs. But hey we are a team and we are in this together... we have to tighten our belts because of higher costs and fewer visitors... and the song starts again...
When is management responsible? When will management take the hit? In the shoulder season fewer attractions are open and those that are have shorter hours. We are encouraged to upsell. Sell them an adventure pass at and don't ask if they will be here long enough to use the pass. At that late time workers know that the visitors will not be able to completely use all of the coupons. But hey, we got the sale...never mind that the visitor leaves the Park with a bad taste in their ' ' mouth, feeling that they have been ripped off What do you think that they will be telling their friends and family about us when they get back home?
Once we hit labour day, things start to shut down early. The weather may be great and it's still light until 7:30 but we close up shop at 5 or 6 PM but the cost of a ticket doesn't come down to reflect the decrease in service.
We have fireworks every Friday and Sunday at all summer. The idea is to keep people in the park longer so they spend more. Great idea, .except that many of the venuse are closed. The busses stop running past the Rainbow bridge so anyone who paid $9.50 to ride our busses and are staying north of the bridge are out of luck. Our managers said that they can always catch the falls shuttle... • -for another few dol lars... How's that for customer service?
Perhaps I'll make up my own song and dance to explain our falling profits to management. I goes like this: The trouble really began in our Park when you stopped treating our customers like gold and started treating them like income
HERE WE GO AGAIN!
Recently the Niagara Parks announced a planned 28 million dollar renovation at Table Rock. Overall the idea is not a bad one, however it disturbs me that the Captains of this very unstable ship seem to see the iceberg ahead but refuse to steer the ship around it.
During the information seminars introducing the renovations it was mentioned that the NPC has continued to improve since 2003 with another profitable year. But then in the same meeting it was also mentioned the NPC was still paying off a debt that has lingered for a few years.. .perhaps from a few lean years in tourism traffic and a few poor business decisions which may turn out to be Legendary.
The parks is planning on borrowing money to pay for this new renovation that is to be completed over the next two winters. Two winters? I hope that the next two winters are mild like this past one and that there are no east winds, (can you say weather delays and blown budgets...)
On top of that, is it just me, or is borrowing 28 million dollars when you are still paying off previous debts, and starting a huge renovation something that should be put on hold until the issue of border security and passports is settled by the US and Canadian Governments. (Many tourism operators are scared about a big drop in business if the passport requirements go through in the next year or two)
During the evening seminar I asked about the new walkway that will take pedestrians from the incline railway (Falls Parking) to Table Rock. Keeping pedestrian traffic off the parkway is a great idea. The Park presentation was very informative on paper, but like some past NPC projects, the thought process stopped at the drawing board.
In attendance were the senior, oops "Executive" Directors, all giving their "go team go” talks and general answers to local residents.
For those of you that didn't see the new plans (as usual the session was held when most seasonals were still laid off.) 100 parking spots in the Falls Parking will be replaced with a gathering-entrance way to the new walkway which goes over the parkway to a new and improved second floor at Table Rock House. Along with the main walkway to get to the falls, there will be an improved walkway to the illumination building.
As 1 walked through the plans with Bob Mcllveen, I asked him how we are going to maintain these areas in the winter months? Is there going to be a roof on the walkway to protect it from the elements? Is there going to be access for service vehicles on the incline side of the walkway? Will the pathway to the illumination building be maintained year-round? His response: "well we are still working on those things and I'm not sure what the plans are for that"
The Parks tries to convince us that open communication is the key to getting along. Unfortunately there is still an 'us and them' mentality. Like so many other projects in the Parks, these types of issues wont be addressed until after the project is complete... and then: oops, we never thought of that... and the renovations of the renovations will begin...
28 million dollars, just think about how much better the Parks would look if that money was invested in repairing and maintaining buildings, walkways, walls, curbs, railings, stairs, lighting, roadways, service vehicles (unless you include the infamous 1OOG french fry truck) and most importantly, the quality of life of its employees.
One final thought, I wonder if any of our leaders have
ever considered this; Victoria Park restaurant has gone
through its second major renovation in as many years. All to
attract visitors. It seems to be working and continues to
improve profits according to the information presented to us.
People can dine enjoying a fabulous view of the Falls, unless
you are in a wheelchair or similar assisted mobility device.
With all the money and time being spent at this venue. Why
couldn't the powers that be think to put in an elevator to ensure that the building is fully accessible for all people, and wouldn't it be easier for the workers to move items from one floor to another? Maybe if there was no elevator at Oak Hall, one could appreciate the difficulties of moving from one floor to another.
If Yoko Ono married Sonny Bono she'd be yoke Ono Bono.
If Snoop Dogg married Winnie the Pooh, he'd be Snoop Dogg Pooh.
If Sondra Locke married Elliott Ness, then divrced him to marry Herman
If Ivana Trump married in succession, Orson Bean, King Oscar (of
Mark these dates!
General Membership Meeting
Thursday May 18
Branch 479 Legion (Spring St)
* Election of negotiating team
* Election of Stewards and executive
Demand set meeting to be announced
Our Motto (Besides No Bull!)
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