Hate Mail From CUPE! (And my response…)

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) &quo...

I got the most lovely letter today from Rob Chamberland, president of CUPE Local 2073. It sounds like he is angry and vindictive- could it be having to repeat “oh ye brothers and sisters” too often each day, or is there something more to the story?

Here’s the letter, filled with all of the exaggeration and anger you’d expect from a labour executive- followed with my response: (click the image to expand)

Dearest Rob,

Wow, that’s quite an angry and overblown posting you made! What’s going on- did you not see that I sometimes use satire in my articles, did you miss it in this one? Perhaps seeing the video I posted reminded you how Olivia Chow turned you down after the cocktail social after her security guy showed her your Facebook profile?

Silly Rob! I guess you haven’t seen Olivia’s opinion on this issue- she seems to know a thing or two about the Black Bloc

The Haymarket image on your profile appears to many as an incitement for violence- and, it is generally seen as a moment where labour was sent a few steps backwards. Considering all of the impressionable young people who may read this as an acceptance of Black Bloc tactics, and the rumours that have gone around about CUPE’s possible involvement in this sort of violence, is it not slightly irresponsible to still use this image? We’ve already spoken on this issue- now that you are El Presidente, isn’t it time that you grow-up?

Oh, and what’s up with the revisionist history in this article? Back to the impressionable young people I was mentioning…

Okay, that’s enough fooling around let’s dig into the meat of the conversation. First, I’ll respond to some of the issues you brought-up in your comments:

1.)  “This article is a complete misrepresentation and has made up my mind about Greg’s unreliability and dishonesty”

Your words are deeply disturbing Rob, I expected better from El Presidente. That a CUPE executive believes they can base such a serious judgement on a single paragraph (89 words) must be music to the government’s ears. Rob Ford & McGuinty must be giggling right now- the next round of negotiations are going to be so easy for them!

2.) “There were plenty of occupiers on-hand to welcome us.”

Of course there were Occupiers on-site! We’re not government workers Rob, nor do we “work-to-rule“, so we’d not be so irresponsible as to leave the place unprotected. It is insulting that you would insinuate this.

3.) “…we were filling their buckets with $20 bills.”

First, how do you know they were all putting $20 bills into the buckets- was this one of those charitable donations I’ve heard unions force their members to contribute to, or are you just blowing smoke out of your ass?

Next, Occupy Vancouver had big problems with non-occupiers walking into camp and soliciting donations for their personal benefit- how were you sure you were giving the money to the right people? I sure hope you don’t handle your membership dues like this!

4.) ” Greg makes it out to be a conspiracy, intimating that certain people “in the know” knew in advance about the rally.”

I used the word coincidence, not conspiracy Rob. The key difference between these two words is that the former says “I don’t know”, and the latter says “I believe but am not sure”.

I’m glad you have informed me on that now- because, I did feel a bit uncertain, and (as I say at Occupy ad-nauseum) a lack of transparency is like a petri dish for discontent. But, we’ll get to that in just a moment…

5.) “We’re all familiar with the general assembly and were under no allusions that it was a general assembly, as Greg makes out here.”

Wow! Are you telling me that the entire crowd had already been to an occupy General Assembly? But, it was only two weeks into the Canadian Occupy movement, and some of those people came from cities without occupations. How could you all be familiar with a GA? And, have you forgotten this is a satire site?

6.) ” So at no point were we playacting that it was”

Of course not Rob- I’m sure you keep the playacting for times you put on your balaclava trying to impress Olivia…

Indeed, I made a bit of an exaggeration on that one. That said, those people who can read between the lines understand what I was trying to say. During the rally before you arrived at the camp, you had CUPE people chanting Occupy slogans and such- had you been going to a First Nations rally, you’d probably have been more respectful of their culture. And, I’m sure as hell that you would if you were visiting the Hell’s Angels. So, why not Occupy?

Okay, now that I have covered what you’ve said, I have some questions for CUPE that I’ve been hoping to get answered:

1.) The video begins with someone making a comment that “we want fairness for all of us!” A question on that, did the speaker mean all CUPE members, or for all of the 99%? If the latter, does this mean that your union would be willing to go on-strike if the government refuses to increase the minimum wage?

2.) Also in the Video, Paul Moist yells out “they can keep their god-damned hands off them!” in his speech. Considering there are many religious people in your union, and in society in-general, isn’t it somewhat insensitive to use god’s name in-vain? Perhaps it is time for him to get some anti-oppression training?

3.) In the clip of one of your members says “we’re standing up for the atrocities that the rich are putting upon us”. Do you not think this is a bit divisive of a statement to make? Do all of your members vote in federal & municipal elections?

4.) When the editor cut-in the clips of CUPE members high-fiving the homeless guy, was this not slightly exploitive? Hmmm, sounds like your editor and the people who approved the final cut may need to join Paul Moist in that training…

5.) At the beginning of the Canadian Occupations, Paul Moist made quite an impressive statement: “Their dedication to a fairer, more equitable society is very much in line with the values of CUPE members and of CUPE as an organization.” I must tell you I was genuinely impressed at the time.

But, on the last day of Occupy Toronto, it was CUPE employees who were used to remove our infrastructure from the camp. And, yes, I’ve heard the story, that the employees of CUPE 416 & CUPE 43 were forced to do this. But, what happened to CUPE’s dedication to a fair & equitable society? Has Mr. Moist Suddenly changed his name to Mr. Jobsworth?

Because, the only support CUPE  brought to Occupy Toronto on the last day was a group of people to parade with your flags in front of the TV cameras! If you were truly behind us, and as dedicated as you say, you would have done more than just talk-the-talk. If you walked-the-walk you’d have told the government  all of CUPE would strike if members of 416 & 43 were forced to work.

I’ll understand if you tell me that would be too much sacrifice- but, wish you’d have said that before we spent so much time planning to support the 416 in their recent issues with Mr. Ford!

6.) I have one last question for you about CUPE’s relationship with Canadian Occupations- but, will leave it to someone who can say it better than I can:

Thank you for your attention to these issues. I look forward to CUPE’s official response. And, don’t worry, I hold no animosity towards your unsubstantiated attack on my character, and won’t make any judgement on CUPE’s character until you have had an opportunity to respond.

Solidarity Oh Ye Brothers & Sisters!

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