Summertime is amazing! It always brings me back to my childhood. Long days of carefree meanderings. Out early in the morning until dusk. Swimming in pools that were not so crystal clear, more like murky, but we didn’t care because it was cool and wet. We would ride our bikes for hours out into the country because we could or all through the city. A nightly game of hide and seek or flags with all the kids in the neighbourhood was always on the agenda. We would go down to the pond and catch tadpoles and play with the frogs that lived there.
We went camping every weekend so then I would be hanging out with my cousins, going swimming without adult supervision, walking in the muck when the water was down, running in the trails, catching firefly’s at night, going from campfire to campfire and talking to strangers. When I was a teenager going camping also consisted of going to the beach early in the morning alone and staying until suppertime with nothing but my Walkman and a couple of dollars for some french fries. There was no thought of bad things happening, naivety was at an all time high. We would have large family reunions in Springbank Park or a big back yard. We would also have a large BBQ potluck at our campground. Our parents didn’t know where we were half the time and there was no way of getting a hold of us because we were outside somewhere. That was fine as long as we were home for dinner and then home at dusk. Our house didn’t have air conditioning so there were some nights where I would sleep in front of our large floor fan that was situated in front of the front screen door, or I would be sleeping in our trailer in our backyard.
I have very fond memories of my summers growing up. I tried to give my kids some of these experiences. Well at least the one’s where I knew where they were. They never got to swim unaccompanied anywhere as I always had them at arm’s length away. They still like camping and go now and then with their own friends.
How do you remember your summers? If you have children, how do their summers differ then yours did?
While I may not call myself an expert on this subject, I am definitely experienced. I have been on strike for 58 days with my union Cupe 101 in London Ontario.
I thought I would use my new found talent of blogging to good use and help future strikers prepare for their days on the picket line. Please note these are mostly my opinions, although I did ask other brothers and sisters for input.
Weeks before the strike, sitting at my desk, I noticed managers in meetings getting ready, though I am not on the executive team in the union I believe this was happening as well. Verified contact information needs to be established for every member. Reminding those members who have a company email or cell phone that they need to provide a personal one. Captains need to be established at least two weeks in advance with their roster, time and location so they can be sure contact information is correct and if it is not they still have a way to contact their people at work and give their people a heads up to make arrangements for daycare, appointments, and part time work. A chief picket captain should be established with staff would help who can check emails, phone messages and go to picket lines when the need arises and have picket protocols ready and should have someone to deliver water. Captains should recon the picket locations for accessible washrooms and parking and establish a relationship with surrounding businesses.A payroll template needs to be established before going on strike. A newsletter template should be set up for weekly updates. Utilize the talents of your people, bring payroll people in for cheques, administrators for day to day business like petty cash, roster sheets, collecting benefit sheets, etc.
If a change in location and time is going to happen, give your people enough time to make arrangements. Give everyone a chance to work both morning and afternoon shifts. If there are people who cannot be on afternoons because of extenuating circumstances place them in the same group so they can always remain the same. An email should go out at the beginning to gather all the exceptions. Allowances need to be made for those who cannot picket at all. These should be people who cannot get to a place to picket and cannot walk or sit. If someone cannot walk for the four hours, they should be able to bring a chair and a sign.
Establish a picket headquarters where signs, information sheets, water, and lost and found items can be located, it should have free parking and be in a safe location. The negotiating team should be seen often to give the members a chance to ask questions. When not at the table and their work is done they should be on the line, at least twice a week at the different locations. Emails should be replied to as soon as possible with a turn around time of two to three days. Communication is so vital. When talks have stalled picket captains should be notified so they can let their people know before they see it in the media, if there has been a change of what is being asked in the contract and there is chance the media will report it, picket captains need to be notified.
Picket captains need to establish their relationships with their roster by telling them their expectations, picket line protocol, parking, washrooms and breaks right away. Who do you call if you can’t picket and when do you call? People on your roster need to take care of themselves, please provide a list of things they need to bring everyday to the line: Water, hat, good walking shoes, sunscreen, their sign. Establish the importance of these items at the beginning. Establish protocol for talking to people and stopping cars. Ten minutes for cars and five minutes for walkers. Huddle with your team and other picket captains at the beginning and end of your shift to share do’s, don’ts, and incidences, etc. establish which picket captain take points at any particular exit/entrance site depending on how many there are. Establish a closed Facebook page which the administrator clearly pins the page rules. If this is not the official source for information from the union then make this very clear. If it is just a social forum then establish the guidelines and expectations.
Being on strike brought the union closer together. I have met so many wonderful people on the line and I hope to keep in close contact
Recently I have been in the local news and newspaper online and offline and my tweets have gone viral. I don’t mind because I am fighting for a cause that is important to me and my family. I have no shame in exposing my face or my name to comments I have said. My comments have not been hateful but I think diplomatic and they have been true.
What drives me crazy are those on social media who hide behind silly or obscene names with no picture but a cartoon who spew hateful messages to others who they do even know. Of course these people do it in a way so they do not get booted off the social network. The lack of a picture or name or location give some people false courage to be really mean because they hard to trace to be held accountable for their inappropriate behavior. They troll the network offering their opinions on all sorts of subjects. I usually do not entertain these people because then it can just get nasty. Online comments on a newspaper articles are the worst. It is usually the same people making the comments and again they hide behind an assumed name.
It is like the protesters who go to different events. I realize that protesters sometimes hide their faces to protect themselves from being prosecuted unfairly when it is an inflamed cause. It is the ones that cover their faces so they can do damage and harm I have a problem with. The problem is that you can’t tell the difference between the ones who want change for the better and the ones who are there to just cause trouble.
Why is it human nature to knock people when they are down? These anonymous people give social media a black eye when really social media is a great force to cause positive change.