Monday, 30 June 2014

Artspace being heard?

What a day.

With AUPE's plans to invade our home with their Canada Day "celebration," our members have been burning up the phone lines, trying to figure out how the heck the union can do something like this.  Calls have been made to the City, the 311 information line and even the police non-emergeny line.

Word is, the City has even gone after the union to ask them what the heck they were thinking in planning this.

So, how can they do this?

They can't.

They never got any permits.

On top of downgrading their "celebration" from music, dancing and free Fat Franks to just "free Fat Franks", it's been further downgraded to a 'lunchtime gathering' of only 1 hour, though there's nothing about that on their webpage.

We have some expectation of how many picketers and their family will be there, but with how open and public their advertisement has been, there's just no way of knowing how many people will actually show up for free Fat Franks hot dogs.  Yes, a Fat Franks vendor has been confirmed as expected on site, though if they're going to set up a BBQ, that needs a permit, and there are none issued, so we shall see how that goes.

Unless Fat Franks does the right thing and withdraws.  After all, even the City has recognized that AUPE does not have our permission for this.

Well, Artspace isn't the sort of place that just rolls over and plays dead.  We have our own plans.

Yes, we will be having our own BBQ, though of course, we have plenty of space on our private property to do so.  We have also been busy as bees, preparing a proper welcome for the picketers when they arrive.

Permission has been given to go ahead and post these photos now, so here they are - though they were taken before all have been put up, so by tomorrow morning, there will be more.

Here you go, AUPE.  Here's what Artspace thinks of your invasion of our home.

Our Home Care
Care With Us
Not TO Us!

We will win the Battle

AUPE sings about solidarity
Artspace LIVES it.

It is during the worst times of your life that you will get to see the true colors of the people who say they care for you.

(this one is the favourite for a lot of people!)


provides care to approx 1/3 of our members
approx 2/3 of our members do not use SAIL
100% are fed up with union tactics


 Heard from one striker
"You do not deserve our care!!"
You are right.
We Deserve BETTER.


Caution - children at play
Act Like Your Kids Live Here

Caution Attention
Caution- Children playing
Our Kids Deserve A Summer
Caution Attention

I decide who comes
into my home
Picketers are not
on that list
and never will be

Union Tactics Do Not Unite

 A strike is just and adult temper tantrum.

Trust is earned, not demanded.

Our Home Care
Care with us not
to us

 SAIL into the future!!

 Keep Calm and Co-op on

New staff user friendly


Human Rights
Union Rights



(can't make this one out)


Union tactics
For our
to see
in their own homes

 This is OUR HOME

And finally, just to make sure the folks who show up, there are plenty of these posted around.

There were signs prepared reading "no public washrooms" as well, though with the "party" reduced to only 1 hour, they may not be needed.

Quite a few more signs were waiting to be hung up at the time these photos were taken, so things should be well "decorated" for AUPE picketers and whoever they've convinced to come out.

Happy Canada Day!

What it feels like

 A few picketers showed up today, including their new "leader."  She approached a number of our members, trying to talk to them.  Some refused, others listened.

One thing this strike has succeeded in doing is bringing our community together, and we're all watching out for each other.  So when some of us were seeing picketers talking to members that have been targeted for abuse previously, we all just sort of gravitate over to check and see if they are all right and not being harassed.

What the new "leader" has been trying to do is convince us that this Canada Day invasion of our home that she planned, wasn't at all "nefarious" and that this was somehow supposed to be something we should like and appreciate.  Like they were doing us some sort of favour, or giving us a gift.

Either she's really dumb, or she thinks we're really dumb.  Did she really expect that she could book a big party, with an open invitation to anyone and everyone, to come to OUR HOME for some free Fat Fanks hot dogs, and we would actually LIKE this?  That we would WANT this?

One of our members tried to explain it to her by telling her that their doing something like this against our consent was basically rape.

She's right.

Time and again, AUPE picketers have gone after our members.  Even after being told "no" or "stop" or any number of variations to go away, they still keep coming.  They've tried the stick, with the previous "leader" and his ridiculously abusive behaviour.  Now, they seem to be trying the honey.

Whether it's the stick or the honey, the answer is the same.



This is our home.  Our private residences.

No means no.

Yet still they go after us. 

We feel like they are raping our entire community. 

This member tried to explain that to this new "leader."

She didn't get it.  Apparently, she still seemed to think we should somehow be grateful for what she was doing to us.

It reminds me of what the previous "leader" was heard to shout through his megaphone; that since we weren't giving in to their demands, we must like them being here.

Or, as the rapist claims, "she wanted it."

A Slap in the Face - Letter to the Editor, Edmonton Journal (updated x3)

Here's a letter to the Edmonton Journal, calling AUPE out on their false claim of "helping" Artspace and others keep their home care support services. 

Edmonton Journal June 30, 2014 7:40 AM

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees has added insult to injury in its treatment of Albertans with disabilities who are striving to maintain their independence.

On Monday, June 16, Larry Pempeit, founder and president of Creekside Support Services, was inducted into the city’s Hall of Fame for decades of dedicated work to create opportunities for Edmontonians with disabilities to live independently in the community and direct their own home-care (read: personal care) services. Fittingly, Mr. Pempeit’s induction ceremony was held on the first anniversary of a meeting with then-premier Alison Redford that led to the reinstatement of home-care contracts for three user-run providers in Edmonton: Creekside, Abbey Road and Artspace. Incidentally, this victory was brought about through the heroic efforts of AUPE.

Say what?

According to a recent statement posted to the AUPE’s website by negotiator Kevin Davediuk, “The independent model of care at SAIL Inc. (Supports for Artspace Independent Living) is something AUPE successfully defended last summer when Alberta Health Services tried to restructure the care model.”

Is that so? Funnily enough, I’m one of the disability advocates who worked day and night last spring in a desperate bid to save our right to live independently in the community and direct our own care; I can’t recall the AUPE offering us their support in any way, shape or form. Ever.

Now for a reality check: AUPE is currently engaged in a bitter labour dispute with SAIL, a user-run, not-for-profit provider of home care. Although I’m not directly involved in this conflict as I do not live at Artspace, as a person with disabilities who also requires home-care services, I am utterly appalled at AUPE’s attempts to take credit for a victory they had no part in whatsoever. Attempting to portray itself as a great defender of independent living for people with disabilities becomes all the more ironic and insulting given the intransigence and picket-line bullying tactics that have characterized AUPE’s behaviour throughout this dispute. AUPE is actually jeopardizing the continued viability of the very independent living model they claim to have so valiantly defended a year ago.

Shame on you, AUPE.

Heidi Janz, adjunct professor, John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre, University of Alberta


Following is a quote taken from an article on AUPE's website dated June 11, 2013. This is their idea of support:

"“We are advising Artspace staff to take new employment as soon as possible, at the highest rate they can find. We are in a new era of health care where AHS is treating care as a commodity, so it is appropriate for staff to take whatever opportunity they can, at the best rate they can find,” said AUPE Negotiator Kevin Davediuk."

Updated:  AUPE was very quick to respond to the above letter.

Re: “Slap in the face for disability advocates,” Letters, Heidi Janz, June 30
Contrary to Ms. Janz’s claim in her letter, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees did indeed defend the model of care at Artspace in public statements opposing Alberta Health Services’ plan to cancel home-care contracts and hand them over to a handful of corporations.
We do not wish and never intended to diminish the work of others on this issue, as implied by Ms. Janz.
It is a shame she is now disrespecting the very employees whom Artspace sought to retain last year, and diminishing the work of the numerous campaigns AUPE members have conducted in defence of public services for Albertans living with disabilities, including efforts to keep Michener Centre open and past campaigns to defend Alberta Hospital Edmonton from being closed.
Karen Weiers, vice-president, Alberta Union of Provincial Employees

Rather cheeky of them to first claim credit for the hard work of people like Janz, then throw out... hmmm.  Let's see; strawman, red herring and ad hominem, all in two paragraphs.

One member commented this way:

I'm positive our fight was more about saving the program and less about those specific employees; regardless, those employees seem to think that their current behaviour will get them back on the job, and yet it's having the opposite effect. And it's too bad


From a Friend of SAIL:

Heidi is 'questioning' how AUPE can support keeping the Michener Centre open and keeping the disabled residents in that institution...while at the same time saying the union promotes independence, through their 'all talk, no action' support consumer-directed home care at Artspace. Just wanted to spell it out for folks who haven't been following the story if the AUPE strike at Artspace Housing Co-op


This point would be missed by anyone who doesn't know that Michener Centre is an institution.  However, AUPE justifies picketing at our private home by re-classifying it - for their own uses - as an institution, rather than as independent, private, homes.

A Typical Day at Artspace with AUPE

Since the strike started on May 7, 2014, this has been a fairly typical day Artspace members have had to live through.

Picketers begin to arrive generally between 5:30 and 6am.  Most of them are paid picketers, not striking care staff.

A table would be set up for their food and drink and whatnot on the sidewalk.  Usually, it is set up on the sidewalk, alongside one of the raised beds.  Sometimes, they set up across the street, in front of the townhouses, so they can sit in the shade.  Chairs often are set up and angled so picketers can sit and watch people in their homes.

Often, a tripod with a video camera is set up in the pee patch, positioned to record all the front of the high rise, plus the driveways.

For the first while, the noise would begin right away, with chanting, shouting and the use of a megaphone.  After several weeks and many complaints, the picketers did finally agree not start getting loud until after 7am.

The picketers typically walk the area in front of the highrise and the entrances to the above and below-ground parking.  They are supposed to only be on the sidewalk, with a 4 ft easement.  They often go beyond the easement.  No Trespassing signs had to be put up in the raised garden beds to keep them from sitting and leaning on them.  They are often ignored. 

Individuals living in the highrise are forced to go through the picketers to go about their daily business.  They are often yelled at, laughed at, mocked, insulted etc.  Certain members are specifically targeted for extra verbal abuse and intimidation.

Note that the SAIL office is at the far end of the highrise, where it has its own entrance.  They do not picket there, though sometimes they wander around the perimeter of the highrise, follow members off site, and go into the street. 

During shift change for care staff, a security vehicle with tinted windows drives the replacement workers to and from a gathering point.  Security escorts replacement workers from the rear of the highrise.  There is only one entrance/exit to the outdoor parking lot.  The driveways for the outdoor parking and the entrance and exit doors of the underground parking are all next to each other.

Picketers mob the security vehicle, shouting at the replacement workers. It is not unusual for the replacement vehicle to be blocked for an hour or more.  Sometimes for 2 hours.

When the vehicle is returning and is blocked from entering the parking lot, it blocks the entire street.  Along with regular traffic, this prevents DATS from getting through.  Eventually, an agreement was reached and the security vehicle is allowed to enter the driveway and the picketers are allowed to go beyond the 4 ft easement.  

Picketers block other vehicles from coming and going.  Over time, they begin to pick and choose who they will let by and who they target for retaliatory blocking and verbal abuse.

Picketers continue to yell up at balconies, peer into windows, take photos and video of people in their private spaces, trying to go about their lives.  Megaphones, fake police sirens and an air raid siren are sometimes used.

A number of individual members are targeted by name for extra verbal harassment.

Yelling and harassment continues until about 10am.

Most of the time, all the picketers leave for 3-4 hour lunch break.  Sometimes, a few of them remain and continue to harass members, guests, and people attempting to do deliveries. Or, they just sit and watch everyone.

Picketers typically return around 1 or 2pm

Disruptive behaviour continues until about 6pm.  Some evenings, they stay later. 

Picketing usually takes place 7 days a week, with fewer picketers on the weekends. Some weekends, they don't bother to show up.

Replacement care workers have returned to their vehicles to find photos of themselves and notes left on them by AUPE picketers, saying things like "we know where you live." 

Picketers have followed members off-site, as members do things like walk their dogs or go to work.

Artspace members have found themselves stalked online, particularly on facebook.

Effects on our children - and not just in Artspace (updated)

A member sent this just recently, but the incidents described took place throughout the strike.  Some of the children affected do not live in Artspace.

Update: video added below

Co-op kids – community kids

There has been talk with co-op members who have seen issues with children being exposed to the striking behaviour.

I have a video of the van being surrounded and yelled at with the school but on the other side dropping off a child to the inner city complex. I also have one of our co-op kids running home and then leaving again with mom. Both being very aware of the strikers and trying to get away before confronted. The incident of D___ yelling at J___ when he tried to ask for quiet because his son had just come home from hospital. D___ yelled (and swore) at him he didn’t care about his kid. Also, the strikers surrounded J__ L___’s vehicle while her 4 year old son was in the car and yelled at him – the kid – about how bad his mommy was (she’s a nurse and should be supporting the union. (Cops were called on that one).

So it is not to say ANY parent is bad or kids in need of care – just the opposite, they are trying to protect the kids – certainly the strikers do not stop their behaviour is being watched by kids (all the bullying behaviour they are taught in school NOT to do and it is happening daily.)

The union is using tactics we teach are kids are wrong – so learning that at school and then coming home to watch a child looking at strikers and yelling ‘garbage’ how is it we are supposed to tell them that adults know how to behave appropriately. School is now out for the summer. But in June at 3:00 p.m. the security van would leave or try to leave with one staff and the strikers surrounded the van and did their taunting, yelling and so forth – right at the same time the Yellow School Bus dropped off a small child living in the Innercity Housing Complex.

On at least two occasions, strikers approached co-op kids. One incident was to try to get a child (a minor) to sign a petition to get SAIL back to the bargaining table.

On another occasion children were offered ice cream without their parent’s permission or any concern over lactose intolerance or other allergies. Or how creepy it is to be offered ice cream by a stranger.

On another occasion, a family of five was coming to the co-op to visit family. One striker started to talk to the parents and the kids were distracted by a promise of ice cream at the truck (divide and conquer). The three children went to the other side of the truck and due to the doors being opened, the kids were out of their parents eye sight. Again, we try to teach our kids about stranger danger and not accepting items from people not approved by a parent. The parents were totally distracted by the one striker. And some pretty disgusting melted frozen mess was given to the kids.

Now that summer is here, parents are frustrated, because they can’t let their kids play outside. Kids feel uncomfortable riding their bikes and are anxious in their own home.

If AUPE had any integrity or professionalism they would have a standard protocol that all activities cease when children are near the striking action. Actually the protocol I would really like to see is that all unions agree not to picket/have strike action at a persons home – or as in our case, 87 homes in common buildings.

Updated: A member asked me to include this.

On one of the AUPE member's FB page, there is a pic of his beautiful little girl. After reading about how dispicable the picketers have been towards parents with their children present, I have been tempted to write the following on his FB page.

"[_____}. What a beautiful little girl you have!  I hope you are treating her well. Wouldn't want to have to call Social Services on you!"

Notice that I said I've only been tempted to do so. I have way more class than any AUPE member!!
 Some background on this: one of the picketers was heard to threaten a mom with calling Children's Services on her - in front of her daughter.  Will post about that when more details and permission is aquired.

You can run, but you can't hide! (updated)

AUPE has made some changes, but they can't hide the truth!

This is what AUPE originally advertised.

This is what they have up now.

So they are still basically inviting anyone and everyone to come to our home for free Fat Franks - just not for music and dancing anymore.

Do they really think that will make it okay?

Update: Got the word that AUPE was not able to get any sort of permits for this "party" at our home.  Therefore, they can't have the music and dancing.

What this means is that the only space they can use is the public sidewalk. 

If all goes well, it will be a dud and no one will show up but a few sad and sorry picketers.  My personal concern, however, is that they will do as they did before, and try to lure children with freebies.

Fat Franks and Canada Day invasion

First off, I want to say thank you to all the people who have been phoning and emailing Fat Franks to ask them to withdraw from AUPE's planned invasion of our home on Canada Day.

There is still come confusion as to what Fat Franks actual part will be; some have been told they've just told the supplies, others that they will actually have someone on site.

In the end, it doesn't matter.  The Fat Franks name is being used to promote this event, and lure people to invade our homes.

I want to make that part clear.  Fat Franks is being used for their name and reputation

Now that Fat Franks knows that this event is being planned at a location that did not give consent, the right and ethical thing to do would be to withdraw from this event.

They have basically two choices to make:

1) they may not legally be able to withdraw from the contract.  If this is true, then they should just say so, then make a public statement that they do not support the abuse of our community.

2) they can withdraw from the event and make a public statement that they do not support the abuse of our community.

Here is the issue.

If they DON'T withdraw, now that they know what is going on, they are giving tacit approval of the abuse of our community and its most vulnerable members.   That, of course, reflects badly on their business.

If they DO withdraw, they risk retaliation from AUPE.  Though we are not asking them to stop doing AUPE events, etc., but only to withdraw from this single, unique event for which we do not give consent, doing so may run the risk of AUPE cancelling any current or future contracts with Fat Franks, and who knows who else they might pressure into turning their backs on Fat Franks.

AUPE has millions of dollars of union dues to back up their threats, and it's a hard thing for any business to risk potential income.  Especially a small, local franchise.

Either way, they seem to lose.

Not necessarily.

Please continue to write or call Fat Franks at:
Corporate Sponsorship/General Business:
Call for appointment please.
Phone: 780-413-0278 – We only take calls past 12 noon, so please leave a message and we will return it.
Fax: 780-433-7997
Please be polite in asking them to withdraw from this event.  Express your understanding of the difficult position they are in.  Do not abuse them in any way.

Make these requests as public as possible; post them on social media, share them on blogs, or leave them in the comments section of this blog (comments are moderated, so they won't show up right away).  Let them know that if they do not withdraw, you will boycott the franchise and ask your friends and family to do the same (we do realise this is asking a lot of people; what's summer without Fat Franks?).

If you have a business that is in a position to hire Fat Franks for events, let them know that if they withdraw, your company is willing to hire Fat Franks in the future for your events, but that they will be boycotted if they don't - and follow through with it!  Just don't make any promises you can't keep.  

If they choose to do the right thing and withdraw from an event being held at a private address without the consent of the people living there, we as a community need to let them know that they will be supported in that decision, not just with words, but with deeds.  

Just as we are asking people to boycott Fat Fanks if they DON'T withdraw, we are asking people to support them if they DO withdraw through buying their products and hiring them for events.

And if they do withdraw and AUPE decides to punish them by cancelling contracts, then I ask Fat Franks to make that public and let the world what AUPE is really like.

Let's all shine the light on the dark deeds of AUPE bullying.

Effects of the strike - mail disruption

A member describes on of the effects the strike has had on the lives of people living in Artspace.

To start with, we don’t get mail. Canada Post will not cross a picket line. So where we have to go to get mail is not very convenient – especially for those who don’t drive. And even that, I have heard members say that mail and parcels are getting sent back before they have a chance to get there. For those who work regular hours, there is not a time that they can go to pick it up without missing time at work. And then to confuse that matter, sometimes if they don’t see any strikers they will deliver the mail – but it is so sporadic.

We have to make special arrangements to mail a letter (outgoing mail) as the won’t pick up mail from the box out front. 

And the issues of the Canada Post box at the front door. 

One person or more had still been using the mail box to mail correspondence. When they realized that mail was not getting picked up, it took forever to get someone from Canada Post to come out and retrieve the mail.

At the same time, our maintenance staff put duct tape over the mail slot to prevent anyone else from the same mistake.

One of the most irritating for the professional strikers called Canada Post and reported that our maintenance staff had destroyed a mailbox. He used the bull horn to announce how destroying a post box was a criminal act and Canada Post was on the way to charge our guy. The supervisor from Canada Post arrived, Our maintenance manager went out and explained how mail had been inadvertently put in the mailbox and how long it took him to contact Canada Post via Winnipeg to have someone come and empty the box.  Our guy then explained how he put the tape on the mailbox to prevent a re-occurrence.  The supervisor thanked W___ for his smart thinking!!!!

Update: At the end of June, mail started to be delivered again.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Why? This is why.

Since the strike began, one AUPE picketer in particular - the "leader" of the group - has been the most abusive and obnoxious of all. 

He finally got pulled from the picket line and a new "leader" has been installed.  Perhaps the union thinks that if they install a woman and things have somewhat calmed down, we will somehow be okay with the abusive behaviour, or not be bothered if she organizes a public event at our private home.

One of our members decided to appoach this new "leader" asking;

"Why are you doing this to us?"

The answer?

"Because we can."

Media coverage: SAIL picket line upsetting some residents

Artspace members, family and friends, have been trying to reach out to the media to try and get our side of the story told.  You would think this would be a story the media would love to tell - a real David and Goliath story; the union Goliath, with its bottomless pit of funding through union dues, teams of lawyers, negotiators, etc., vs a tiny, volunteer run company, with no income other than the funding AHS provides based on user member needs, serving members with various degrees of mobility challanges.  Bully picketers screaming and yelling at folks in wheelchairs.

Finally, the CBC came back and did an interview with one of our user members.

This is what they came up with.

SAIL picket line upsetting some residents
30 health care aides off the job since May 8

CBC News Posted: Jun 25, 2014 11:16 AM MT Last Updated: Jun 25, 2014 11:16 AM MT
Resident Meghan Sykes says the labour dispute has made her depression come back.
Resident Meghan Sykes says the labour dispute has made her depression come back. (CBC)

Some people who live at Edmonton's Supports for Artspace Independent Living or SAIL say the seven-week labour dispute is hurting them.

SAIL assists about thirty seniors and people with disabilities who live together at the Artspace Co-op at 93rd Street and 101A Avenue, east of downtown Edmonton.

Thirty health care aides represented by Alberta Union of Provincial Employees are locked out and walking a picket line outside the building.

Thirty health care aides represented by AUPE are looking for better pay and benefits. (CBC)
Resident Megan Sykes relies on workers to help her live independently. She says the situation is stressful.

"I have epilepsy, I have depression,” she said. “My depression came back because they are telling ‘Meghan, tell the workers we need more money. Tell them.’”

Replacement workers are now helping the residents. Sykes wishes the strikers would take their picket line elsewhere.

"Why don't they go to Alberta Health and strike?” she said. “They are hurting the innocent here. We have fought for years and years and years to get on our own.”

Follow this the link to read the rest

Their TV spot had even less to say.

One Artspace member had this to say about the article.

A decidedly milquetoast article about the strike at our co-op. At least one of my neighbours got a say (though, knowing how these things go, it would be only a tiny bit of what she actually said). They still aren't covering the level of abuse and harassment our neighbours have been subject to since the strike began, while giving the union that last say - including their bullshit claim that they tried to come back to work over any sort of concern over the replacement workers. The replacement workers have been amazing, putting up with some of the worst abuse of all, yet still providing superior care.

And he's talking about being on the picket line for 7 months? What difference will that make? There's no money. The only money we get is from AHS, and that has to pay expenses as well as wages. What magical place to they think the money for their demands is going to come from?

 The media has been dropping the ball.

That's why this blog has been created.


Saturday, 28 June 2014

Fat Franks Boycott letters Part 1 (updated)

Here are some letters people have been sending to Fat Franks, asking them to withdraw from AUPE's planned event at our home.  I will add more as I receive them.

Replies will be included, if possible.

From an Artspace non-SAIL user member:

It has come to my attention that Fat Franks is providing hot dogs for this event.

[line and image redacted]

"Join SAIL staff and their supporters at the SAIL picket line July 1 for an afternoon of solidarity and free Fat Franks hot dogs! See you there!"

I am writing to inform you that I am a member of the Artspace Co-op, where this event is being planned. "All" are most certainly not welcome!

Artspace is a private, membership owned complex of 88 units, including a high rise and townhouses, which are the homes of about 180 people.  A number of these individuals are physically disabled, requiring the assistance of home care workers, who are currently on strike through AUPE.

Since May 7, 2014, AUPE strikers have held our members under siege.  It has been 7 weeks of abuse, harassment and intimidation.  AUPE members have heaped verbal abuse on our members, threatened a number of us, targeted others for extra abuse and more, including racist, ablist and sexist comments shouted at individuals (including myself).  They have disrupted our lives with shouting, sometimes through megaphones, air raid sirens, loud music and fake police sirens.  Some AUPE members have stalked our members, off site as well as online, including our children, and even gone so far as to try and video some of our children against parental request to stop, then physically assaulting those members who tried to stop them from filming the children, approaching children as young as 5 years old with union fliers, and lured them with ice cream.

Their actions have traumatised our members, and there has been police involvement in a number of incidents. We have had to hire a security company to prevent things from escalating even worse.

I am asking Fat Fanks to withdraw from this event, as doing so is supporting the abusive behaviour of AUPE against some of our most vulnerable community members. 
Until I hear that Fat Fanks is withdrawing their support of AUPE abuse through this event, I am asking everyone I know to boycott Fat Franks.
Thank you for your time and attention.  

Yes we are hired and paid to be there.
It is not our position to judge events nor take sides in public opinions of them.
Thank you for your comments
Lorne H. Merrick

This appears to be a contradiction from what one of my neighbours had been told on the phone, which is that Fat Franks does NOT have a kiosk booked. 
AUPE has advertised the address of our HOME as the location of this event.  We have not been asked for, nor do we give, permission for this event.  Investigations are being made with the police about the legality of this event.

If Fat Franks does indeed have a kiosk booked for this event, I once again respectfully request that it be withdrawn.
Until then, I will continue to ask my friends and neighbours to boycott Fat Franks.

Thank you.

 Reply 2:

Sorry to hear your decision, however I respect the right of ALL persons to express theirs.
AS a business, we do not nor cannot make decisions based on public opinion of issues. If we started to do that the line gets very murky indeed. Do we not support Native Rights issues, women's issues, homelessness issues, anti – gay issues – because one side of the argument wishes us not to do them?
WE do support E4C School lunch program with a percentage of sales from ALL events – to date $4000.00 – so action of such boycotts serve no point but personal ethics – again with all due respect!
Lorne H. Merrick
 Response 2:
As a business, I understand that you would not investigate potential clients before taking them on, so you would not know if there are issues.  Now, however, you have been informed.

This is not a matter of public opinion.  This is a matter of AUPE scheduling an event at our private home, without our consent, as a continuation of weeks of abuse against our members, many of whom are disabled. They have, in fact, specifically targeted a number of our disabled members.  This is a matter of documented incidents of harassment and intimidation by AUPE, including racist, sexist and able-ist attacks, physical assault and threats of physical violence. 

E4C happens to be our neighbour.  Thanks to AUPE picketers, they have lost any street parking on 94th St that had been available to them until now.  Do you think they are not affected by hour after hour of people shouting on megaphones or using air raid sirens?  Many of our members walk their dogs on E4C grounds, where AUPE members have stalked some of them, taking video, and making threats.  Are disabled people not on your list of groups you support?  Or does Fat Franks support AUPE's harassment of people in wheelchairs and walkers, at their own homes?

Now that Fat Franks has been informed as to the circumstances, by continuing to provide product for this even, Fat Franks is tacitly supporting the continued abuse of the Artspace community and some of our most vulnerable members.

You are right.  This is a matter of ethics.  And it seems to me that Fat Franks is choosing money over ethics by supporting AUPE abusers as they host and promote an event at our private homes, against our consent.
Updated: Reply 3:

Thank you for your comments.
Fat Franks does indeed support handicapped people – a fact you do not know is that I have very dear friend severely handicapped and lovingly looked after by myself and other friends, so I do not appreciate comments based on ignorance. That is the vitriol of persons who do not look at the whole bigger picture – there is no black and white!
You have made your point and I have accepted the fact that Fat Franks cannot win in this situation – we either piss you guys off or AUPE ( who we do business with at other events as well ). Either way – we loose.
WE are not making ANY chooses but to continue working to support 20 employees, their families and perhaps their incapacitated relations.
With all due respect – I wish you well in your issues with AUPE. It is not our issue!

 From a commenter at Blazing Cat Fur (thanks for the plug, BCF!)

Feel free to copy and paste the message I sent to
I am appalled that your company would commit to sponsoring a Union picket and protest BBQ at a private place of residence, especially one that caters to people with disabilities.
I hope that you would discontinue your sponsorship of this very un-Canadian Canada Day BBQ. These people LIVE there and it should not be a venue for union activists taking strike action.
 From a supporter:

I emailed this to Fat Franks today. I'm also posting this on their Facebook page.: Hi Lorne: I am writing to you as a sister of a resident of Art Space. I am a big Fat Franks fan. I enjoy your hot dogs outside of Canadian Tire,at festivals and at private functions. I realize that you are hired to cater events and it is reasonable to believe that it is not your responsibility to vet the morality of the event or the people or the organisation that hires you.

I also realize that Fat Franks likely caters to many events for various union events in Alberta including events sponsored by AUPE and that it not your place to have to research and take sides on the issues between AUPE and SAIL. What I would ask you and your employees to do is have respect for the residents of Art Space, particularly those who are disadvantaged.

As you might not be aware, Art Space is an inclusive community that welcomes disabled residents, seniors and families with children. Please respect that where you have been asked to cater this event is their home. While this strike has been going on, members of AUPE have harassed residents of Art Space who are not involved in the dispute with AUPE. This harassment includes interfering with their quiet enjoyment of their property. The behaviour of AUPE is likely actionable civilly in the tort
of nuisance. I would hate for Fat Franks to unwittingly be drawn into a lawsuit because they and their employees are seen to be part of the “nuisance”. Please know that, in my opinion, Fat Franks is not catering a “celebration event” even if it is labelled as such (a “Canada Day Party”) as they are usually are hired to do. It is my opinion that Fat Franks is a pawn in a plan by AUPE designed plan to cause maximum disruption and disturbance to the innocent residents of Art Space, some of whom are society’s most disadvantaged members and some who are either “ready to crack” or have actually had breakdowns caused by the constant
bullying and harassment at their home caused by the members of AUPE who are engaging in this behaviour. My brother has PTSD and was targeted and incessantly bullied and harassed by AUPE members (even when asked to stop and advised that he had PTSD) to the degree that he had a breakdown and was driven from his home. I would ask that you please alert the employees you have working this “event” to the fragile condition of many of the residents of Art Space and to please show them the common courtesy, respect and dignity that all members of any right thinking society should be accorded and ask that you ask your employees to not engage in same the bullying and harassment of residents of Art Space that the AUPE members have.

Thank you.

 A reply recieved by an Artspace SAIL user member:
Yes. Here's a copy of the reply I received today. I didn't ask them to not support the AUPE, just their abusive bullying behavior. On Jun 28, 2014, at 1:05 PM, "Lorne Merrick" <> wrote:
Thank you for your opinions. It is indeed the right of a secular democracy to speak ones mind. Fat Franks is a business that gets HIRED to be at a multitude of events. WE are not and cannot be in the business of deciding the side of public opinion on issues. That is a murky path indeed. Do we decide to not do events for Native rights, women's rights, gay rights – all that we have been to - because their is another side of the discussion? Fat Franks donates a portion of proceeds from ALL events to E4C School Lunch program – to date $4000.00 – so a boycott does nothing but enforce a personal opinion – with all due respects. Regards Lorne H. Merrick
 From a friend of an Artspace member:

Dear Fat Franks,
I was very concerned today to discover that you are supporting the AUPE by participating in a Canada Day BBQ at the home of the Artspace members. The people who live there are already dealing with the day to day abusive behaviour from the AUPE, and now without even so much as asking permission, the AUPE want to hold a celebratory event with music, dancing and free Fat Franks hot dogs. They are actually publicising the address of the co-op members home! It is so disrespectful and not what I expect from Fat Franks.
I urge you to withdraw your support for this event. I will be boycotting Fat Franks until you do, and will be encouraging all my friends and family to do so as well.
Please do the right thing and restore my faith in your company.

I have been really disappointed in Fat Franks responses so far (there are others I am not able to post yet).  We know that they're just doing business, and would have no way of knowing that AUPE was using them the way they are - and make no mistake; they are being used as pawns by AUPE, just like we Artspace members, and our striking SAIL staff, are also being used by them.  It's the dishonesty of their responses that get me.  At this point, we don't even know if they will actually be there, cooking hot dogs, or if AUPE rented one of their carts and is going to do the BBQ'ing themselves, as they have given contradictory statements.

There were really two responses (in some variation) that would have made sense.

They could have said, "Hey, we didn't know this was going to be at someone's private home without their permission.  Thanks for telling us,  We'll bow out so as not be dragged into the middle of this."

Or they could have said, "Thanks for telling us this.  We didn't know.  However, we have signed a contract and legally can't back out of it. "

Either way, they could have taken an ethical stand against the abuse of Artspace members; particularly those with disabilities and/or health issues.

Instead, they threw up a straw man to try and take some sort of fake high road and make excuses, without even addressing the actual issue at hand: AUPE is holding a party at our private homes.

All we are asking is for them to withdraw from a single event, planned by AUPE, at an advertised location that is our HOME.  Our private space.  That AUPE has been abusing us for almost 2 months should have just made the decision that much easier.

 That alone is enough for me to never buy from Fat Franks again.  Which is a shame, because normally I'd want to support franchisees.

Note: people have informed me that they have tried to leave comments objecting to this event on the AUPE facebook page, only to have them immediately removed.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Calling for Help (updated)

A message for Artspace members, friends, families and supporters.

AUPE has posted a public invitation on their website for a Canada Day BBQ, advertising music, dancing and free Fat Franks hot dogs, to be held AT OUR HOME!

One of the steps we can take to protest this invasion of our lives is to boycott Fat Franks, the franchise providing the free hot dogs at this event.

Please get as many people as you can to contact Fat Franks, tell them what AUPE has been doing to us, and request that they withdraw from supporting this event. Tell them, politely, yet firmly, that until they do, we will be boycotting Fat Franks.

This is their contact information.

Corporate Sponsorship/General Business:

Call for appointment please.

Phone: 780-413-0278 – We only take calls past 12 noon, so please leave a message and we will return it.
Fax: 780-433-7997

Canada day is just around the corner, so it's essential that as many people contact Fat Franks as quickly as possible, letting them know what is really happening at Artspace.

Thank you.

Update: Since this post has gone up and word has gotten out, this event has been confirmed by the person organising it, in a most condescending way.  This person even had the gall to "invite" Artspace members to join them - and they might even give us some free hot dogs. 

Apparently, it's "normal" to have BBQs on picket lines.  That may be true, but it's not normal to do so at people's homes, while sending out blanket invitations to any and all to come out for freebies

Fat Franks has been contacted and does NOT have a kiosk booked for this event, yet they (AUPE) continue to advertise that they will be giving out free Fat Franks hot dogs. 

Note that while the organiser has said this is going to be done on the picket line - which is the sidewalk in front of our homes - we are on a small, closed and private street.  Given the very public way they are advertising this, if people start showing up looking for free Fat Franks, it would have the effect of shutting down our street.  With the ads being so public, with invitations to any and all, even if they pulled the ads right now, they would have no control over whether or not people show up at our address, looking for free Fat Franks.

Update2:  It seems the above update was posted too soon.  Different members are being told different things.  One member has recieved this email from Fat Franks.

Yes we are hired and paid to be there.
It is not our position to judge events nor take sides in public opinions of them.
Thank you for your comments

Monday, 23 June 2014

AUPE ups the ante with a Sunday night invasion

After many complaints and rumours, the most abusive of the AUPE paid picketers was finally removed.  Edmonton Police assured us he would not be returning.

That left the picketers with the next most abusive paid picketer as the leader.

On Friday, the 20th, before the picketers left for the day, they were seen gathered around her for a pep talk, where she was heard to be giving them some instructions for the Sunday.

The pickters presence on the weekends tended to be sporadic, however none showed up on Saturday, the 21st.

They showed up around 8pm on Sunday.

Shortly after they arrived, the music started blaring.

From about 8:15 to just before 10pm, as parents were trying to get their kids to bed for school, etc., we were instead bombarded with loud pop music, singing, chanting and union propoganda music.  Picketers wandered around, sometimes in the street.

They had a recording of "Solidarity Forever."  Few people seemed to know the words, so the singing tended to peter off during the verses.

It is confirmed that at least 6 people phoned the police while this was going on.

A police vehicle did arrive and the music was turned down for a short while.  Then it was turned back up again.  Eventually the police vehicle left, and there was no change in the behaviour.

Here are some videos from that evening.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Member responses - Sheila's public statement

A message to AUPE and our striking staff, from one of our user members.

By Sheila [____]
It’s been almost 6 weeks since the strike/lockout began, and to tell you the truth, I’ve hardly given the workers any thought. Most of my energy has been taken up by the AUPE and their bullying tactics, and how to maintain my health and sanity. So here are some of my thoughts.
Healthcare/homecare workers are a vital part of our healthcare system. Some work in Seniors’ facilities, some work in hospitals/long term care facilities, and some work in private homes. It is the latter that concerns me the most as I live in my own apartment and receive help from homecare workers.
As is no secret, I live in the Artspace Co-op and we have a Homecare program called “SAIL” Inc. (Supports for Artspace Independent Living). Having homecare workers on site 24 hours a day has been a life saver for me more than once. I get help with homemaking and laundry, and I use On-call for anything else.
I have great admiration and appreciation for the workers who do their jobs in my home so that I can have the energy to live a fulfilling and productive life. I am thankful for the work our SAIL workers have done for me, but unfortunately, they are no longer working in my home…they are walking a picket line outside my highrise. This makes it very hard to respect them, but I’m trying to understand.
During the last few weeks I have asked many questions of many people, and I’ve done some on-line research. Here is some of what I’ve learned:
1. Our workers get paid $19.50/hr. Other homecare workers in Edmonton get paid $13 to $18.50/hrs.
2. Our workers work 8 hr shifts. Other homecare workers work 8 to 12 hr shifts, and some even work split shifts.
3. Our workers have 4 to 5 hours of scheduled service-the rest is down time when they are to be available for On-call. Other workers have little to no down time.
4. Our workers stay at one building, going to private homes to perform their duties. Other homecare workers have do drive themselves to each client’s home, usually with their own vehicles, and receive little to nothing in compensation for fuel, and wear and tear on their vehicles.
5. Many of our workers have taken a month off to go to their home country to visit their families, and then return to their position at SAIL. Other workers are only eligible for 2 (3 if they’re lucky) weeks off a year.
6. Benefits? I have to admit that this is one area I’m unclear on.
As I said, I am really trying hard to understand why our workers are so dissatisfied! When I review the above comparisons, it looks to me like they had it pretty good! So why strike?? I blame the Union. Our workers were happy in their positions for over 20 years. It wasn’t until the AUPE stepped in that our workers became unhappy.
In many ways I am disappointed with our workers. Instead of thinking for themselves, they choose to believe whatever the Union tells them. I feel sorry for them, yes I did say sorry, because they had a good thing going and now it’s in jeopardy. The moment they began to participate with and condone the bullying behavior instigated by AUPE picketers was the moment I lost total respect for them. All the good relationships I had with many of them is GONE. If they are allowed into my home again, the atmosphere will not be pleasant for any of us.
Yet, our workers are only human, and I can’t help but feel for them. They deserve good jobs with good wages, but if they want equal pay for equal work, then they’ll have to take a cut in pay. My hope is that they will realize that while AUPE is a huge and powerful union, it’s not size or power that determines who wins…it’s integrity and honesty.

A member's impact statement

A number of members submitted impact statements, some details, some short and to the point, like this one, filed June 15.

I am afraid to gou out anywhere, because of the bullying.  Brings back bad memories of my past, traumatizing me.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

AUPE picketers, traumatizing infants: impact statement

Artspace members range from infants to people in their 80's.  All are affected.

One member family has a baby that was 3 months old when the strike started.  This is how the picketers have affected their home. (Submitted June 14)

The actions of AUPE members/striking SAIL staff is giving our family a real hard time when the mom and new born desperately need rest after the delivery.  Starting from early morning into late afternoon AUPE members and striking SAIL staff are making all kinds of noises right below our bedroom.  My wife can not have a good rest during the day, and she still needs to feed the baby at night.  My son is also suffering sleeplessness because of the noises made by AUPE members/striking SAIL staff.

AUPE picketers know full well the range of people who live at Artspace.  They know they are disturbing all of us.  They know they are causing harm to the vulnerable.

Yet still, they do it. 

Friday, 13 June 2014

AUPE Stalking, incident report

(Note: this was typed by a person with a condition called ataxia)

Incident involving Mr.D___ M___ of AUPE

06/13/2014 7:45 a.m

In the vicinity off property of the ARTSPACE Cooperative, by the entrance to the Alex Taylor school field, Mr.M___ followed me videotaping then announced to me my dog had defecated and I had not picked it up, I always carry bags in hand as I am aware of the bylaws, and have never not retrieved my dogs waste, I kindly asked Mr. M____ to point out something I missed and I would gladly pick it up to which he replied “So you are admitting your dog defecated and you did not pick it up” I replied “No I am not but if I missed it please show me I will pick it up” He then loudly announced to me to “Quit following him” and retreated and that he was reporting this to bylaw, I do not believe my dog defecated as I have her leashed and tagged and I have come to know my dogs “routine” after she has performed natural duties. I contacted EPS and the kind officer seemed concerned but told me the department was overwhelmed but took all my information and passed it on, I also contacted AUPE (A gentleman named Andrew) and told him of the incident.

To a disabled man with PTSD being, (in my opinion) ,stalked and harassed not only on my residential property but also off I find this inappropriate, it is reflecting on my ongoing dealing with my PTSD I am under the care of Dr. J____ P____ who also showed concern on my well being at my appointment 06/12/2014 in her office.

AUPE assault: incident report

This incident report was filed on June 12.

Yes, the police were called.

Yes, they came during the incident.

Wanna guess what they did about it?

Among the questions members have is, why have the police turned a blind eye to this sort of thing?

A union picketer identified as "D____" was involved in a disturbance in front of our unit on June 11, 2014.  This disturbance began to upset our children so I went out to see what was going on.  It became apparent that D___ was the centre of the argument and when we spoke to him about his actions he became very agitated.  D___ then hit me with his elbow quite hard which was clearly an assault.  I did not fight back or do anything to him other than verbally accuse him of assault.  Police were called and after much discussion D___ drove away.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

AUPE Harassment - incident report

 (Note that this statement was made by a member with a condition called ataxia.  Despite this, he still made the effort to document AUPE harassment.)

2:45 p.m. 01/06/2014 As I was in the entranceway to my residence ARTSPACE HOUSING COOPERATIVE  9330-101A Avenue, from across 101A Avenue, I was verbally singled out by an AUPE picketer(later learning her name was “Deb” 3 times this person shouted my name, mentioning organizations I belong too, while walking up and down 101A Avenue, As I am on no board or receive any care for the reason they are picketing I found this invasive and being diagnosed with PTSD rather hurtful, when another resident E___ P___ had asked this woman to refrain her verbal attack on me(which was in front of Ms.P___’s 4 and 11 year old daughters, I was showing them hatchlings) and Ms.P___’s explanation of my disorder , “Deb “ simply replied “Ya right”

-Approximately 2:45 11/06/2011 outside of my balcony window and door to my residence Mr. D___ M___(as we have come to know his name) just meters from my closed window, off of our property by inches preceded 3 times to use a bullhorn loudly making announcements (unintelligible for the most part, but did hear him mention a Unit # ___) and repeatedly using a blaring sound whistle resembling the sound of a police siren that could be heard even though I had all windows and doors closed. This is not the first time Mr.M___ has used these devices, I apologize I do not have the date and times but it is usually the same time daily, and in the early morning hours Mr. M___ can be heard uttering words such as “shame” and “scab “when temporary workers are departing via the exit just below my residence, I avoid the ongoing confrontations that occur daily as it does affect my mental health, I have prescribed medication by Dr.J___ P___ for the past 7 years which does help me cope but this is(in my opinion) a case of bullying that is detrimental to my well being, On the advice of EPS I am with honesty submitting this concern for review.