Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Holiday Wishes

Merry Christmas to all, with a special Thank You to all those who supported us over this difficult time.  You are much appreciated!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Media Release: Dispute Resolved

We now have a copy of the media release put out by SAIL.      


Labour Dispute Resolved Between SAIL Inc. and AUPE

For Immediate Release (Edmonton, Alberta)
Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The labor dispute between the home care company Supports for Artspace Independent Living Inc. (SAIL) and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) is over.  A mutually agreed upon settlement has been reached. 
SAIL Inc. wishes AUPE and its members all the best in their future endeavours.

Since 1990 SAIL Inc. has provided a consumer driven, self-directed model of homecare to user members. SAIL is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors.  User-members live in their own apartment or condominium at Artspace Housing Co-op.  Artspace is a vibrant 88 unit Co-op that offers housing to a diverse community of 180 people, including people with disabilities and seniors. Up to 30 Co-op members use the home care services of SAIL. Each user-member of SAIL is responsible for directing the home care staff as to how best to meet their needs. The user-member also has a say as to when their care time is scheduled.  SAIL’s unique model of home care offers maximum independence to the user members.

Media coverage: Edmonton Journal

It took a while, but news of the labour dispute at our home ending has finally been reported.  Here is an article from the Edmonton Journal.

Seven-month labour dispute ends at Edmonton housing co-opBy Keith Gerein, Edmonton Journal December 16, 2014

The story is nice and neutral; a media win, I'd say.  There were a couple of things that should probably have a bit of clarification, or at least a fleshing out.  These are likely due to word count limitations and lack of information than anything else.

A labour dispute at the Artspace Housing Co-operative has ended after more than seven months.

Two hundred and nineteen days, so be exact.

To clarify, yes, the dispute was AT the co-op, but not WITH the co-op.

Alberta Union of Provincial Employees spokesman Tyler Bedford said a settlement was reached between the union and the non-profit group that manages home care services

Company, not group.  SAIL Inc. is a non-profit company, run by a volunteer board, and is a subsidiary of Artspace Housing Co-op Inc.  It's a niggling point, but there is a legal difference.

 for about 30 residents of the apartment co-op.

Apartments and townhouses. The townhouses are across the street from the high rise, and SAIL user members, who are all living independently in their own private homes, might be in either.  There are anywhere from 130-180 people living here.  Like any other residential building (or buildings, in our case), it can change.   At the moment, all units are occupied, so we're at the high end of the scale.  The number of SAIL user members is a very small portion of the total population of the co-op.

Terms of the deal are confidential but the result is the health care aides represented by AUPE will not be returning to work at the co-op at 93rd Street and 101A Avenue. 

Another niggling detail.  The staff did not work at the co-op.  They worked at the SAIL office, which is in unit 103 of the high rise.  From there, they would go to people's homes to provide care.  Those homes happen to also be in Artspace, but they did not work "at" Artspace.  

When you have spent much of your life fighting to be able to live independently, this is a very important detail.  The home care staff went from the employer's office to people's private homes.  

Let's put it this way.  If a person needing home care, provided by AHS, had an apartment in any of the other high rises here in Edmonton, no one would say the home care workers were working "at" the apartment building, but at that person's apartment.   The landlord of the building would not be considered the employer or the place of employment.  The fact that the worker would need to pass through common areas, such as hallways and elevators, or use shared amenities, such as laundry rooms or garbage chutes, does not change that.  

So what this sentence should be saying is that the staff would not be returning to work at SAIL, not "the co-op."

... but the employees were then locked out by their employer, known as Supports for Artspace Independent Living (SAIL).

Known as??

What a strange thing way to put it.  

Picket lines have been present outside the building ever since.

To be fair to AUPE, that's not quite true.  They were here on Remembrance Day, but stopped coming when the hearing with the Labour Board started the next day.  They stayed away until Nov. 23 - day 200 - when they had another party, then picketed for two more days.  Aside from the odd day they didn't show up over the previous 6 months, the last time there was picketing seen at Artspace was Nov. 25.

Also, they would hang out at either the high rise or the townhouses, or at the cul du sac North of the above ground parking, so this is where the writer should have said "the co-op" instead of "the building."  It's unlikely the writer would have known this.

The non-profit group has been using replacement workers to tend to residents’ needs,
Let's try that one again; "The non-profit company ... to tend to user members' needs."  
Thanks, Keith Gerein, for doing a rather good job in covering this announcement.  Certainly better than most of the coverage we've had over the past 7 months!

Friday, 12 December 2014

Pleased to share

Today, we received the following notice, which we are pleased to share.

The labour dispute is over. We look forward to resuming our lives in our wonderful and peaceful community.

That's about all we know right now.

Many thanks to all who have supported us.

Monday, 8 December 2014

An Update:

Regarding the labour dispute between AUPE and SAIL, discussions are under way and things are looking positive.
The blog is coming down as a sign of good faith while these discussions proceed.
We are hopeful that a formal press release will be issued by SAIL and AUPE once the matter is resolved.
Thankyou to all who submitted their stories, video, and photographs to the Artspace Under Siege blog.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Spin, spin, spin

One of the things that has been most difficult for a lot of people living here in Artspace is going from an intentional community that can only function properly through open communication, volunteerism and honesty, to dealing with an organization that takes things and spins them around to mean something completely different than they really do.  Like when AUPE non-lawyer, William Rigutto, ranted outside the high rise for some 2 hours, during which he, and others, yelled in the street about financial information shared in confidence during negotiations and made all sorts of wild accusations.  During this time, he questioned why SAIL has a contingency fund which, over time, he re-defined as a profit, and even claimed that SAIL thought of this as profit. 

Because apparently he knows what a company thinks?  Or that he knows what a volunteer board of half a dozen people thinks? 

Some of us were told that, if the audit of SAIL's finances confirmed the numbers board members had been trying to tell AUPE all along, this strike would be over.  There would be no reason for the labour dispute to continue.

Well, the audit did confirm SAIL's finances, and AUPE is still here.  Not only that, but they've gone and tried to spin things to make it sound like the audit confirmed what AUPE has been claiming, instead, then making more accusations against SAIL.

Look.  We may be mostly people on low incomes, but we do understand budgeting, and we do understand financial responsibility.  We certainly know what it's like to live with all the rules and regulations that come with public funding.  We're living in a co-op, for crying out loud.  Everything about living in a co-op is determined by rules and regulations set by others that we must meet.

Instead of accepting what the audit has shown, AUPE has instead released another flier, making claims against SAIL.

Honestly, AUPE.  Do you really think we're stupid?

You guys couldn't even get it right in the headline.

"Financials released, SAIL mislead Artspace and its caregivers."

Hey!  AUPE!  "Artspace" doesn't have any caregivers.  Artspace has SAIL user-members.  About 30 of them.  SAIL hires the care givers, not Artspace.

You know this.  You've been told this repeatedly.  If you're going to accuse SAIL of misleading people, maybe you shouldn't do it by making erroneous statements right in your headline!

Unless this is just a bad use of sentence structure, at which point, get a better editor.  

Then the flier claims that SAIL does have "the ability to provide caregivers with a fair collective agreement."

Well... that's misleading.  Of course they have the ability to provide a collective agreement.  The problem is what AUPE considers a "fair" agreement.

Ah, but then they go on about how SAIL has "gathered" money by "hoarding public funds."  Surplus dollars.  They've got money in the bank, people!  The horror!

Well, first off, I have to say I'm really disappointed that the number is so low.  Unlike the general public, we are aware of the operating costs for SAIL, because we asked.  You know; what AUPE kept yelling at us to do, except most of us had already done it. 

Then they complain about things like how much money was used for paying security, which would never have been needed if AUPE hadn't been so aggressive outside of our homes.  Oh, and then they complained about "professional fees." 

Of course there's going to be professional fees.  They have to pay for accountants and lawyers and auditors and all those other people to do things that a volunteer board can't do themselves.

It's called "the cost of doing business" and is part of running a company responsibly.

Ah, now let's see how else this got spun.  This money, AUPE tells us, is "intended to fund care."

Well guess what, AUPE.  We know full well that for user members to get care, that involves expenses and administration and fees and rent and supplies and yes, hiring professionals and, if necessary, security to protect the people coming in to provide the individual care they need.  Wages are just part of what the funding is supposed to pay for. 

AUPE would have us believe that somehow, SAIL is supposed to negotiate wages on one time (we hope) events like hiring necessary security, and on any "surplus" they might have. 

You can't budget based on "surplus."  Anyone who manages a simple household income knows this. 

Oh, and they're still pushing that "industry standard" line, when 1) there is no industry standard and 2) the SAIL staff were already being paid more than equivalent home care workers.

No, AUPE.  It's not SAIL that has mislead anyone.  Spin things all you want; it doesn't change the fact that the audit confirmed what SAIL had been saying all along.

So why are you still here?

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Why the Signs Came Down

A couple of weeks ago, the signs at Artspace relating to the labor dispute came down. Since then some Artspace members have noticed that the picketers seem happy about this. They almost seem to be treating it like a small victory. They did not like the signs.

Allow me to clarify that the signs were not taken down because of anything the picketers did or didn't say, or did or didn't do. They were taken down out of respect for other Artspace members. You see, not everyone who lives here likes the signs. In fact, I would venture to say that really none of us likes the signs. However, they were necessary. The presence of the signs helped to create a better environment for those of us who live here. They pointed out some of the picketers' outrageous behaviour and  showed the public how strong of a community we are and what we truly value. Since what we value is vastly different than what the picketers value, the picketers did not like the signs.

While the signs served a purpose, it seemed time to take them down. Our community is important to every member that lives here. The signs were taken down out of respect for the unity of our community. Since the union has parked itself in front of our homes we have become a stronger community. The signs had a large role in this, however it is not necessary to have them displayed all the time, indefinitely. With over 80 members living in this co-op, it is for certain that we cannot please everyone all the time. We each have our points of view. By taking down the signs, we are showing respect for those in our community who do not feel the same way about the signs as we do. Compromise is a way to work together, respect one another's differences, and grow into a stronger community of unity. So for now the signs are down.

Yes, the signs are down but not thrown away or forgotten. We have them nearby should we find the need to put them up again. Let's all hope that we won't have to.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Words to Ponder

A Message to the Picketers

This message is aimed at all the AUPE picketers outside Artspace, not just the striking SAIL employees, since there are so very few employees out there.

It has now been 6 months since the strike began. 

As I listen to your "celebrations" outside our home, hear you verbally abuse some of our members and gossip about others behind their backs while lounging under our balconies, so many thoughts and questions come to mind.

Like so many others, I wonder why you are here.  Oh, yes, I see your signs, but they don't answer the question at all.  Yes, I hear you yelling your accusations about SAIL, but I have asked the questions and gotten the answers.  Your accusations sound increasingly desperate in attempting to slander SAIL to justify your presence.

I wonder if any of you, sitting in your camp chairs, obsessing with your phones and gossiping, have grasped the magnitude of just how much damage you have done.

No, I don't mean the damage you've done to our Artspace members.  We can tell, by your contemptuous laughter, that you don't care that you have caused people to be hospitalized.  In fact, you seem quite proud of it.

No.  I mean the damage you have done to yourselves.

Do you truly not understand this?

The first error was made from the beginning.  Normally, strikers picket offices, factories or storefronts; the physical location of their employer.  But you never did that.  No.  As bad as it would have been to target a non-profit, volunteer run company, that is not what you did.

Instead, you went after the very people it was your job to care for, and everyone around them.  To draw a comparison, it's as if you worked at a furnace cleaning company and, when on strike, decided to picket the homes of customers whose furnaces you'd cleaned - plus their next door neighbors, plus everyone else on the block, plus anyone who visited their homes, most of whom have never done business with your employer - rather than the company itself.  It's completely illogical and counterproductive.  How did you ever think that this would get you any support?

That, however, is not the worst of it.

The worst of it was how you chose to behave on the picket line.

You chose to not only picket the homes of people you knew had no control over funding, but you chose to do it in a most regressive and vile manner.  It was not enough for you to come out and walk around with signs.  No.  You chose to harass, yell, insult, swear and threaten people.  Even now, do you think we can't hear you as you laugh at us?  As you talk about us with such anger, hatred and contempt?  You're right in front of our homes.  You're right under our balconies.  You're right outside our windows.  We can hear you.  We can see you. 

For so long, you have tried to make this about dignity and respect, but your behavior has shown this to be a lie. 

It's about money.  That much is obvious.  If it were really about dignity and respect, you would have behaved in a dignified and respectful manner.

I ask you this.  After all this time, have you not yet realized that you have wasted 6 months of your lives?  No; not just wasted.  It's 6 months of your own actions damaging your own selves.

Have you not realized that no amount of money will win back what you've lost by doing what you've done?

No amount of money will regain you the integrity you lost by going after some of the most vulnerable people, in their own homes.

No amount of money will give you the respect you lost when you chose to go after the people you used to provide care for.  Their friends.  Their family.  Their neighbors.

No amount of money will repair the damage you have done to your own reputations, through your behaviour outside our homes.

You have also damaged the reputation of every AUPE member, because what you have done has been done in the name of your union.

You have also damaged the reputation of all other unions, because what you have done have become representative of all picketer behavior.

You can try and shift the blame to somewhere else all you want, but the only ones responsible for this damage is yourselves.  You can try and convince yourself that this is all part of some noble cause, but your own actions have shown the opposite.  There is nothing noble about anything you have done outside our homes. 

There is nothing you can accomplish by being here.  There never was.  You've gone after the wrong people and, in the process, destroyed any positive thing you could have gained, had you only chosen to at least behave in a dignified and humane manner. 

Every time you come out here, you serve only to destroy your own reputation, that much more. Every time you come out here, more of your personal integrity is lost.  Every time you come out here, the more you reflect negatively on the reputation of your fellow union members.  Every time you come out here, you serve only to cause more harm to yourselves.

Have you not yet figured that out? 

Is the money worth it?

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Words to Ponder

Another one down


Another Artspace member, who understandably wishes to remain private, has succumbed to the long term damage caused by AUPE actions against our community and has to go on disability.

Like the past hospitalizations, this is a person who is not a SAIL user member nor involved in the labour dispute in any way.

"Just" another person affected by this siege of our home.

Question: how can these "health care workers" on the picket line justify their actions when they know they are harming people?

What kind of people stand in front of the private homes of people uninvolved with the labour dispute and treat the harm they are causing as a big joke?  Treat this as if it's some sort of game?  Do they really think we don't hear them laughing at us as they gossip about our members?

They know they are causing harm.  And they take obvious joy in it.

Explain that, AUPE.

There is no reason for you to be out there.  You have the audit that confirmed SAIL can't afford your demands.

It's long past time to leave.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Media coverage - Edmonton Woman's "Freedom to Tweet" article

An excellent article from Edmonton Woman about AUPE's attempt to silence Kathleen Smith for supporting us.

The article starts on page 10.

In a recent tweet Kathleen explained what makes Artspace special: "I walked into #Artspace and was immediately surrounded with warmth & love.  They shared their homes and their lives with me."
Artspace is a housing cooperative that is open to everybody.  However, it has a unique feature: 29 units have been adapted to meet the needs of residents with physical disabilities.  The dispute at Artspace is about the wages workers receive for the assisted living program.
The videos that Kathleen saw show AUPE members on the picket line using air horns, loud speakers and abusive language to the residents of Artspace.
Kathleen says that the residents have "fought their entire lives to live independently.  To not be institutionalized.  And in some cases, they have fought just to be permitted to live.  They have spent their entire lives fighting.  And no one was listening to their stories in all of this."
But Kathleen was listening.

Thank you, Kathleen, for listening.  There is no doubt that the relative peace we are "enjoying" right now is directly because of exposure in social media to what AUPE has been doing to our community.  No amount of calls to the police did it, and what little exposure there was in television or print media had little effect.  It took this blog, and social media attention, to finally get things to tone down, even if they aren't really all that much better; just less blatant.

It's a shame that, rather than admit their errors and take corrective action, AUPE has instead chosen file their SLAPP suit against you.

This is a powerful quote.

"One of the things I discuss online a lot," she says, "is freedom of expression in this country and how important it is.  And how much of an issue I have with those that think that freedom of expression or any charter rights only applies to people we approve of because that's not the way it works.  We all think we're fighting the great evil, but when we're actively seeking to deny others their rights, we're hurting ourselves.  And people need to wake up and start getting that message."

How very true.

Thank you, Kathleen, for standing up for Artspace, and thank you, Edmonton Woman, for such a well written piece.  You even got the description of Artspace right!

For those new to this page, here is the security montage video Kathleen is referring to in her interview.

This video was given to the media, months ago.  AUPE dismissed it, partially because, as they claimed, the footage was old, and did not reflect the reality of the picket line.

In response to that claim, here is a playlist of videos from August 2nd.

[update: AUPE videos are no longer available: as part of the agreement at the end of the labour dispute, AUPE removed videos and other online content related to the dispute.]

This next playlist of videos are from August 6; you can read more about it here.

Then there's this post, about events on the mornings of Oct. 16 and Oct. 22nd.

While this post includes video that shows some of what goes on in the wee hours of the morning.

AUPE cannot deny the reality these videos show.

You can still fix this, AUPE.

You can still save at least a few shreds of dignity.

Just walk away.

Friday, 31 October 2014


It look a long time to get the following videos.  The phone the original file was on disappeared, as did the clips that were shared on Facebook.

The original long file was split into 5 shorter clips for upload to Facebook.  These shorter clips were finally found, just a few days ago.  There is a bit of time overlap in some of them.

First, some context.

This took place on August 6, 2014.

The person in the vehicle used to be a SAIL employee.  After the strike started, she quit working for SAIL and left the union.

She still comes to provide Self Managed Care for non-SAIL users in Artspace.  This is a program where individuals can independently hire caregivers to provide the care they need.  Typically, it's because they need more care than SAIL is able to support, or simply by personal choice.  This is all part of AHS's different home care services that help people maintain independence and not be forced to live in institutions.

Which means that she is not a replacement worker, nor is she a union member.  There is no valid reason for her to be targeted by her former co-workers.

That hasn't stopped them from targeting her repeatedly.

Not only is there no valid reason for them to be blocking her, this is happening completely off site.

Here's an image from Google maps to show where things are.

Artspace Co-op consists of the high rise, where the SAIL office is, and the townhouses across the street.

The cluster of arrows shows where AUPE usually "pickets".  Not a very accurate word for what they are doing.  It's more like "hang out," or "sit around", "wander", "loiter" or "trespass" - again and again and again.

Those aren't the only areas they hang out.  Sometimes, they'll sit on the guardrail on the outer edge of the curve to the side lane.  Other times, they'll wander farther down the street on the townhouse side.  Especially when they want to scope out some of the units and watch people's windows. Or, when it suites their fancy, they target people.  Other times, they'll wander around to the end of 94th St.  

Along with her former co-workers, we have the picket captain, Jaime Urbina, and the familiar face of Deb Arcand.

After months of harassment, when the picketers were finally approached to lay off of her, they apparently offered a "compromise."  They'd leave her alone, so long as she stayed inside and didn't go out on her employer's balcony.

And then they question why people in Artspace say they feel like hostages?

To this day, if she is seen on her employers balcony, they target her, either by calling out or whipping out the recording devices.

Part 4 is notable, because this is when AUPE VP, Karen Weier is first seen.

Yes, an AUPE VP took part in the mobbing of a person no longer connect to the labour dispute, on an off-site location.

An amazing amount of abusive behaviour has been allowed at Artspace, all because it was somehow justified and excused as being part of a "labour dispute."

This event, however, blows all those excuses away.

The person being targeted is no longer involved in the labour dispute, and hadn't been for some months.

The person targeted is not a union member, and again, had not been for some months.

The person is not a replacement worker with SAIL, but someone who is working for an independent employer who is an Artspace member, therefore her job has no connection to the labour dispute.

All of this takes place well off-site, on a public street.

Oh, and if you've watched all the videos, you'll have caught the part where she mentions how long she's been mobbed.

They did this for almost 1 1/2 hours.

Video of the Day: Mornings at Artspace

The following is a video montage of AUPE activities in front of our home.

This is only from a 1 week period in October, and only includes video of the picketers going after the replacement workers.

Right under the bedroom windows of Artspace members.

What is not in here are samples of the loud talking, laughing and shouting.  Artspace members are being awakened by this as early as 5 am, and people are repeatedly awakened throughout this morning shift.

Having groups of antagonistic people hanging around outside our home is bad enough during the afternoons.  This is happening in the early morning hours.  AUPE begins to arrive at 5 am.  Or 5:30.  Or closer to 6.  Some days they are gone by 7:30 am.  Others, they are still around past 8 am.

Here's a quote from a supporter in an earlier post.

... all i know is that when we were on strike we were told the cops could arrest us for not continually walking, and for walking anywhere but on a designated area of the sidewalk outside the building we were picketing. this is ludicrous. ... and we complied because we didn't want to get in any trouble.

There is none of that here.

While they spend the bulk of their afternoons at the West accessible garden bed (now also 2 of the East accessible garden beds), in the mornings they tend to hang out in the parking lot driveways.

Or on the street.

Or in front of the townhouses.

Or at their vehicles.

Plus there's usually at least a couple at the end of 94th St., at the back of the high rise.

Basically, they just stand or sit around wherever the mood seems to strike.

On top of wondering why they are here at all, we have to ask, why is AUPE not held to the same standards of behaviour as other unions?

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Why Are You Here?

Yes, I know, we've just written a post about this, but it remains the question that is asked the most often, and it makes even less sense now than just a week ago.

AUPE, why are you here?

What's of great benefit for Artspace members is that our volunteer boards - whether it's the co-op board or the SAIL board - are very open and transparent.  For those members that take the time to ask questions, they answer them.  And why wouldn't they?  After all, they are all volunteer members of our community, elected by their fellow co-op members; their friends and neighbours.

Among the complaints and accusations AUPE has made against the SAIL board is that the finances had not been audited in years, therefore there was no accountability of taxpayer dollars funding SAIL, and very publicly making all sorts of wild accusations of fraud and dishonesty, implicating our entire community - and even visiting family members - in the process.

The only accurate claim they made was that there had not been any audits in years.  The SAIL board gave AUPE their financials, in what we now recognise was a rather naive belief that AUPE would see the numbers and recognise that there was no way SAIL could afford their demands.  We're used to dealing with people who are open and honest in their dealings; not an organisation that would accuse them of having hidden sets of books, or insinuating that financial documents were shredded, burned, etc., then yell out twisted versions of the financial information, shared in the confidence of negotiations, on the street.

Of course, they did so knowing that an audit was started and without waiting for its conclusion.

So what would happen if the audit confirmed SAIL's financials, and that they could not meet the demands made by AUPE?  One member was told by Desiree Schell that, if the audit showed SAIL could not afford the demands, then that would be it.  The strike would be over, because there would be no reason for them to be here.

Well, the audit was completed, and it confirmed SAIL's position.  There is no secret, hidden or missing money.  SAIL's funding is what it is, and they can't afford AUPE's demands.

SAIL sent that audit to AUPE.

A while ago.

Yet not only are they still here, but AUPE is still trying to make complaints against SAIL.  They're still trying to continue with the now even more frivolous "bad faith" complaint against SAIL.

They're still coming out here in the wee hours of the morning, waking people up with their shouting, then coming back in the afternoons and, when they're not picking and choosing who to abuse and accuse, doing this.

Except for the last couple of afternoons; they seem to be trying to hide from this security camera and moved over to the Eastern raised bed gardens.

As if that changes anything.

All of this for 15 employees, only a few of which are full time.

That's right.  Fifteen, not 29.  After the new contract with AHS, with reduced care hours being funded, half the staff were laid off, based on seniority.  So along with former SAIL staff that quit before the strike began showing up to take part in the siege of our community, we have former SAIL staff that got laid off 2 months ago.  The rest are AUPE imports.

There is nothing for AUPE to gain by being here.

Every day they show up here is another day of AUPE making itself look worse.

So why are they still here?

Monday, 27 October 2014

No sense

With all the stuff that's still been going on lately, many of us around here - and not just people who live here, but visitors, friends, family, etc. - are still asking one question.

Why are the picketers here?

At all.

It's not like they're accomplishing anything, other than give all unions a bad name.  As one person put it,

... all i know is that when we were on strike we were told the cops could arrest us for not continually walking, and for walking anywhere but on a designated area of the sidewalk outside the building we were picketing. this is ludicrous. ... and we complied because we didn't want to get in any trouble.

This, coming from someone who is a strong union supporter, and who loves their own union.

When it comes to what's happening here, there doesn't seem to be any "designated area" at all. They spend most their time in front of the West garden bed, but they'll also be in front of the driveways to the high rise parking (above and below ground), in the street, on the sidewalk across the street, in the curve of the street, where it turns to the side lane, and on the cul de sac at the back of the high rise, which is in front of people's private homes.  People who have no connection to Artspace, other than being geographically close.  They get to hear people shouting at the replacement workers in the wee hours of the morning, as well as have a bunch of people hanging out in front of their homes.

As for the folks outside, they don't even bother to walk around at all.  Usually, we have this - at least in the afternoons. 

It's not like the police are doing anything, as in this example, when an officer came for an unrelated manner.  

For some reason, AUPE isn't even being held to the same standards of behaviour as other unions, never mind basic human decency.

They're just sitting around, blocking the sidewalk.

If they're not sitting around, they're standing around.  They certainly don't walk continually.  And were would they be walking?  It's not like they're in front of the SAIL office to begin with. 

Let's take a look at the purpose of picketing

The purpose of picketing is to exert pressure on the employer by persuading other people not to do work for, or do business with, the employer. 

Well, the first problem with this is that they're not targeting the employer; they are targeting our home, the Artspace co-op.  With the SAIL model, most of this doesn't even apply.  The closest to meeting the above requirement is when they verbally abuse the replacement workers.  Yelling "garbage" and "scab" at the replacement workers isn't persuasion.  It's intimidation.

However, a picket line must be peaceful and cannot be used to forcibly prevent people from entering an employer's premises.

We can all see for ourselves how that's not been what's going on.  Especially since they've been blocking people from entering and exiting their homes.

Usually, striking or locked-out employees are only entitled to picket where they normally perform the work that's an integral and substantial part of the employer's operation and which is under the control and direction of the employer. 

Again, they're not picketing where they normally work.  People's private homes don't count, and the office is not where they are picketing.

Other operations of the employer may not normally be picketed. For example, if you operate your business at more than one location, your striking or locked-out employees are only permitted to picket the location for which their union is certified and at which they perform their work for you. They are prohibited from picketing your other locations if they do not normally perform work at those locations.

Once again, this doesn't apply.  SAIL has only one location; the office in unit 103.  It does not operate their business anywhere else.

As an exception to this general rule, picketing may also be conducted at other sites, with permission from the board, in circumstances where an employer attempts to have "struck work" performed these other sites. In other words, if you move work, normally performed by striking or locked-out employees, to another location in order to continue service or production during the strike/lockout, that location may be subject to picketing.

SAIL is not having "struck work" performed anywhere else; SAIL business is done in the SAIL office.  That the employees leave the office to enter people's private homes doesn't change anything; they are providing home care in the same way as other care workers who do home care, and those private homes are not part of the employer's work site.

Think of it this way; AHS funds home care all over the province.  Home care workers travel from home to home to provide this care.  Let's say that these home care workers decided to go on strike.  Who is the employer?  AHS (or, in the case of contract workers, the contracting company).  Not the people receiving care.  So the place to picket would be an AHS office, or the office of the contracting company.

With SAIL, there is only one employer location.  The SAIL office.

Similarly, striking or locked-out employees may be entitled to picket the place of business of an "ally" employer. 

SAIL does not have any "ally employer."  The closest to it would be AHS.

The board will declare another employer to be an ally of the struck employer in circumstances where the ally assists the employer in a lockout or in resisting a lawful strike. 

Does not apply.

Ally picketing is restricted to the site at which the ally performs work for the benefit of the employer who is directly involved.

Again, this does not apply, yet they are targeting our private homes.

Finally, where more than one employer carries on business at the same site (referred to as a "common site"), the board generally restricts picketing so that it affects only the employer involved in the labour dispute or the ally of that employer. 

Yet their actions are affecting an entire neighbourhood and community.

This restriction is relaxed, so that regulated picketing at a common site can occur and will affect third parties to some degree, in circumstances where the union has no other way of picketing at the workplace of the striking or locked-out employees.

AUPE could have picketed the SAIL office; they chose not to.

So here we have all these examples of how picketing is supposed to be done, none of which is actually happening.

Instead, they keep coming back, day after day, week after week, month after month.

For what?

There's just no point for them to be in front of Artspace at all.  We don't have any influence on the labour dispute.  Even the volunteer SAIL board members have no control over the funding, so they can't do anything, either.

They are accomplishing nothing out there.

They are in front of our private homes, so there is no persuading of people not to enter the place of business; even with the replacement workers, they're just harassing them.

There are no products of the employer to persuade people not to deal in or handle.

There is no one to convince not to do business with the employer.  The closest to is would be to ask the user members to refuse SAIL services, which doesn't work when the services involved are things like getting out of bed, eating or even personal hygiene.  As mentioned before, this isn't a coal mine or a factory, where production can be halted, or where people can go shop elsewhere.

So what are they accomplishing?

Well, there are a few things they are accomplishing.

They have alienated a lot of potential supporters.

They have given all AUPE members a bad name.

They are giving all unions a bad name.

AUPE probably cost the SAIL staff their jobs.  If SAIL were forced to accept AUPE's demands, which they can't afford, they'd go under, and the staff would lose their jobs.  If AUPE succeeds in bankrupting SAIL through frivolous litigation, again, the staff would lose their jobs.  There's no win here.  For anyone.

All of that doesn't count the damage they've done to people who live here, resulting in everything from increased in medication, to hospitalizations.

Every day they are out there, they make it worse.

For themselves.

It just makes no sense!