VIEWS: 4 PAGES: 1 POSTED ON: 3/25/2010
THE FORESTER, Wednesday, September 30, 2009 A5 DriveTest employee strike is now in its second month By Carli Whitwell life,” said Carlin. “Those kids that have been performing bargaining unit work. DriveTest centres have been closed since waiting all their life (to drive by themselves) That’s not something DriveTest will agree the start of the strike, which means every- Even though Ross Carlin is not feeling and now the eight months are up (and they to, said managing director Paul Dalglish. He thing from written knowledge tests and the effects of the DriveTest strike, his driving can’t) …. They’re just super disappointed.” said in small DriveTest Centres like Hunts- road tests to vision tests are on hold. About students sure are. DriveTest examiners and customer ser- ville’s if you have a handful of workers and 80,000 tests have been cancelled. The Min- The owner of Huntsville Young Drivers vice agents went on strike on Aug. 22 because a lineup of customers, a supervisor should istry of Transportation has been extending says business was up this month despite the they say their contract doesn’t recognize job step in to help. licences that are about to expire until the fact that union workers from DriveTest, the seniority and security. The contracts with Talks between the two sides stalled on strike is over. government-contracted service that runs employer DriveTest (Serco DES Inc) for the Sept. 13. But Carlin is not sure that will help once driver examination services around the 500 or so workers — about eight whom work On Friday, United Steelworkers Local test centres reopen. province, walked off the job in late August. in Huntsville — had expired in March. Secro 9511 president Jim Young said he doesn’t “My understanding is the strike is He says that’s because more and more took over running the province’s driver test- expect any more anytime soon. going to go on for at least another three kids are trying to get their G2 licences — ing system in 2003 after inking a 10-year, “It was apparent that the employer was or four weeks,” he said. “Now you’ve got which allow young drivers to drive alone $114-million deal with the province. steadfast in its positions and wasn’t going to two months of backlog plus everybody else — before the province increases in 2010 While money is on the list of the demands, change, and obviously the union is firm on who’s eligible, and they’ve all got to jump in the minimum required time to obtain that United Steelworkers Local 9511 reps say the their main issues,” said Dale Hogg, union there and book their tests. So it’s going to be licence from eight to 12 months, if they suc- biggest issues are seniority and job security. staff representative for the Georgian Bay backed up for quite a while.” cessfully complete driver’s education. They don’t want the employer to be able to area from Huntsville and Bracebridge to The good news, said Dalglish, is that the With the strike, these teens’ plans are on lay off senior staff before part-time, contract Owen Sound, Barrie and Alliston. driving examination business is seasonal hold indefinitely. workers, or students. The local also says “We proposed language that would and tends to drop off in winter. “We’ll focus “It’s one of the biggest moments in your they don’t want supervisors or management address (what the union wants),” main- on catchup,” he said. tained Dalglish. “I’m actually a bit stumped DriveTest centres also made headlines as to why they’re still on strike.” last week. Following a three-month fraud Cash for affordable housing? By Karen Longwell Young says with no bargaining direc- tion from the province or employer, union members are taking matters into their own investigation, Toronto police charged four drive test employees — three Toronto-area residents and one Orangeville resident “We are hopeful that some will be hands. — for providing people with false driver’s approved, if not in this next round, then On Wednesday, the union was scheduled licences. Over 150 fake identities were dis- There could be new hope for affordable next year,” he said. to visit Queen’s Park and picket for their col- covered. housing in Muskoka in 2010. In the first round of funding evaluations lective agreement in the hopes of reaching Toronto police could not be reached to The District Municipality of Muskoka this July, five of Muskoka’s proposals were some sort of resolution. This is the first of confirm whether or not this ring extended has approved eight proposals for afford- not accepted. Those five proposals plus several rallies it plans to hold. outside the GTA. able housing, which have been sent to the three more were sent in for consideration province for 100 per cent funding through in this latest round and Williams expects the Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing to hear back next month. If they are not Program. accepted, there is another round next April, “We are quite keen to push on this. We he said. are hoping for 100 or more new units to begin construction in 2010,” said Rick Wil- liams, commissioner of community services The need for affordable housing in Muskoka is great because of an undersup- ply of units, said Williams. IMPORTANT MEETING for the district. The eight private sector projects had to “Rental costs in Muskoka tend to be higher than average in the province,” said MUSKOKA LANDOWNERS be approved at the district level before they were considered for funding, said Williams. Williams. Utilities are also higher than average, ASSOCIATION (MLA) The district has received funding through while incomes tend to be lower on average the same Canada-Ontario Affordable Hous- because of the seasonality of jobs. Muskoka Riverside Inn, in the Ballroom “You can say that the issue of affordabil- ing Program for the 80-unit seniors’ housing building planned on the old Pines property ity in housing is particularly acute within SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2009 - 5:00 P.M. in Bracebridge. Muskoka,” said Williams. The private sector projects would focus on the needs of young families and people The waiting lists for social housing in Muskoka have also grown, he added. LANDOWNER’S RIGHTS with low income, said Williams. “Our wait list growth has been one of the Due to the ongoing position taken by the District of Muskoka at the In total, the eight proposals represent fastest growing in the province. It has dou- Thursday, September 17, 2009 Planning and Economic Development 231 units and $26.5 million for consider- bled in the last four years,” said Williams. There are currently 460 people on the Committee Meeting, the MLA is calling for a meeting of its members ation, said Williams. The program funds an average of $120,000 per unit. The projects district’s waiting list for affordable housing, and all private landowners. The MLA will openly and clearly discuss are located across Muskoka with five pro- up from 230 people three years ago, Wil- private landowners rights: posals in Huntsville, two in Bracebridge and liams said. Of the 460 people, approximately one in Baysville. 110 are seniors, he added. • To always be the sole decision makers of their private A total of 160 units are proposed for The 80 units for seniors on the old Pines land, including management controlling and regulating. Huntsville, 60 units in Bracebridge and 11 property will help, he said, but there is also units in Baysville. A condition of the funding a need for affordable housing among young • Crown land patent grant rights. is that the projects have to be maintained at families. below market rent for a 20-year period, said The Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing PLEASE PLAN TO ATTEND Williams. Program is part of the federal government’s YOUR PRIVATE LAND, YOUR LEGACY, Once the project is approved, the funds stimulus package to bring jobs to the con- will flow to the proponent of the project; struction sector, said Williams. YOUR DECISION - POWER TO THE PEOPLE however, the district would be responsible The provincial and federal governments for monitoring each project’s compliance have allocated $220 million this year in CAREY-ANNE OKE-COOK - PRESIDENT - 705-645-5866 with affordable rent, said Williams. 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"DriveTest employee strike is now in its second month"