[peeps-talk] Ontario Guide Dogs On Strike (fwd)

Edward L. Barnes ebarnes at enigma2.cjb.net
Sat Aug 17 14:31:43 EDT 2002

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 17 Aug 2002 09:34:32 -0400
From: Beverly <shilohsmom at 695online.com>
Reply-To: peeps-talk at yahoogroups.com
To: peeps-talk <peeps-talk at yahoogroups.com>
Subject: [peeps-talk] Ontario Guide Dogs On Strike

Ontario's Guide Dogs 'WalkeeI thought this was funny!!!

s' the Picket
Lines ----------------------------------------------------------------------

PHoto: Golden Lab, Buddy, Caption: "NO, WE WILL NOT STAY!!"
Dogs of Ontario Guiding Men and Women (DOGMAW) President Buddy addresses
union members at a rally in Toronto this weekend.  Thousands of visually
impaired individuals across the province of Ontario have been rendered
virtual prisoners in their own homes, as members of the powerful DOGMAW
(Dogs of Ontario Guiding Men and Women) union began a legal strike at
midnight this morning.

Last-minute talks between DOGMAW representatives and officials from the
province broke off at the eleventh hour last night when it became clear that
a strike could not be averted.  Relations between the provincial guide dogs
union and the province have become increasingly strained over the past year
and a half.  DOGMAW's collective begging agreement expired in March of this
year, and members of the union have been working without a contract for over
a year now.  DOGMAW members have been working-to-rule for the last three
months.  Since April, guide dogs in Ontario have been refusing to obey
traffic signals and have been intentionally guiding their owners into the
wrong building on daily excursions, resulting in several confusing

The union is demanding three weeks paid vacation a year, more access to
squirrels, guaranteed stick throwing and a "good boy/girl" pat on the head
at least once per day.  The provincial government is counter-offering with
an additional three biscuits every week and a promise to loosen fire hydrant
interaction regulations for all members.  "Quite frankly, the demands put
forth by the guide dogs union were unacceptable and unreasonable," said
Ontario Ministry of Labour spokesperson Anne-Marie Tariq.  "They're biting
the hand that feeds them."

The President of the Ontario Guide Dogs' union claims that the Ontario
Government is trying to "neuter" his union's effectiveness in representing
the interests of working dogs.

Photo:  Mayor Mel Lastman with reporters, Caption:  "I DON'T CARE IF IT'S
irritated Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman addresses reporters on the subject of
the DOGMAW strike.

"We're very, very cross," barked DOGMAW President Buddy, as he licked
reporters' microphones while addressing the media outside the downtown
Toronto hotel where overnight negotiations took place.  "Here we are,
busting our tails every day, while regular dogs lounge about, doing nothing
to earn their keep.  All we want is a little respect-we're like any other
canine.  The burnout rate in our profession is through the roof," snorted
the union firebrand.  "We think it's only fair that our members be able to
let loose a little.  I mean, we can't even examine anyone else's behind
while we're on duty--in other jobs, like in the government for example,
nobody says anything about all of the butt-sniffing, licking and kissing
that goes on, but for us, no, it's just walk and sit, walk and sit..  The
six-year-old Labrador Retriever said that the court of public opinion is
clearly on the side of the dogs.  "We're getting plenty of paw shakes out on
the picket lines, so we're confident that we have the support of the people
of Ontario on our side."

Allegations have been levelled by the union that the province is bargaining
in bad faith.  Said Buddy: "Mr.  Lewis (Ontario's Deputy Minister of Labour)
wouldn't even let me inspect his crotch before we began negotiations over
the weekend.  How am I supposed to know if I can trust him?"  Photo:  A
DOGMAW member stops for a break while picketing in Windsor this morning.

And as evidence as to how acrimonious relations between the two sides have
become, DOGMAW has accused the province of antagonizing its members for its
recent attempts to enact "humans only" union membership regulations in the
provincial legislature; a move that was defeated at Queen's Park by the NDP.
"That was blatant, cynical union-busting," claimed DOGMAW Local #2174
steward and union negotiator Ginger.  Continued the veteran guide dog:  "The
province's confrontational stance is quite frustrating.  I think our demands
are entirely reasonable.  I haven't seen a movie, drank from the toilet or
stopped to sniff my own excrement since I was a puppy.  Is that fair?"

To show solidarity with their Ontario counterparts, guide dogs in Quebec are
planning a 30-minute tail chasing this afternoon in the middle of their
working day.  Meanwhile, British Columbia guide dogs belonging to the
militant WAG union (Western Alliance of Guiders) have vowed to refuse to
obey the 'sit' command for the next 48 hours out of sympathy for their
Ontario brothers and sisters.  According to the Ontario Government, the
longer the labour dispute goes on, the greater the threat of violence.
"This union has shown in the past that when they don't get their way, they
can turn nasty," said Tariq from the Ministry of Labour.  "Back in the last
guide dog strike in 1980, there were numerous incidents of intimidation and
violence from DOGMAW members towards replacement dogs.  "The dogs of Ontario
who want to earn a living should not be held hostage to the union's
militancy," added Tariq.  Unconfirmed reports from Hamilton this morning
indicate that a non-unionized poodle guiding a blind woman was tormented and
threatened by picketing DOGMAW members.  "Mr.  Lewis wouldn't even let me
inspect his crotch before we began negotiations over the weekend.  How am I
supposed to know if I can trust him?" -DOGMAW President Buddy, on the
deteriorating relations between his union and the province.

The union has denied these allegations, accusing the province of scare
mongering.  Ever-eloquent Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman weighed in on the issue
earlier today.  The mayor implored the two sides to get back together and
come to a resolution in the dispute, in the name of safety for those in
Toronto who depend upon guide dogs to function in their daily lives.
"F*****' ***-damn **** ****l!!!!," exclaimed Lastman as he kicked over a
lectern at Toronto City Hall.  "What the hell is wrong with these people?
F*****' dogs!  Lives are at risk here!!!!  People are gonna start dyin' and
shit!  "For f***'s sake, can't somebody do something about this?  I'm gonna
call in the f*****' army if something isn't done soon!  Don't think I can't
do it!  I don't care what youse guys says!!!!" "F***!" added the mayor.

As a last ditch effort before considering legislating DOGMAW members back to
work, the province has brought in special St.  Bernard mediators in an
effort to broker a truce.  Both sides, however, do not appear to be
optimistic.  "I think that we're too far apart on basic core issues as it
stands right now," said Buddy.  "I don't see an end coming to this anytime
soon.  We've been filling our strike war chest with Milk Bone and Snausages
for months, so we're ready to wait it out as long as it takes." Ontario
Minister of Labour Brad Clark was equally discouraged.  "It's hard to win a
public relations battle with DOGMAW, I mean, they're always trotting out the
puppy dog eyes and rolling over for belly rubs, but we're confident that
once the people of Ontario are made aware of the facts, they will realize
that giving into the outrageous demands of special interest groups such as
this one would send this province to the dogs, " said a smiling Clark,
vainly hoping to get a chuckle from assembled journalists.  "BAD DOGS.  BAD,
BAD DOGS!" added the Minister.

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