Solidarity with the elevator workers strike

As of the end of May, there are no talks planned in the strike that’s seen 1,400 Ontario members of the International Union of Elevator Constructors striking for more than a month with no end in sight.

According to Ben McIntyre, business manager for the IUEC Local 50 in Toronto, the union’s deal with the National Elevator and Escalator Association expired at the beginning of May. With no new deal, the elevator workers went on strike. Like many workers, they’re fighting just to keep what they already have.

But a problem is brewing that may make things even more challenging for the Ontario’s elevator workers. If the maintenance workers’ strike continues, the agency regulating elevator safety in Ontario says it may need to shut down elevators for safety reasons. The Technical Standards and Safety Authority says it requires regular safety checks and is concerned that, with elevator companies won’t be able to keep up with required inspections.

But while you’re journeying up those flights of stairs, it’s worth remembering that these are the workers who keep those elevators running every day, and without them, your commute might be much more exhausting.

Having said that, many people depend on elevators as a part of daily life; I use an elevator roughly ten times a day. Until they develop an easily available wheelchair that can handle stairs, elevator workers will be an invisible army connecting me to the outside world.

And I’d personally prefer that army to be well paid, well qualified, and in strong enough numbers to get the job done.

I’ve had calls from reporters expecting me to be angry about this situation, and I can understand why some people are upset and worried, but without this strike would any of us stop and think about the importance of the work they do?

The Toronto Transit Commission is trying to make it easier for people with disabilities, and other people who depend on elevators while supporting the striking workers. They are adding buses and looking at their options for riders as the elevator workers strike continues. They are also putting Wheel-Trans buses in strategic locations to assist people that may get stranded because of broken down elevator. Wheel-Trans is the accessible public transit alternative for people with disabilities to use in Toronto when they can’t access the regular transit system.

Elevator workers are vital to the quality of life for many who live in Ontario, including people with disabilities. Let’s not let others make this a case of workers’ rights versus disability rights; let’s make it a time we supported each other in solidarity, so that we can all have the quality of life we deserve.

Reposted from http://www.socialist.ca/node/1774

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2 thoughts on “Solidarity with the elevator workers strike

  1. Wow, Thank you Melissa my husband is one of the Technicians on strike and he wouldn’t be out there if NEEA hadn’t forced the lock out…my fear is for the public, as it has been more than 6 weeks since the last inspection. So, one asks how safe are the elevators…maybe we should all refuse to ride on them until our employers can prove they have been inspected. Maybe NEEA should have to pay for all the lost wages for everyone who couldn’t get to work because of the lack of service. Maybe, NEEA, should pay everyone who wasn’t able to get to their homes because of lack of service. Maybe everyone should be asking TSSA why they haven’t shut down all the elevators that haven’t had the proper inspections done, like they would do if the technicians were working.
    Thank you again, it is so nice to see someone who is not blaming the technicians.

  2. A golden opportunity for able bodied society to experience the daily encounter of access denied, being faced by everyone using a wheelchair!

    Wake up Canada

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