Saturday, 31 May 2014

AUPE bringing children to the picket line - incident report

I believe there is video of this incident, showing this child wearing a picketer's sign.  It will be posted when available.

May 31, 2014

At 5:30 p.m. the striking staff gathered at what we call the ‘pee patch’( I guess they don’t have that figured out )today. The striking staff were in their get ready for the replacement workers van. One of the strikers brought her son to the event and earlier had been encouraging him to chant along.

When this child was positioned on the edge of the parking lot, waiting for the security van, I believe this put the child in danger. They moved before I could get a video with the van and the child, so there are fine hairs to be split. He was playing with his bubbles, but could also hear the discussion about what to do when the van comes.

Please add this to my list of things I should not be seeing because of the striking staff. Using a child on a ‘strike’ ‘line.


Updated:  This video was taken on May 10, 2014.  A child walking the picket line can be seen at the 2:24 mark.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

AUPE Hate Speech

This was yelled out at our replacement workers, and printouts were handed out to our members.

Our replacement staff has been amazing.  They have been providing superior care to our user members - some have even commented that they didn't know care could be this good!  This in spite of the fact that they've been verbally abused for weeks, while being escorted in a security vehicle in and out of our property.  The vehicle gets blocked for inordinate lengths of time; I believe the longest has been for 2 1/2 hours, though an hour is not at all unusual - and the replacement workers are working 12 hour shifts, unlike the 8 hour shifts our striking staff had been working.  This has resulted in at least one user member not being able to go to work because no one was available to help her transfer out of bed. 

Early in the strike, one of the striking care staff was heard to yell at a replacement worker, that her mother should have put a bag over her head when she was born.

More recently, a striking care staff worker was heard shouting up to a balcony, threatening the care worker she saw (not a replacement care worker) with "I'm going to take you out!" 

On hearing our replacement workers being called "scabs" all the time, one of our members made this sign, which ended up being put up in the high rise main entrance, where the picketers could see it.

The AUPE "leader" at the time objected to it.  Why?

He said it was "disrespectful."

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Effects of the strike - intimidation

Here is an email from a member documentiong intimidation tactics used by one picketer in particular.

Private information removed. [added Oct. 8; note that date should read May, not March]

Subject: Documentation - March 27


Just another incident to report. As there weather is cooler, our baseball cap guy is back to wearing his red hat.

He positioned himself (as previously reported  I believe or that might have been in Kens speech) at the spot where people on DATS are dropped off.

I did not witness him harassing anyone but his presence (standing often with arms crossed) in this spot causes me great stress and I can feel the intimidation and not even be there!!

I know we are supposed to do the best with them anywhere, but I wanted again to share how this strike action is affecting my life.


Between 10:30 is and 11:00 today, March 27, 2014.

Again this is our home and our freedom to feel safe and have our day-to-day thing attended to are detrimental for our health and safety by the actions of the union workers picketing at our home.

For the documentation file. No further action needed.

From a Member's Rebuttal

These are portions of a statement submitted by a SAIL user.

... People living or visiting here were stopped to hear the issues while harmlessly heading to their cars, off to work, even simply crossing from Town Houses to High Rise.  Many began to feel hemmed in their own homes. ...

There seem to be few of our actual Staff in the Picket Line.  It is plumped up by AUPE Personnel and, I suppose, folks in the Union who get paid well to be there.  My concerns are the tactics used to carry out a Strike.

Our super Substitute Caregivers are Amiable and Brave.  They come daily despite hateful heckling and harassment by the Strikers.  NO ONE deserves to be told they are worse than worthless, worse than traitors, worse than scum. (Reference "Ode to Scab"...)  To be told to find a ditch and drown yourself, or to go hand yourself, is far worse than verbal abuse.  Surely a Business as large as AUPE has a broader and more upstanding vocabulary as well as modus operandi.


Yesterday (25/5/14) Artspace Housing Members and friends of SAIL staged a demonstration to emphasize the effects the loss of our Programs would have.  Some did not attend because AUPE had told the police they would have 100 Representative there - a daunting prospect - especially for the march from Alex Taylor School and around our Co-op.  ... The intimidation endured over the previous 24 hours had been unnecessary - AUPE and its paid Supporters did not show up.

Use Members are concerned that, should the Staff return, there will be repercussions - whether intended or accidental.  ...
The Co-op Members (both with and without disabilities) have lost their feeling of safety and peace in their own homes.  Health - emotional and or physical - is negatively affected by stress.  Even our pets, sensitive to our agitation, are affected.

Substitute Support Staff are subjected to daily verbal, and hence emotional, abuse that no one should ever have to endure.

AUPE is showing itself in ways possibly not imagined by the Populace let alone Province-wide.  ... Verbal, psychological and even physical abuse, as well as degradation of those who are willing to endure in order to carry out our care and keep us in our homes is past unconscionable.

The event referenced in this statement is the mock funeral held by Friends of SAIL.  Because AUPE phoned the police, claiming they were be there en masse (I had heard 100-150 picketers were supposed to show up), officers were on site, and the police were on alert for potential incidents.

That it turned out to be just another psychological abuse tactic means that AUPE's actions diverted resources away from where they could be needed, so Artspace.  This is an abuse of our police system.  Yet, there were no consequences.

Another thing this member pointed out is that user members will never be able to trust the striking staff to come into their homes and care for them again.

That relationship has been permanently damaged.

Photos Taken the Day of the Mock Funeral

Photos taken May 25th.

Monday, 26 May 2014

A user member's message

This use member touches on some important points. (submitted May 26)

I don't get a lot of service from SAIL, but the ones I get are important to my continued health and well being.  Finally, with the replacement staff, they are rubbing the cream into my feet the way it is needed and I actually get to bed without my feet cramping.  They are caring, considerate and have a real understanding how important foot care is to a diabetic.  A year ago, we fought the government to save not only the SAIL program, but the jobs of the workers, because we appreciated what their care means to our lives.

We now have to hear the rude, nasty and mean derogatory remarks from the picketers and the lies about how they are underpaid, etc.  They are some of the highest paid "home care aids" in the entire city!

We have you the sun, and now you want the moon and starts too, and we simply don't have it to give you.

How do you rebuild trust and respect after it is being so badly abused?  I am not sure I will ever feel safe having them in my home again after the comments, etc.

This member goes on to describe specifics of the type of "service" provided by some of our striking care workers, including one that created an unsafe situation that later caused the member to fall.

This touches on a point that many user members didn't even realise until the strike started and their care needs were being met by replacement workers.

Our Health Care Aids weren't very good at their jobs.

I, personally, do not use SAIL, so I can only go by what I have heard from user members, and what I'm being told is that they are now receiving a high level of care they have never experienced before.  Until now, they did not know the care provided by the striking staff was inferior.

They are now aware of a standard of care that the striking staff simply had not been able - or willing - to give.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Mock Funeral - Roxanne's Speech

This is just another reason why I love this community. So much creativity, passion and perseverance. Thank you for inviting me to speak at this mock funeral today.

Artspace is an amazing diverse community where we all live, work and play – together. Our oldest member here at Artspace is 90 years old and our youngest is 3 months old. We are all ages, colors, sexes, races and religions.

What is most incredible to me is that we are all able here at Artspace. Because of our on-site home care services called SAIL, we (people with disabilities) enjoy freedom and access to participate in our community like everyone else does.

The care we receive here allows us to be more active, productive and successful members of society and we are grateful. It is still very hard to live with a physical disability in our northern city and SAIL is the big equalizer for us.

For many of us, it is not that we are unable do to some of the tasks we ask our caregivers to do. It’s often a matter of energy conservation and efficiency. What might take me 45 minutes to do and drain my energy would take a more able person 2 minutes with no effect on how much they do that day.

We are grateful to the Alberta Government for seeing the value and uniqueness of SAIL and allowing us to continue operating after big, for profit companies were given most home care contracts in Alberta last summer.

But we are not out of the woods yet, we continue to negotiate with Alberta Health Services and as you all know we have a labour dispute outside our homes right now.

There two points I would like to make here today:

Our interactions and negotiations with Alberta Health Services have been respectful, open, and productive. They understand and appreciate our unique model of care here and are committed to preserving it. They also appreciate that we mostly a volunteer run organization and that we’re doing our best to make some needed changes in order to keep our contract with them.

Our interactions and negotiations with Alberta Union of Provincial Employees have been insincere, disrespectful and quite frankly outrageous. They have not tried to understand our model of care or appreciate our active, productive community. What information we have shared with them has been used to intimidate us rather that used to work with us.

We are open and willing to work with professional, respectful people and will continue to pursue those opportunities.

Thank you to everyone for your love and support.

Mock Funeral - Sheila's Speech

Smooth “SAIL”ing....NOT!

My name is Sheila _____.  Before moving to the Artspace Co-op in 1998, I lived by myself without help.  This was not always easy.  Every now and again I would find myself needing assistance for something I hadn’t planned for.  Sometimes the need was as simple as cleaning up a spill.  Sometimes it was of a more personal and sensitive nature.  So, what did I do?

I called on neighbours to help. This could be both humbling and embarrassing.  And while many of my neighbours did help, it was not an ideal situation.  Neighbours are not always home when you need them.  Nor do they have training, experience or confidence to tackle some of the sensitivity of my needs.

When I moved to Artspace, I was delighted to learn about SAIL (Support for Artspace Independent Living). It is a small homecare service with staff on site 24/7 and it has been successfully running for about 24 years.  I was assessed and assigned approximately 3 hours a week for homemaking and laundry.  But the best part was learning about the On-call service.

Now if I had an emergency, or just needed help carrying groceries, all I had to do was pick up the phone and ask for help.  I had the freedom to be a neighbour just for the sake of being a neighbour!

 And I am in charge!  Unlike others who live in extended care facilities or similar places, I have a say as to when I receive my care.  Yes, it is on a schedule, but I can request time changes if I need to.  And it is my responsibility to guide the staff as to how best to meet my needs.  I am as free to live my life as fully and as independently as any other member of society.

 Now I am fearful of losing this independence and freedom.  If for any reason we lose our consumer-driven self-directed care, this is exactly what will happen. Not just for me, but for all of my friends here who live here and need and use this service.

 It has been disheartening to see our workers standing in a picket line with a bunch of strangers singing, chanting and name-calling.  I have such disdain toward them that they would stoop to the level of a bully.  I am awakened every morning around 6 am due their noisy nonsense and my stomach gets tied up in knots every time I leave or enter my own home! I don’t think I will ever feel comfortable enough to allow them back into my home.

 Don’t think this is just my story.  It is yours, too.  Think about it.  When you are older and become infirmed, or God forbid, you become paralyzed from a car accident on your way home today, would you be happy to hand over the control of your life to a service that will make all your decisions for you? Or would you rather stay in control and be your own boss for as long as possible?

I believe there is more at stake here than just a labour dispute. The issues run deeper than money.  Our freedom to live independently is being threatened!

Thank you for your time.

Sheila ____

Mock Funeral - Ken's Speech

March 25, 2014



Glad to see you all here today.

My name is Phil Haug and I am the brother in law of Ken Thomas. Ken has typed out his speech and asked me to read it for him.

I am Ken Thomas and I have been living at Artspace for 24 years. In 1990, we had to fight to get homecare in Artspace and we are fighting again to keep our consumer controlled home care program now. It seems like I and my friends have to be constantly vigilant so the things we have fought for over the years don’t get taken away from us. I am glad you have shown up today because it shows we have allies who are willing to support us, and listen to us and help us try and win the battle we are in nor .

I feel that every time AUPE brass spokesmen open their mouths they are trying to speak FOR US. So just to be clear, I want to say:

• I am not missing the staff who have been on the pick line who have been screaming and calling us and the replacement workers and other members horrible names

• the replacement workers, are qualified, are taking good care of us

• our SAIL BOARD is doing a good job of managing the SAIL program.

I want to tell you what it has been like living at Artspace over the past two weeks, during the strike. 180 people live here. This is a private residence. The police say this is the most unusual situation they have ever seen, where private residences are the target of a strike.We have to face the picketers each time we come and go from our homes. One of the AUPE organizers sometimes places his chair directly in front of the entrance of our building, staring at people as they come and go. On some occasions the AUPE picketers yell, scream, and use fowl and degrading language. They direct their anger at me and other users of SAIL, at other members of Artspace, at our security guards, and at the replacement workers. Boy, you should hear them. But you probably won’t because every time the media comes around they are quiet.

On Wednesday and Thursday those on the picket line detained the replacement workers for one hour. These replacement workers aren’t going to work to turn widgets or work in the mines or build things. The replacement workers are here to provide essential services.

One of my friends was not able to get out of bed and get to work on time because AUPE detained her replacement worker for one hour. This might be against the law. I think the Co-op has made reports to the police and to our lawyers.

On Friday one of the picketers read hate literature, out loud, to anyone who was on the street, and to our replacement workers.

Here is an excerpt from the horrible poem they were reading. It is called “ODE TO A SCAB”. For those who don’t know, a scab is what the AUPE calls a replacement worker.

Anyway, here is a bit from the poem:

When a scab comes down the street, men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven
And the devil shuts the gates of hell to keep him out.
No man has a right to scab as long as there is a pool of water
deep enough to drown his body in, or a rope long enough to hang his carcass with.”

The AUPE is inflicting psychological torture on us and on our replacement workers. They arealso detaining us from entering leaving our own property. WE ARE CALLING ON YOU TO DEMAND THAT AUPE STOP THIS BULLY ABUSE!


Saturday, 24 May 2014

Patronizing and Bullying - a letter to the editor

Here is a letter from a non-Artspace member that expresses our feelings quite well.

Patronizing and bullying
Edmonton JournalPublished: Friday, May 23
Re: "Dispute rages at housing co-operative," May 21
Under ordinary circumstances, the notion of a "patronizing bully" would be considered an oxymoron. But then the bitter labour dispute that's been playing out between striking health-care aides represented by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees and their employer, Supports for Artspace Independent Living, a userrun, not-for-profit homecare provider for people with disabilities who live in Artspace Co-op, can by no means be considered ordinary circumstances. 
AUPE is insinuating that SAIL is being reckless with its hapless clients' money, when that money actually comes from Alberta Health Services. Why is the union picking on SAIL while letting the colossus that is AHS off scot-free? 
As a person with disabilities who also requires home-care services, I am utterly appalled at AUPE's consistently patronizing portrayal of people with disabilities as pathetic pawns. AUPE is really going after the people with disabilities who both run and receive home care through SAIL, thus jeopardizing their continued independence.
A patronizing bully is still a bully.
Heidi Janz

Friday, 23 May 2014

Letters to the Editor - Edmonton Journal (May 23)

A letter to the Edmonton Journal from one of our members.

Patronizing and bullying

Edmonton JournalPublished: Friday, May 23

Re: "Dispute rages at housing co-operative," May 21 Under ordinary circumstances, the notion of a "patronizing bully" would be considered an oxymoron. But then the bitter labour dispute that's been playing out between striking health-care aides represented by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees and their employer,

Supports for Artspace Independent Living, a userrun, not-for-profit homecare provider for people with disabilities who live in Artspace Co-op, can by no means be considered ordinary circumstances.

AUPE is insinuating that SAIL is being reckless with its hapless clients' money, when that money actually comes from Alberta Health Services. Why is the union picking on SAIL while letting the colossus that is AHS off scot-free?
As a person with disabilities who also requires home-care services, I am utterly appalled at AUPE's consistently patronizing portrayal of people with disabilities as pathetic pawns. AUPE is really going after the people with disabilities who both run and receive home care through SAIL, thus jeopardizing their continued independence.

A patronizing bully is still a bully.

Letter to the Minister of Health

As picketers behaviour continued to disrupte the lives of everyone living in Artspace, attempts were made to reach out to politicians.  This letter was written by the president of the board responsible for SAIL, which is made up of volunteer members of Artspace.

Honourable Fred Horne
Minister of Health
208 Legislature Building
10800 - 97 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6

Dear Honourable Horne:

In October 2013 you wrote (AR 112050) to one of the three housing cooperatives and passed on your good wishes for continued success in providing quality care to Albertans. We were all tremendously appreciative of your support in ensuring these housing cooperatives could continue to have contracts with Alberta Health Services to deliver their unique, on-site consumer-directed home care models.

Artspace Housing Cooperative’s on-site home care corporation, Supports for Artspace Independent Living Inc. (SAIL) is requesting your support once again. SAIL employees began the process of unionization with AUPE over a year ago and a first collective agreement has still not been reached. On May 7 the employees went out on strike. AUPE has been provided with a copy of the new contract SAIL signed with Alberta Health Services commencing April 1, 2014. AUPE is fully aware that there isn’t sufficient funding available to meet their demands.

SAIL has a strong strike contingency plan and has replacement staffing in place delivering excellent care to the housing cooperative’s users of SAIL services. The service users tell us that they are highly satisfied with the care and it has exceeded the quality of the care previously provided. There have been no incidents and safe care has been delivered since the onset of the strike.

The threat to safety in service delivery for SAIL is AUPE and its tactics. As you know, AUPE is a giant organization with incredible resources. SAIL is a tiny non-profit organization run by a volunteer Board of Directors. AUPE has chosen to advance its agenda of unionizing the Home Care community service delivery sector by using SAIL as a means to an end. Issues for SAIL services include:
• AUPE organized picketers (including only a small number of our SAIL employees) are delaying the transport vehicles carrying replacement workers by as long as 1 hour causing intentional disruption to the services.
• AUPE organized picketers have formed their picket line in front of the Artspace Housing Cooperative which is the private home of the 30 SAIL service users, and 58 other families in the Artspace Housing Cooperative who having nothing to do with SAIL. Children going to school, people going to work as well as going in and out of the building with normal activities of daily living are being heckled and traumatized by the picketers who gather at 05:30 in the morning and do not leave until the late evening.
• AUPE picketers are intentionally making derogatory and morally repugnant remarks about the SAIL service users who can clearly hear the remarks from the windows of their homes. The service users now feel that they will never be in a position of being able to accept care from the striking employees again.

• On Thursday, May 15 AUPE gave 19 hours notice that the SAIL employees would return to work on Friday, May 16 at 07:00. There was no employee schedule in place to know what shifts would be covered for the long weekend and therefore SAIL had no choice but to refuse to permit the employees to return to work. AUPE intentionally created a completely unsafe and untenable situation which SAIL was forced to rectify by choosing to pay the SAIL employees not to return to work.

SAIL has learned from this experience that there isn’t legislation in the Alberta Labour Code that protects the unconscionable violation of the privacy, liberty and security of the most vulnerable people from being subjected to this type of treatment in their own homes. This is truly a unique and extraordinary circumstance. We request your support in asserting our rights as outlined in the general principles (Article 3) of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; ensuring that the safety and well-being of the 30 SAIL service users is preserved. We would be pleased to meet with you and look forward to your support once again.


Roxanne Ulanicki
President, SAIL Inc.
(780) 421-4552

cc: Premier Dave Hancock
Brian Mason, MLA for Edmonton Highlands-Norwood
Scott McKean, City Councillor for Ward 6

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Effects of the strike - blocking our freedom

A member shared these emails to post; personal information removed for privacy.  These are examples of how the picketers in front of people's homes is forcing them to change their activities, including the simple act of going outside to enjoy the nice weather!

Subject: Picketers blocking sidewalk

Hi M___!

Now that it’s nice outside, I'd like to go for a spin around the block in my chair. But as you know, the stupid SAIL picketers are blocking the sidewalk in front of ArtSpace, making it difficult for the members to pass. I’m tempted to say something to the picketers about this, but who knows what they may say or do.

This is very disturbing, as you know. What would you suggest?

What a bunch of idiots - and that’s putting it nicely.

Have a great day!

Subject: RE: Picketers blocking sidewalk

Hey, J___,

Thanks s for the e-mail – yes, I feel the same way. I would like to start to walk again, but feel there would be no health benefit of the stress from coming and going in my own home.

I don’t have any great answers. They seem to be away from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00ish, but not always.  As good union employees they need their 4 hour lunch. They usually are gone by 6:00 .  They usually announce their departure from the area with a ‘go union’ slogan of some sort.

We have been advised by the police not to engage them – they are professional picketers and bullies.  They have been trained to say the worst things imaginable. And I strong suggest you write an email or letter and send it to ____ or ____.

The documents are stacking up on the inappropriate behaviour on THEIR side.

Keep writing – everyday you feel you can’t get out because the sidewalk is blocked, send another email.

I am going to take my own advice and do that now.

Try to find some humour – calling them idiots yesterday, made my day.

Thank you.

Letter to the Edmonton Journal

A letter to the editor, published in the Edmonton Journal, by one of our more famous members.

A thing to keep in mind when reading this is that he typed it with his nose.

Strike akin to personal attack

Ken Thomas, Edmonton Journal Published: Thursday, May 22

Re: "Dispute rages at housing co-operative," May 21

The noisy AUPE strike is a personal attack against me and the other 188 able-bodied and disabled individuals who live in private residences at Artspace Housing Cooperative.

Of the 88 apartment suites/condos at Artspace, 29 are wheelchair-accessible. For 23 years, I have been living in one of the accessible units because I have cerebral palsy.

In 1991, a group of us with physical disabilities pooled our resources so we could receive home care from a small, non-profit, on-site service called SAIL (Supports for Artspace Independent Living Inc.).

On May 7, the newly unionized SAIL health-care aides went on strike with AUPE demanding an increase in benefits and a 15.6-per-cent wage hike. SAIL's funding has not been finalized, so how can AUPE expect the employer to commit to a specific wage? The picketers are chanting, yelling and detaining Artspace members and replacement workers as they come and go, and I have videotape to prove it. Shame on AUPE.

AUPE actually took the time to send a response letter to the editor, portraying Ken as agressive and attacking them.  The incident they descibe involved Ken coming to the rescue of the replacement workers as they and the vehicle they were in were being mobbed by the picketers again.

Causing pain - an incident report, and resulting letters to the editor

And incident report/impact statement from a member.

May 16, 2014
This morning, I drove my daughter to work, leaving just before 6am, and there was hardly anyone around.  When I got back, strikers were gathered by their rented van, where the good stairs are, so I took the wonky stairs to avoid them, but that was it.

My husband, thinking they would not be out in full force based on the "newsletter" in our Artspace mailbox, asked me to drive him to work.  When we got outside, the strikers were at the parking lot driveway again.  Today was another cane day for him and he was visibly having trouble moving.  Just to make sure there was no doubt, I hung up P____'s temporary disabled parking placard.

Note:  Before the strike started, AUPE began leaving propaganda in our mailboxes (each unit has its own mailbox for internal messages, etc., not for Canada Post mail).  The "newsletter" references above was somehow left in all our mailboxes, even though AUPE members were not allowed to go onto private property.  We are still not sure if they found someone in Artspace to deliver these for them, or if someone from AUPE trespassed to deliver them.  Either way, this is not something they are supposed to be able to do.

After I got out of our parking spot, they all stood in the entry, blocking us.  Most simply stood with their backs to us.  There was one person who was moving around in front of them and could see behind me, pointing out the red SUV at one point.  In my rear view mirror, I could see the red SUV moving around and was then gone.  I am guessing the driver didn't bother coming over, since we were being blocked.

After giving them 4 minutes, P___ got out of the van and walked to the bus stop.  I went back into my parking spot.  The strikers watched P___ leave, but didn't move around much.
As I finished parking, the red SUV came over and was blocked, so it was right behind our van.  As we had been keeping track of the time ourselves, I know it was about 7:25am.
About 10-15 minutes later, I went to look out our 2nd floor window and saw the SUV was still being blocked.  I could also see some of our members being interviewed by the media in front of the main doors.  After 20 minutes, Ken T and someone who's name I don't know (also in a wheelchair) came over and cleared the driveway of strikers for the SUV to finally pass.  Who knows how much longer the vehicle would have been kept there, had they not taken action.
About the only positive thing I can point out is that they were finally quiet.  They were no longer shouting insults at the SUV nor trying to engage us when we don't want them to.  I am still quite angry that my husband is having to deal with more pain and discomfort because they are blocking me from taking him to work.  

Note: the media's presence meant, of course, that the picketers were "behaving" for the cameras.  After this incident, a letter to the editor from Ken was published in the Edmonton Journal.

Strike akin to personal attack
Re: “Dispute rages at housing co-operative,” May 21
The noisy AUPE strike is a personal attack against me and the other 188 able-bodied and disabled individuals who live in private residences at Artspace Housing Co-operative.
Of the 88 apartment suites/condos at Artspace, 29 are wheelchair-accessible. For 23 years, I have been living in one of the accessible units because I have cerebral palsy.
In 1991, a group of us with physical disabilities pooled our resources so we could receive home care from a small, non-profit, on-site service called SAIL (Supports for Artspace Independent Living Inc.).
On May 7, the newly unionized SAIL health-care aides went on strike with AUPE demanding an increase in benefits and a 15.6-per-cent wage hike. SAIL’s funding has not been finalized, so how can AUPE expect the employer to commit to a specific wage? The picketers are chanting, yelling and detaining Artspace members and replacement workers as they come and go, and I have videotape to prove it. Shame on AUPE.
Ken Thomas, Edmonton

In response, AUPE sent a letter to the editor, where they strove to besmirch Ken's reputation.

Re: “Strike akin to personal attack,” Letters, Ken Thomas, May 22
It is unfortunate that Ken Thomas suggests health-care aides are personally attacking him and other Artspace Co-op residents. The employees are doing nothing more than exercising their legal right to picket their employer, Supports for Artspace Independent Living (SAIL), which locked them out over a wage dispute.
On several occasions, Mr. Thomas has been confrontational, pushing SAIL staff away from the entrance to Artspace or intervening when they exercise their right to speak with media. We have photos and video of that, too.
But those personal altercations confuse the real issues: SAIL’s health-care aides are currently paid a top rate of $19.50 an hour, no matter how long they have been employed. Many have gone years without a wage increase of any kind and they receive no sick leave provisions.
We understand that Alberta Health Services has assessed SAIL’s clients and reduced the total number of care hours allotted. It appears the staff we represent, and the residents they provide care for, have been drawn into what is essentially a funding dispute between SAIL and AHS.
Residents ought to ask hard questions of the SAIL board and AHS.
Mark Wells, AUPE spokesperson

Mr. Wells doesn't try to argue against Ken's claims to personal attacks; he defends them as "nothing more than exercising their legal right to picket their employer..." while ignoring the fact that they are picketing our homes, not SAIL.  He then dismisses these "personal altercations", and tries to deflect responsibility for their abusive behavior by trying to put the blame on the SAIL board and AHS.  He also admits it's about funding and, since SAIL has no control over the funding, their battle is actually with AHS, not SAIL or Artspace.

The bigger issue at hand, Mr. Wells, is AUPE picketer behavior at Artspace, not SAIL or AHS.

I would like to also point out something rather remarkable.

Look at the dates of the above letters.

Ken's letter was published on May 21.  I don't know when he sent it in, but I do know it can take more than a week before the Journal has finally published letters sent to them about this strike.

AUPE's response, however, was posted the next day.

Think about that a moment.

AUPE noted Ken's letter on the 21st, wrote a response, sent it in to the Journal, and the Journal published it, all before press time for the 22nd.

Which goes a long way to show just where the Edmonton Journal's sympathies lie.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Media coverage - Some residents scared of returning AUPE workers

Some of the media coverage for the strike.  The lack of coverage - and how little our side of the story gets told, while AUPE is given the opportunity to control the narrative - has been frustrating for Artspace members.

Some residents scared of returning AUPE workers
Trevor Robb
Tuesday, May 20, 2014, 4:02 PM
A sign outside the Artspace Housing Co-operative Ltd., 9330 - 101A Ave., in Edmonton Alta., on Friday May 16, 2014. The coop was the scene of a recent strike by AUPE care aides. When the strike was ended residents of the coop locked out the care aides. David Bloom/Edmonton Sun
While union home-care workers are trying to get back to work at a downtown affordable housing co-op, some of their disabled clients would rather they didn't.
Ken Thomas and Elizabeth Foreman are both residents at the Support for Artspace Independent Living (SAIL) Housing Cooperative at 93rd Street and 101A Avenue.
Both live with cerebral palsy and are apprehensive about welcoming picketing Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) health care aides back into their homes.
"Some of the members are scared of what is going to happen when they do return to work," said Thomas. "There are a lot of hard feelings right now between the staff and most of the members who live here because of the way the staff and their AUPE supporters have been behaving on the picket line since the strike started."

Read the rest here.

Monday, 19 May 2014

An Open Letter from a Member

One of our members wrote this open letter dated May 19, 2014.

Dear All Who Should Care,

Artspace Housing Cooperative Ltd. (Artspace) has 88-units of which 29 are designated barrier-free and all the Residents of Artspace, in particular, the Residents with disabilities, have been subjected to legalised bullying these past 10 days... and it continues.  A strike is legalised bullying: the bully is actually seeking power over the person being bullied.  There is no physical bullying but there was plenty of verbal bullying: words used to hurt or humiliate another person that included plenty of name-calling, insults, racist comments and constant harassment because this type of bullying was the easiest to inflict upon the residents - including children and people who use wheelchairs - because it was quick ot deliver, to the point and of course, untrue.

You may or may not have heard that our tiny community was infected by a strike from the 30 Supports for Artspace Independent Living (SAIL) employees who provide supportive care to 30 residents.  The very same employees who are supposedly compassionate enough to assist people with disabilities and senior lead a satisfactory (or better) quality of life have chosen to betray our trust for more money.  These employees are the highest paid for the type of work they do and the level of education (4 months of instructions) required to become a certified Health Care Aide (HCA).  They also want benefits but when benefits were introduced a few years ago, the benefits were rejected because it was too expensive.

The bullying is condoned by the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) when they ruled in favour of the Union this past Friday by forcing the residents at Artspcae to allow the workers back to their jobs.  The ALRB has set precedent that allows unions to bully you a home and then expects us to acquiesce and allow the workers to return to our homes and continue working like nothing happened?!  The Residents with disabilities and others are already vulnerable and we're expected to forgive the bullying and welcome them back with open arms?  It's like welcoming a child molester or gang into your neighbourhood!

The striking workers say they want to return to work because they're concerned that the residents are not receiving adequate care from the replacement workers we brought in to ensure our quality of life was maintained.  If they really cared, they would not have walked to prove that we need them.  In fact, the only thing their walking did was prove to us that we could continue with satisfactory or better care from other workers with the same employment qualifications as they provided.  These SAIL employees are not so valuable or skilled that they cannot be replaced.  Such arrogance should not be rewarded!

I DO NOT want the SAIL employees in my home.  I would feel uncomfortable and unsafe with them having access to my home or in my home after my trust had been violated.  I know you would feel the same!

I am still shocked that such heinous behaviour is encouraged and applauded in our enlightened society!

Hopeful you will hear,

[name withheld for privacy and safety concerns]

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Letter to Edmonton Sun reporter.

The following is a letter written by a member to Allison Salz of the Edmonton Sun, in response to her article, Union cries foul over Edmonton care facility lockout.  The article was posted, then updated, on May 17, however the blatant errors have never been corrected - the most blatant of which is right in the headline.  Artspace is not a care facility.  Nor is it, as described in the first sentence, an "assisted living facility."  The entire article is just another example of bad journalism.

The Artspace member who wrote this, like most members, is not a SAIL user, has nothing to do with SAIL, and is just another person who calls Artspace "home."

Re: Article "Union Cries Foul..."
Thank you for covering the issue we are facing as Members of Artspace Housing Co-op in the Edmonton Sun.  I would like to clarify some FACTS which seem to get glossed over.
Artspace Housing Co-op is a private residence.  We are not a facility, long-term care, nursing home or assisted living facility.
Artspace is a co-op with a diverse population of members whose primary goal is to provide affordable housing to people who can live independently.  Some people with physical disabilities or chronic health concerns are able to live independently within the boundaries of the care from a member-driven program where staff are hired to attend to home care needs.  The majority of our members are high-functioning, intelligent and active, not only in our co-op but also in the community (working, volunteering, sitting on boards, enjoying Edmonton's festivals, and so much more).  The union picketer OUR HOME, not allowing members to leave the property or return home without harassment.  (Look that one up - the first time a union pickets a private resident, probably in 100 years history - and that fact is missed.)
In our home, we have a diversity of people including children.  There were reports of union members approaching children and trying to get them (minors) to sign a petition.

[Note: This has been confirmed by the father of a 5 yr old that was approached by a picketer to sign a petition!]
We have been bullied by yelling, rumors spread, detaining/delaying anyone from entering or leaving their private residence, laughing at, teasing in a mean way, swearing, threatening and taunting with such vigor it appears they do intend/or have intended to do harm.
"Bullying is not about anger, or even about conflict.  It's about contempt - a powerful feeling of dislike toward someone considered to be worthless, inferior or undeserving of respect."  I have this quote on file but do not have a source to give you, but I think it captures what we are facing. I have noticed that the staff who are striking have "a sense of entitlement - the right to control, dominated, subjugate and abuse another human being."  In the quotes from the staff that are being printed in the media the staff talk about "their clients" as if they won them.  They also seem to not understand that there are consequences to actions.  A peaceful strike would have been a better choice (and would be following the law).  The extreme negative behaviour during the strike will have consequences.  Just like any other member of society who demonstrated incomprehensible and hurtful behaviours.
The union brought in their striking pros and the devastation in our community is apparent with feeling the verbal and emotional terrorism.  When you hear a staff members say to one of the replacement workers that "your mama should have put a bag over your head when you were born," it is extremely difficult to trust that person to come back into your home, let alone provide personal care.
The unions tactic to not have to picket over the long-weekend was a strategy for them to not pay and schedule their pros over the long weekend.  It had nothing to do with the care of people in our Co-op.  Members needing home care services are getting along just fine.  What wasn't said, was if the staff found the working conditions to be the same, they would return to the picket line after the long-weekend (and after getting paid).
The union and even the staff have NO understanding how independent living people who have control over their lives also have control over who enters their home.  A return to work strategy is required so the members can say who they will allow to help them with the care then need.  The staff do not make that decision - members do.
As citizens we are now so tuned in to teach our kids about bullying.  And the devastating effects.  Well, those kids who bullied in the playground grew up and work for AUPE.  We are bullied and have no 'authority' to go to in an effort to stop the abuse.  It is surreal the union tactics.  And the Labour Board supported the union.  What other authority do we turn to?
Members should have the right to peaceful enjoyment of their home.
Please note: I am not responding to the article on behalf of the Co-op nor of SAIL.  I am a member.  What is said is my opinion not that of any other individual or group.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Impact Statement

Here is an impact statement submitted May 16.  Ken has written extensively about the strike, which you can read here.  Do visit his page at and take the time to appreciate the calibre of people AUPE has chosen to target in their strike action, and the effort made to write this all down.

the yelling and screeming annoys me a lot
having residents/members who live here and have nothing to do with sail  having then detained by the picketors from coming onto leave our own private property really infuriates me
I am having trouble sleeping at night wearing about what will proably happen to our consumer controlled SUPPORTS FOR INDEPENDENT COMPANY IF THE DISPUTE IS NOT SETTLED SOON.  WE CANNOT AFFORD THE SALARIES THE UNION IS DEMANDING

Member concerns

This was submitted May 16, 2014.

Subject: Returning Workers
Hi [name]
I feel like we are being used as pawns in this chess game.  I read AUPE's release and if the workers have indeed volunteered to return, I don't believe their reasons.  We are getting better care from the replacement staff.
I'm concerned that if they return without a contract or without a union they may decide to walk out again.  They should not be allowed to be in such a manipulative position.

Update: the union's sudden decision to have the care staff return to work, notifying us on the evening before a long weekend, was indeed manipulative posturing.  By doing it the way they did, it did not give SAIL time to arrange a transition with replacement workers but, also, many user members had become fearful of the care workers after seeing and hearing them on the picket line.  They did not want to have these people back in their homes.

SAIL responded to member concerns for their safety by refusing to allow the care staff in, resulting in what AUPE portrayed as an "illegal lockout."  As another member put it:

• On Thursday, May 15 AUPE gave 19 hours notice that the SAIL employees would return to work on Friday, May 16 at 07:00. There was no employee schedule in place to know what shifts would be covered for the long weekend and therefore SAIL had no choice but to refuse to permit the employees to return to work. AUPE intentionally created a completely unsafe and untenable situation which SAIL was forced to rectify by choosing to pay the SAIL employees not to return to work.
The end result is that, since then, the strikers have been under formal lockout.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Incident report - flag planting

This is from a hand-written incident report submitted May 15, 2014

May 14, 2014
One male was carrying the AUPE flag around.  After the president and other invited guests [indecipherable] he tried to jam the flag into a spot between two beams [...] of the raised garden bed (property damage).  A few minutes later he stuck the flag into the garden bed.  I observed this from my balcony.  I did call down and asked twice to remove the flag from our garden plot.  I felt it was like they were claiming our property by 'planting their flag'.  That, or he was just really lazy.

Media coverage - Picketers not going anywhere

This article is a little more unique, in that they actually gave more details and allowed more say from our members.

Picketers not going anywhere
Union dispute at Artspace Housing Co-op is holding its ground
“The union is outside picketing, shouting and saying all sorts of derogatory things about our organization—things which make all of our residents feel uncomfortable and, for some, unsafe. These are not the sort of tactics we would want to see from anyone calling themselves our allies,” Ulanicki says.

In the meantime, the residents are feeling like hostages. Young says there’s a girl down the hall who is afraid to go to school because of all the swearing and the presence of video cameras everywhere. He describes being woken up by picketers shouting at six o’clock every morning and worries about the disruption the community will face in coming days if the strike continues.

“There were two little girls who used to come and visit my dog every day,” Young says, explaining they’ve been scared off by the picket line. For him, the foul language and shouting on the picket line is reminiscent of a lifetime of bullying—something a lot of people with disabilities endure. “I’ve been bullied all my life,” he says. “I don’t like bullies.”

What is extra frustrating is reading things like this.

AUPE vice president Karen Weiers was found on the picket line. “We want conversation not confrontation,” she says about the possibility of changing tactics. “Our members want nothing more than to get back to work.”

 The picketers have been confrontational from the beginning, the only conversation they want is what they can control, and AUPE itself has been adversarial and dishonest in all their dealings with us since the beginning (see tabs above for more details).

As for the claim that their members (I assume they mean the striking care staff, who have been a minority on the picket line) want nothing more than go go back to work, to our user members, that has become the equivalent of a threat; after seeing their behaviour and hearing the things they've been shouting about them on the streets, they can no longer feel safe allowing them into their homes to provide care.

Noise disturbance and potential weaponry

This is from a hand-written incident report.

May 15/2014 [early morning]
Again awakened by their noise.
6:30am  use walking stick to create annoying sound
- one of the men/ballcap, shorts
- note: he is one of the most hostile protesters and now he is carrying a weapon. He does not need it for walking assistance has he stands in place & taps his stick.

The use of noise as a weapon has been a union tactic from the beginning, but the presence of sticks on the picket line is also of concern.  Along with this incident, another picketer is seen on video with a walking stick.  These are potential weapons, and contribute to the intimidation of Artspace members.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

AUPE retaliation and threats

A video of this incident will be made available as soon as possible.
Update: Video added below.

This morning (May 14, 2013), I went to drive my daughter to work.  One group of strikers moved in to block the driveway as soon as they saw me getting into my van. After I'd backed out of my spot and sat waiting, a woman saw my phone. Talking to no one in particular, she said, "Oh, they're still videoing us, if only they'd stop, they might get through."  This is the same woman who had made a similar comment before.
They were generally quiet and mostly ignored me, except for one guy who stood nearer my door and started talking at me.  At one point, my daughter heard (I did not) one of the strikers saying that our members who need care would "miss us when they're sick and dying." The way it was said, my daughter felt it was an actual threat aimed at our disadvantaged members.

In the end, they only let us through because another vehicle came up behind us, once again making it clear that I have been singled out for extra "treatment."
Another group had moved to the end of the block, by the Hecla building, waving and chanting at rush hour traffic.

The second incident happened as I left to pick up my husband from work (I was able to drive him in to the office after the picketers left).  As I was leaving my parking spot, the few people who were by the driveway called everyone else over.  Once again, the woman commented that they would let me through, if only I weren't recording.  The one gentleman who seems to be in charge began talking at me, calling on SAIL staff to comment (today is the first time I've seen more SAIL staff than outside people).  He did state that they knew I was a resident and moved between trying to gain sympathy for their cause and blaming SAIL for the strike.  He brought up that the SAIL staff were all ladies, as if their gender were an issue.  They also said they could be here as long as 244 days and made a number of comments blaming SAIL for the strike. As he spoke, it was mentioned that they wanted more than $28 an hour (I believe it was $28.80), but that they weren't trying to bankrupt SAIL. ( admit to being totally shocked on hearing that amount; there is no way we can afford that!)  He then called attention to the security staff and there being 5 on at once, asking SAIL staff if they ever had as many as 5 people on at once.  When they all said yes, and it was stated that they had 5 staff during the day and 4 at night, he switched to saying there were 8 security on at once, then commented that they weren't even there for me, saying, "and they left you", "Is security helping you?" and "they care about the SUV but they don't really care about you."  To me, it seemed that he was implying that I needed security to protect me from them, but that they (security) would not be there for me.  As he made these comments, two security staff came closer to the rear of my vehicle and I called one over, letting him know that I felt threatened by these comments.

As I spoke to the security guard, one of the picketers moved closer to listen to what I was saying. I did not speak loudly, but I did not try to hide what I was saying, either, so they likely heard me saying that I felt that they were threatening me.  At that point, everyone magically moved away from the front of my vehicle, without anyone saying anything about clearing the way.  As I drove away, the one woman called out to me, "have a good day.  If you shut your video off, we might let you though."

The repeated insistence that I shut off my video is something I also consider somewhat threatening.  Aside from the obvious coercion, blame-casting and intimidation in that statement, it makes me feel that the only thing keeping them from behaving in a more volatile manner is the fact that I am recording them. 

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Effects on our lives - incident and impact report

Two things to clarify in regards to comments made in this report:
The red vehicle is a security vehicle escorting replacement workers in and out for their shifts.
The mail is not being delivered because union members are not required to cross picket lines, even if they are part of a different union and have nothing to do with the strike.  This means that the mail has been delivered everywhere on our street *except* Artspace.

Monday, May 12, 2014

My younger daughter and I were heading out at 3:30 to pick up my older daughter from work.  The following is on my dashboard video, which is not positioned well, so people are not as visible (the holder is designed for hands free use by the driver, not taking video out the window).  Audio does pick it up.

As we were being blocked for about 2 minutes, the strikers were singing.  One union guy began shouting out about security, saying "security doesn't care about you",  "security has turned their back on you" and repeatedly calling for security (I believe he was calling one guard by name).

My daughter and I both commented on how cult-like the strikers behaviour was, which I found funny but my daughter found uncomfortable.  As we drove away, she expressed anxiety over the union guy's comments about security.  She felt threatened by it, and that he was insinuating that we needed security to protect us, but that they would not be there for us.
As we came home, I had both daughters with me.  They blocked my van from entering the parking lot.  We noted that, as my older daughter put it, they broke the "Wonderbread" convention and had more non-white people.  We saw the man who's butt got manhandled, but did not see the woman who grabbed him and made racist comments at the security guard.
As we waited, another vehicle came behind us and the strikers began calling to clear.  They cleared half the driveway to allow this other car in.  By then, it was past 2 minutes and they let us through as well.  As we drove past, my older daughter heard one of the strikers telling another that we were residents of Artspace and that I was a "real asshole."
Considering their behaviour, I found that hilarious.  It also shows that they have singled me out for extra harassment.
As we were leaving, the gentleman living in our old unit (his name escapes me at the moment) saw me and called out that he had more mail for me.  I went over to his unit to get it, and some strikers began jeering me.  My older daughter followed along, out of concern for my safety, and waited outside while I went into the unit.  I noticed fliers in his mailbox, including a notice for another RCMP info session, so I grabbed it for him and brought it in.  He made a comment about not caring about it (I later realised that this was the notice from before, not a new one, which means he'd not been collecting anything in that mailbox for some time).  As he gathered the mail for me, he mentioned that he was being terminated.  At first, I thought he was talking about his job, but he told me it was his membership.  I was surprised by this, commenting that it takes a lot for this to happen.  He informed me that he had been told he'd broken the law and endangered other members, then said that he wasn't sure if it would be followed through with, yet.  I suggested that perhaps, if he didn't know he was doing something wrong, he might not have to leave.  He didn't seem to concerned.  As we were walking down the stairs, he referred to himself as a "left wing radical" and that he had to go and support his "union brothers."

At that point, any sympathy I may have had for his situation disappeared. 
As we walked past P___, she asked about mail.  She had heard that, due to the strike, mail was not being delivered.  This is very concerning, as interfering with mail delivery is a federal offence. She had heard of a location where we could pick up our mail, but it too far for her to walk.  I would like to have this confirmed.

Later, my daughter recorded the strikers from a window as they mobbed the replacement worker with the red SUV again.  They were shouting a lot of vile, nasty things while chanting and generally being obnoxious and disruptive.  My daughter heard a woman she was sure was the same woman who called me an asshole, yell out "God is watching you."
Whoever this person in the red vehicle is, he is putting up with an incredible amount of abuse.  (I think I saw that the driver was a male, but I honestly am not sure; I'm usually behind the wheel myself, so I can't really look.)  If you have a chance, please let him know we really appreciate his willingness to keep coming back to care for our members under such stressful and abusive conditions.  I don't understand how, just because they are strikers, they are allowed to harass and abuse people in ways that would get them arrested in other conditions.
I also wanted to inform that, for the past couple of days, rather than deal with the stress of the strikers and put me through more harassment, my husband has been walking in to work.  It's less damaging to his back than taking the bus, but still causes him a great deal of pain and discomfort.  

Monday, 12 May 2014

AUPE picketer racism and sexual assault - incident report

The final portion of an incident report submitted by a member.

Perhaps the most egregious incident so far happened on Sunday morning, at about 9:45.  My daughters and I were heading out to church, leaving early because of the strikers.  I had my phone in the holder, but unfortunately what happened was out of frame and there were too many other sounds for the audio to pick it up.  As we left our spot, several strikers moved to block the driveway, turning their backs to us, with the exception of one man, who paced back and forth.  A SG came over with a video camera, confirming with me that I was a resident.  There were more strikers in front of the raised beds.  We saw a (white) woman in the sidewalk in front of the underground entrance.  She had dropped something and was stomping around, trying to keep it from blowing away.  It turned out to be a $5 bill.  After picking up the bill, she walked over towards the group in front of us.  Seeing the (black) security guard, she called out, “I thought you people liked girls with big asses?” while laughing.  I believe she repeated the statement at least one more time.  We were totally stunned to hear such a blatantly racist comment!  Then the pacing guy reached where she was and turned around to pace back, at which point she reached out and either slapped or pinched his butt!  As far as I know, this would constitute sexual harassment.

Based on her behaviour, my older daughter wondered if this woman were under the influence of something.

(See update and videos below.)

This morning (Monday), my husband was feeling well enough to go into work.  Because of the strikers, he walked in, carrying his work laptop in a backpack and using a cane.  This is not going to be good for his pain levels. When I drove my daughter to work later, we were again blocked, but only for a short time, as they were more interested in mobbing the red vehicle of a replacement worker.  Thankfully, given that it was about 6:30am, they remained quiet.

At this point, I wish to again state how much I appreciate the security guards.  I am positive that their presence has prevented things from being much worse, as has all the video recordings.  I have found the union strikers to be aggressive, obnoxious, intimidating and insulting.  Racist and sexist can also be added to the list for at least one of them.  For a group that is demanding “respect”, they are incredibly disrespectful. 

I am aware that there is no way SAIL can meet union demands, and to be honest, I am glad of it.  Thanks to their behaviour, the AUPE has removed any possibility of support or sympathy for their position.  As an Artspace member, I am completely against meeting any of their demands.

While I understand that people are allowed to strike at their place of employment and business, it is ridiculous that they should be picketing our private homes and disrupting our personal lives.  The SAIL office is their place of work.  Our homes are not.  Members who need SAIL’s services are clients, not places of business.  To define member units as part of their workplaces would be like a cable company considering client homes as workplaces because there are cable boxes in them.

Also of concern is the fact that, after being told “no”, they continue to harass people.  No means no and stop means stop.  To continue to bother people after clearly been told to stop constitutes harassment.  I am also disturbed by the strikers bringing children to participate.  I do not object to the children being there, but I do wonder about children wearing signs and chanting.  Obviously, minors cannot be union members, and I question the legality of having children actively participate in a strike.

Worse is the negative effect this strike is having on people’s health.  AUPE claims to care about the client members, yet their actions are causing harm.  We aren’t even in the high rise, and we do not need SAIL services, yet their behaviour is having a negative effect on the health of my husband.  It is even having a negative effect on our ability to homeschool my younger daughter; their chanting, for example, has prevented her from practising her guitar due to the volume.  I hate to imagine how much worse it is for members in the lower levels of the high rise!

I want to thank the board for acting on behalf of Artspace members during this stressful time.

Note that the woman who made the racist comment to the security guard, then manhandled another picketers buttock, does not seem to have been back since.  The man who's butt she grabbed, however, is a regular among the paid picketers.

Update: Oct. 8, 2014

There is now video of the incident mentioned at the top of this incident report.  Based on that, we now know that the person who made the racist comment was Rachel Shepherd, and she has been a regular among the AUPE picketers.  Also present was AUPE VP, Karen Weier.  The man who's butt got slapped was picket captain, Jaime Urbina-Maclean.  The security video also shows Rachel slapping a woman's butt.  That picketer appears to be a striking SAIL employee.

Below is video from 3 different cameras.