7 June 2007

Poisonous Gurgling Negotiations

We have not had any word down at the mill about the negotiations underway between my bigshot international union and last big splinters of what is left of the coastal forest industry. The two sides have been meeting for three days as far as we know.

I was having coffee and breakfast this morning at Ma Kelly's before work, reading about how the hockey season should wrap up tonight, when Pupinder walked in. As he sat down across from me Ma approached with the coffee pot. "You want coffee Poop?" she asked as she poured me a re-fill. "You know very well I want a pot of tea Ma. I have been coming into your restaurant for 30 years and I have never had a cup of coffee. Why would I want one now?"

"You look like you need coffee Poop. Big cup."

"No doubt. What I really need is a scotch. Just get me a tea will you Ma? I have to start work in half an hour."

Ma poured him his tea. As the tea steeped in the little metal pot Poops asked me, "How come we aren't hearing anything about the negotiations? I just got the bills for my daughter's graduation. How am I going to pay for that shit if I'm drinking beer in a lawn chair in front of the mill all summer?"

My stomach gurgled poisonously as I thought about what Poops had to say. I was going to have to have a long visit with the sawmill shitter soon after the shift started. "Negotiations are in the stretch run Poops. No news is good news. Soon both sides will tell the media they stayed up all night and hammered out an agreement neither side is happy with or the union will fume to the media about the bosses trying to skin our hides and the bosses will cry about the Steelworkers' inflexibility.

"Much as the Steelworkers would like to buff up their working class credentials in this province with a strike I'm pretty sure they would rather do it two years from now when they can lead a province wide strike and create a bigger splash."
"So you're saying there will be no strike?"

"I don't know shit Poops. All I know is that most of the time cooler heads prevail. But if I know one thing about the Steelworkers it is that they regard our motherfucking bosses as vulnerable to a long strike as the employers viewed our old union as vulnerable to a long shut down five years ago."

"So you're saying there will be a strike?"

"I'd tell your creditors you don't speak English when they start phoning Poops. You might need beer money this summer more than they need your bill paid on time."

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