Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Addressing issues; time frames, reactions and potential solutions

It's been quite a ride in the last few days.  Thank you to everyone who has shown support for us and for Kathleen.  Including those who shared some of the tweets that AUPE claims were defamatory to them, through United with Kikki.

There have been a few things brought up from various directions that should probably be addressed.

The first is to point out again that, thanks largely to this blog, the videos and social media attention, the actions of AUPE picketers against our community have toned down.

They are no longer stopping vehicles.

With no security guards driving replacement workers in and out, they have taken to coming in at about 5am, waiting to hassle the replacement workers as they walk in.  The police and others are watching closely.

For Artspace members startled by the sight of a man hanging out by the garden bed in the morning, be assured that it's only this guy.

And if you're wondering who he is;

It seems he's the one that's here to do those interviews AUPE has been posting online, including that totally random, just-happened-to-have-someone-there-to-record-it, interview with saysandra, who also posted this.

I don't think she quite caught on to the contradiction between claiming this was a "polite" talk, while using a derogatory term to describe the replacement workers.

Obviously, she wasn't there to see all the other "polite" talks they had with the replacement workers previously.

So this guy seems to be AUPE's new Large Intimidating White Guy for the picket line.  Maybe because their Little Token POC wasn't quite cutting it.  Who knows.

Anyhow; for the folks leaving to catch a bus or walk their dogs in the early hours, now you know who he is and why he's there.

This is important, considering we do live in an area with high rates of vandalism and transient populations.  We get a lot of people cutting through our area to and from the valley, and it's not unusual for many to be under the influence.  We've also had break ins, and drug deals in the parking lot.

As you can imagine, seeing a big guy hanging around in front at odd hours, in the dark, can be pretty concerning.

Don't know if he's still coming out or how often.

They are usually gone by about 7:30am, then return in the afternoon for anywhere from 2 to 4 hours.

They are still picketing our private homes, rather than SAIL, spending most of their time hanging out at the West raised bed garden.

With AUPE's SLAPP suit against people who dared to support us, many have come to this blog and to the youtube channel for the first time.

Some have suggested that, because the videos are old, and the picketers aren't behaving this way anymore (sort of), we shouldn't be complaining.  Even spokespeople from AUPE have tried to dismiss them due to the age.

The age of the incidents, of course, is irrelevant.  When something happened doesn't change whether or not it was wrong.  When something happened doesn't lessen the damage done.

It's also rather curious for AUPE to pick and choose whether or not something is relevant due to dates.  After all, they kept bringing up their original "bad faith" complaint against SAIL back in May, even after withdrawing their complaint (without, of course, mentioning it was withdrawn).  Then, after they didn't get their way with the mediator's recommendation, they went and filed it again.  Apparently, they're still trying to dig out the illegal lock out complaint, too, and that also happened in May.  Of course, they neglect to mention that they agreed the staff would get paid not to come to work that weekend, too.

We have also learned that the SLAPP suit against Kathleen was actually filed back in August.

For some reason, they waited something like a month to actually serve her with it, only about a week ago.

And it's based on tweets she made in August.

Obviously, they have their own idea as to when something is or isn't relevant, due to time.

The other issue, of course, is that this all didn't magically stop.  Things are still going on.

This, for example, was taken on Sept. 10.  That was the day this happened.

And lets not forget their disruptive photo opportunities with federal NDPers, Brian Masse and Dan Harris (btw, Dan; Artspace isn't a long term care facility, either).

Plus, of course, there's just the general disruption their presence causes.  Even getting our mail is still touch and go.

We had also heard through the grapevine that they intended to lay on the pressure if a resolution wasn't reached before the end of the month.  The last time they did that, we had to endure the events at the end of July and the beginning of August, when the mediator's recommendation was turned down because it would lead to SAIL's bankruptcy.  How a resolution could be found, we have no idea, since there was nothing happening until October, which is when they apparently plan to "turn up the heat" on our community.

The SAIL president has been free to tell us only some things, but one of them is that there is something called a "resolution conference" happening on the first.  This isn't even about the labour dispute.  There's nothing to negotiate, there.  AUPE wants the mediator's recommendation to be accepted.  SAIL can't afford it.  Meanwhile, SAIL's within-budget offers were already rejected by AUPE.  The two sides are so far apart, the binding arbitration they keep calling for is impossible.  From what we've learned, that sort of action is brought about when the two sides are actually very close, but can't get past certain points.

What this thing tomorrow is about is their "bad faith" complaint filed by AUPE.  Which is really just a labour relations version of a SLAPP suit.  If that doesn't work out, then it goes to hearing, which would happen Oct. 15.

That is an interesting date because of this.

AUPE Annual Convention: Preparing for ChangeOctober 16, 2014 to October 18, 2014
This is being held at the Shaw Conference Centre.

From AUPE's website;

Thursday October 16, 2014 thru Saturday October 18, 2014 → 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Shaw Conference Centre → 9797 Jasper Avenue NW, Edmonton

The 38th Annual Convention will be held on 16-18 October 2014 at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton. Registration will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014.
The Shaw Conference Centre is located downtown at 9797 Jasper Avenue NW.

The Shaw Conference Centre is just a few blocks away from our home.

In numerous videos (not all of which are online), David Malka was heard to say that all 83,000 members of AUPE support the actions against our community, and were willing to picket our home.

Obviously, that's not true.  I doubt all the members even know about what's going on here, and we have heard from plenty of members who have stated they don't support what's happening here, in their names.  Unfortunately, most of them are too afraid to say so publicly.

I don't know how many union members come to these conventions, but the idea that they might be encouraged to walk a few blocks and picket Artspace is rather concerning.

Which brings me to another issue that some have brought up.

There are a few people who have suggested that AUPE's actions have been in retaliation for our doing things like posting the videos (which they can't complain about, what with all the signs warning them that this might happen), or putting up the signs.  Oddly, there was even a suggestion that the Canada Day invasion was in retaliation for the signs we put up.  Which is completely backwards.  We put those signs up when we found out about their plans to hold a party on our street, because it was the only way we could get our message out to all the people coming out for free hot dogs and drinks.

Then there was our 100 Day Vigil.  They retaliated with another illegal block party at our home the next day.

While it certainly seems like a retaliation for our own 100 Day Vigil (partly because they were a day late, their own website's counter said 98 days, and they were wearing new signs with "100 days" written on them), the fact that they had Fat Franks out again, as well as hiring drummers, meant that this was actually planned for some time, even if they didn't post about it on their website, like they did for the Canada Day invasion.

This wasn't a retaliation against our own vigil.  It was retaliation for standing up to them for 100 days.

Another interesting issue that's been brought up.

Apparently, we're just a bunch of whiners and complainers.  We, by drawing attention to what AUPE picketers have been doing at our home and to our community, are supposedly the ones who are antagonizing them and making things worse.

A curious thing.

Are those who say this suggesting that we should have just let AUPE engage in misconduct while picketing our homes, without complaining?  And that, by objecting, we are just whining?

Tell that to the people having anxiety attacks because of the noise and intimidation levels.

Tell that to the people who have had to increase their pain medications because of what's going on outside our home.

Tell that to the people who've been reduced tears and throwing up, because of the stress caused by these invasions outside our home.

Tell that to the people who have had to clean up after their dogs, who have had accidents because of the disturbances outside.

Tell that to the people who still cannot even go out the front door when the picketers are there, due to the long term effects of their previous damage.

Tell that to the person who was hospitalized because of their actions.


Tell that to the people struggling with their PTSD because of what's going on outside.

Not only are we somehow expected to remain docile and passive in the face of abuse, but even people who don't live here are not supposed to speak out in support of us.

Because if they do, they'll get sued for defamation.

AUPE, if there is anyone you need to blame for defamation, it's the people in the videos.  It is their actions, not the fact that people brought attention to them, that is the problem.

People have also wondered, what solution is there?

That's a good question.

When it comes to things like the labour dispute itself, or AHS funding, that is outside of the scope of this blog.

The majority of the Artspace community has nothing to do with either, and AUPE's mistake was to target all of us over something we have no control over.

AHS funding is a political issue that has nothing to do the labour dispute, because neither SAIL nor AUPE has any control over that funding.  Yeah, it would be nice if AHS provided more funding, but that's not the reality they have to deal with right now, and political action could take years.

From the beginning, we have wanted only two things.

First, for the picketers to adhere to the labour regulations, which I will quote here again;

III. PICKETINGOnce a lawful strike or lockout is in progress, the Code allows persons to engage in picketing and to try to persuade others not to enter the employer's place of business or do business with the employer. See: Section 84(1).The right to picket in connection with a labour dispute is subject to the following conditions:
· it must be peaceful;· it must take place only at the striking or locked-out employees' place of employment;· it must not involve acts that are otherwise unlawful.The Board has the power under section 84 of the Code to regulate lawful picketing. It will do so where necessary to maintain the lawful character of the picketing and preserve the peace. The parties may themselves reach agreement on picketing protocols. See: Section 84(2)(b), (3), (4); Cargill Foods v. UFCW Local 1118 [1997] Alta.L.R.B. LR-025.

With an end to misconduct, which is defined as:

... a course of conduct of incitement, intimidation, coercion, undue influence, provocation, infiltration or any similar course of conduct intended to prevent, interfere with or break up lawful activities likely to induce a breach of the peace in respect of a strike or lockout.

Second, we want accountability.  Every individual that took part in misconduct on the picket line, regardless of what position they may have within AUPE, needs to be held accountable for their actions against our community.  That would have to include ensuring that the picketing SAIL staff (remember; most of the striking staff have never been seen on the picket line) are never allowed to work at Artspace again.

Because, whatever happens with the labour dispute, Artspace members - SAIL users or not - must be able to feel safe in their homes.  Right now, with those picketing SAIL staff, that is no longer possible.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Video of the Day: Community disruption (updated)

This video was just posted a couple of days ago, but I wanted to feature it as video of the day for a couple of reasons.

It's unusually long.  We normally try to avoid posting videos more than a few minutes long, but in the end, it was left at its full length, because it really shows how things were with the strike, right from the start.  Yes, there were quiet moments, but there was an awful lot of this level of noise and disruption - and this was before they brought in the bull horn!

For some background, after this happened, the Artspace and SAIL boards put up these signs all round the high rise.

This video shows how the picketers responded to them.

They even taunted and mocked a security guard for doing his job, then tried to prevent him from doing it later on.

There was something that caught my attention late in the video, and I wanted to double check before I commented on it.

At about 34:45 into the video, a vehicle is allowed to pass unobstructed into the parking lot.

After it goes by, you can hear the following, from Local 47 chair, Deb Arcand, directed at the driver (who couldn't possibly hear it):

"You better be nice to us, because if you're not nice to us, the next time, we're not going to let you go in...
That's the way it goes.  Those are the NEW rules."

What I had to double check was if the vehicle was the one I thought it was, and it was.

Some weeks later, that vehicle was vandalised during the night.  It's windshield, which just happened to have been newly replaced, was smashed, and the passenger side was damaged, as if it had been keyed.

The vandalism was not caught on the regular Artspace security cameras.  Due to the strike, the angle of the camera was changed to record the entry of the parking lot, rather than this section of the parking lot.

So we have no idea who did it.

No other vehicles had been damaged that night.

Update: Sept. 30

It has been pointed out that the above statement could be misinterpreted.

So I will repeat, again.  We have no idea who vandalized that vehicle.  The point was that this is because the security camera was moved due to the picketer actions.  Otherwise, that vehicle would have been within view of the camera.

A few days after that vehicle was vandalized, another was entered and rifled though, with nothing stolen but some loose change and a package of gum.  There was no break-in damage because the owners were not aware that a broken lock was not manually locked.  The guess is that whoever did it went from vehicle to vehicle, testing doors, until one was found that was unlocked.

Again, this would have been caught by the building security camera, had it not been adjusted to cover the picketers.

Property damage


You know, with all the attention this blog has started to get thanks to AUPE's going after our supporters, I was all prepared to write a post today about how things in the last while have NOT been as bad as before.  Aside from the political rallies and hoo-rah visits and photo opps with AUPE executives, things have actually improved.

Yes, they are still picketing our private homes, but they aren't blocking people's cars anymore.

Yes, they still target some people more than others for verbal harassment, but it's not as excessive as it was.

Yes, some of our members have to use the back door to the high rise to get in and out of their homes to avoid the picketers, but that has more to do with the residual effects of previous behaviour than current actions.

I was actually going to defend the picketers, because as bad as they can still get, we don't want them to be accused of doing things they aren't anymore.  I was even going to give them some credit for their improvements.

Then a member sent in some images.

First, some background.

Trespassing has long been an issue, even taking the 4 ft easement into account.  We've put private property signs all over the place.  Some of them came down due to weather damage, and yesterday, a few of them got replaced.

Another issue we've found disturbing is that a couple of the picketers keep bringing their kids to the picket line.  One in particular has two little ones she'd let run around all over the place, including down the hill and into where the below-street-level townhouse doors are.

Now we have this.  These are screen captures from some video we don't have a copy of, yet.


Today, while the picketers were here, they allowed the kids to not only run around up and down the hill and into the townhouse area (because of the 4 ft easement rule, the picketers can't go down there, which means the kids are completely unsupervised, as well as being allowed to trespass on private property), but allowed them to wreck one of the replaced private property signs.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

We're learning all kinds of new things

Thanks to AUPE's actions here at Artspace since May 7, we've all been going through a steep learning curve.  So much of this has been completely outside of our experiences.

With AUPE's latest litigious actions, we now know about something called SLAPP.

From the wikipedia entry:

A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.[1]

Wow.  That sounds like what AUPE has been trying to do with SAIL before the Labour Board!

The typical SLAPP plaintiff does not normally expect to win the lawsuit. The plaintiff's goals are accomplished if the defendant succumbs to fear, intimidation, mounting legal costs or simple exhaustion and abandons the criticism. A SLAPP may also intimidate others from participating in the debate. A SLAPP is often preceded by a legal threat

Well, I don't know if AUPE expects to win or not.  We're talking about a union, with millions of dollars in union dues to finance them, going after private citizens.  I'd guess it's that whole fear and intimidation part they're really after.  That and costing them lots of money to defend themselves.

Abuser Tactics Bingo, anyone?  Oh, wait... is that defamatory?

The difficulty is that plaintiffs do not present themselves to the Court admitting that their intent is to censor, intimidate or silence their critics. Hence, the difficulty in drafting SLAPP legislation, and in applying it, is to craft an approach which affords an early termination to invalid abusive suits, without denying a legitimate day in court to valid good faith claims.

Funny it should be stated this way, what with AUPE filing so many bad faith complaints over the years.  That and union busting seems to be their automatic go-to position.

SLAPPs take various forms. The most common used to be a civil suit for defamation, which in the English common law tradition was a tort. The common law of libel dates to the early 17th century and (unusual in English law) is reverse onus, meaning, once someone alleges a statement is libelous, the burden was on the defendant to prove that it is not. In England and Wales, the Defamation Act 2013 removed most of the uses of defamation as a SLAPP by requiring the proof of special damage. Various abusive uses of this law including political libel (criticism of the political actions or views of others) have ceased to exist in most places, but persist in some jurisdictions (notably British Columbia and Ontario) where political views can be held as defamatory.

Reverse onus?  Yeah.  I can see that as being a problem.  I wonder how Alberta has dealt with this?

A common feature of SLAPPs is forum shopping, wherein plaintiffs find courts that are more favourable towards the claims to be brought than the court in which the defendant (or sometimes plaintiffs) live.[citation needed]

Can that even happen here?  Does our system allow for picking and choosing courts? Or would that be judges?

Other widely mentioned elements of a SLAPP are the actual effectiveness at silencing critics, the timing of the suit, inclusion of extra or spurious defendants (such as relatives or hosts of legitimate defendants), inclusion of plaintiffs with no real claim (such as corporations that are affiliated with legitimate plaintiffs), making claims that are very difficult to disprove or rely on no written record, ambiguous or deliberately mangled wording that lets plaintiffs make spurious allegations without fear of perjury, refusal to consider any settlement (or none other than cash), characterization of all offers to settle as insincere, extensive and unnecessary demands for discovery, attempts to identify anonymous or pseudonymous critics, appeals on minor points of law, demands for broad rulings when appeal is accepted on such minor points of law, and attempts to run up defendants' costs even if this clearly costs more to the plaintiffs.[citation needed]


Very interesting.

Video of the Day: The view from inside

Here is another video of what it was like for the replacement workers, inside the security vehicle, taken on May 9, the third day of the strike.

We have all been really impressed with the replacement workers.  They put up with this abuse, day after day, with grace and aplomb.  While on the job, they maintained an excellent attitude, and our user members got to know what good care was really like.

One thing the picketers have managed to do is demonstrate that they, themselves, are contemptuous bullies.  Learning that many of them are care workers at places like seniors' residences and care facilities is rather horrifying.  I can't imagine having someone like this being my own care giver, or providing care for a family member.

All Quiet on the Artspace Front

It has been relatively quiet here at Artspace recently. Why? Who knows? Maybe it's the weather. It is officially fall, and the weather is turning colder. Maybe the picketers don't like the cold. I haven't seen very many of them out there lately, and I haven't really heard much from them, either. Then again that could be because my windows and doors are closed and I hear hardly anything, let alone the rantings of picketers.But how long will this quiet last? There have been rumors that if the AUPE does not get their way, they will once again ramp up their actions outside of our homes. It has happened in the past.

On Canada Day, the AUPE showed up uninvited and unwelcomed. They held a big Canada Day/AUPE solidarity party on the street and sidewalks of my neighborhood. About a month later, after SAIL rejected the mediator's report, our Saturday afternoon was disrupted by the rantings and ravings of the AUPE's communications officer and "fake" lawyer. These men are supposedly professionals, but their behavior certainly did not reflect that. You can see them in action on our YouTube site with the videos entitled "Street Theatre". Their behavior was so ludicrous and abusive that it brought at least one Artspace member to tears.

Then the day after we celebrated surviving 100 days of being under siege, the AUPE came out with about 100 people. Again they came unwelcomed, but this time they also came unannounced. They only stayed for about two hours but the impact was great. They invaded our home with loud noise, including African drums, music and bullhorn. It was extremely loud and disruptive. Perhaps the most upsetting, at least for some of us, was their attempt to sing as a group.

About the same time that all this was happening we finally got some attention in the public and on social media. Suddenly, people were seeing AUPE's abusive behavior in our neighborhood. They began to check things out. Some even began to question the AUPE. Suddenly, things got relatively quiet in our neighborhood. And AUPE began inviting everyone to come and see the "peaceful picket line" for themselves. They won't admit it but they were in damage control.

So, yes, it has been relatively quiet here. But for how long? Only time will tell.

Wow. Can they make themselves look even worse?

There are so many ways AUPE's actions against the Artspace community has made themselves look bad.

The first was their decision to picket our private homes, rather than the employer, SAIL.  We've heard a number of justifications from them about this; they've defined us as a long term care facility, they've claimed that because "management" lives there, our entire community is fair game, and they've told some of our members outright that, to them, Artspace and SAIL are one and the same.

The other was for them to be so aggressive and adversarial, right from day one.  They targeted everyone, including those who had nothing to do with the labour dispute.  The justification we heard for that was that, since all Artspace members were co-owners of the co-op, that meant they were also all co-owners of SAIL, therefore we were all fair game.

Which, of course, isn't how things work, but it was good enough for them.

They could have picketed the SAIL office; they would have gotten permission to do so on private property, seeing as how most Artspace members are actually very pro-union and respect people's right to strike and picket.

Then there were things like the use of the air raid siren, the frequent trespassing, verbal abuse, racism, verbal abuse, the bull horn and its sound effects (loud enough that many mistook it for the air raid siren), sudden, evening street parties, and so on.  Oh, and Avocatzo leaving all those comments on the blog.  Where are you, Avocatzo?  We haven't had a comment from you in ages!

Let's not forget the frivolous complaints being made against SAIL to the labour board.

After almost 2 months of AUPE's siege here at Artspace, it was discovering their plans to hold a party at our home on Canada Day, with an open invitation to any and all, for free Fat Franks hot dogs, that lead to this blog being created.  This was our very first blog post (posts before then were backdated to the appropriate dates).

After all this time, trying to call attention to what AUPE was doing to our community, this blog finally gave Artspace members, friends, family and supporters, a voice that could be neither ignored, nor silenced.  We could finally tell the world what we were experiencing, the effect it was having on us, on many levels, the damage they were doing to us, and how it made us feel.

It took a while, but thanks to support from some amazing people on social media, with a few brave attempts from regular media, eyeballs were finally turning towards what was happening to us here at Artspace.

One positive thing about this attention is that it forced AUPE's picketers to start to tone down the abusive behaviour; sort of.  Then they tried some damage control.

Problem is, the damage is already done.  The effects their abusive behaviour has had on our members doesn't just suddenly end, because things are quieter now.  Especially when they go and do things like this, this and this.

So even when they're trying to behave, they still end up making themselves look really bad.

But now, they've really gone and jumped the shark.

Just take a look at what's been called to our attention.

AUPE sues tweeter, blogger in $500,000 defamation suit
By Ryan Cormier, Edmonton Journal September 26, 2014
The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees has filed a $500,000 defamation lawsuit against a local tweeter, an Ontario politician and an unidentified blogger for Internet statements about an ongoing labour strike.
The lawsuit, filed in late August, claims that Kathleen Smith ­— known on Twitter as @KikkiPlanet­ — and Jason Tucker, a politician seeking the Conservative nomination in the new federal riding of Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas made “false and defamatory statements” about the union.

That's right.  AUPE has filed suit against some of our supporters.  Kathleen's supportive tweets were the catalyst that finally forced AUPE to pull back the abusive behaviour, and for that, we are grateful.  What's amazing is that they've included someone who's written a single blog post about us, after coming to Artspace for our 100 Day vigil and spending time talking to members about what's been going on.

One. Blog. Post.

From a guy in Hamilton.


Oh, and this...

The suit also lists an unidentified Jane Doe as a defendant that they believe is an Artspace resident whose blog has detailed the ongoing labour dispute.

Well, we know who they think runs this blog.  They've mentioned it often enough when they harass her.

Problem is, as has been stated numerous times, this blog isn't one person.

Oh, sure, it started off with just one person physically starting it, but that changed within days.  There are several admins, the number of which changes as people's abilities to assist changes.  We even have someone who volunteers as an editor for those who have difficulty writing.  Then there are the contributors, which includes people who don't actually live in Artspace.

There is no one person who owns and runs this blog.  There is no one person who writes the posts.

What we have done is talk about what has happened to us, and the effect it has had on us.

We've also started uploading some of the security video, which they knew full well could happen, since there are signs all over the high rise saying so.

We have made what is happening here available for the general public to see.

All anyone has to do is check out the videos.  If anything has defamed AUPE, it's their own picketers behaviour.

Oh, and speaking of defamation...

This suit just makes themselves look even worse, and the fall out is already starting.

Here are a few quotes from Facebook (they're public, but I won't include names; you never now - AUPE might try to sue them, too!), starting with:
The AUPE has filed a law suit against me as a result of my advocating for the victims of their activities at Artspace. The filed claim includes a monetary amount for damages.
So not only have they victimized the people of Artspace, the AUPE will attempt to silence private citizens who stand up to advocate for Artspace residents.

Somehow - I suspect suing an advocate will make AUPE look even worse. Face-palm.

Very important! Please read. Please please please.....and like this link to support Kiki Planet aka Kathleen Smith.

Our libel and slander and defamation laws are some of the most restrictive in this supposedly free country. The legislation regarding journalistic responsibility now includes bloggers. Unfortunately, most bloggers do not have money and legal defence team on call, and an employer to frame the issue in any way. This is ridiculous.

When the likes of Ezra Levant can impugn Trudeau and turn an innocent and sweet photo into a scene from Game of Thrones, without anyone having a hairy fit or talking lawsuits ( well he HAS decided not to engage with Sun Media) it makes me wonder how THIS situation can even exist.

It makes me wonder if my highlighting this situation will end up costing me time and money.

It makes me right pissed off.

I love MY union. It isn't this union. But it is a union. And this situation makes me, as a union supporter, look bad.

And... While I am not personally involved in this situation, I have a friend who has had to leave Artspace, because of PTSD rearing it's ugly head, as he went through months of what has been described and recorded and disseminated- by KiKi and others named in similar lawsuits.

That is complete crap. My friend should be able to live in his HOME without being afraid and anxious as to what is going on just outside the main doors.

How can this happen? Seriously- all of this- how can this actually happen? In Canada...
Still looking for that new planet. If anyone has a lead or two, I would appreciate it about now....

This seems monumentally stupid on the AUPE's part, if only because there's heaps of video evidence of the stuff that Kathleen Smith was talking about in her tweets. It's also despicable, given that it's clearly a SLAPP and an attempt to punish someone for telling the truth - and deter others from doing the same.

I already was pretty sure I knew what was going on (I have my ability to put two and two together), so I am THRILLED to see Ryan's article. Guess what AUPE? Not only did you pick the wrong woman to mess with, now EVERYONE's gonna know exactly what type of asses you're being over the whole ArtSpace situation. Think the truth was bad enough coming out of the Ginger's mouth? Let's see how you like it when EVERYONE else weighs in!
On a more serious note, do I tell you often enough how honoured I am to be your friend and have your example of how to be fearless when it comes to stating the truth and helping others? You are amazing & I love you!

What a joke! There is video, photo, and testimonial evidence of ALL the accusations. Surely the courts can't take this seriously?! I've been to Artspace. I've witnessed the tears, the fear, and heard the concerns. Don't back down! It's about time these jerks got put in their place!!

Ha! A defamation suit only works if the criticism is groundless and a lie. Nice try, AUPE. Funny how they charge you with harassment, when they are the ones harassing you, a private citizen, who has the right to call it as she sees it and speak out.

Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms
---Rights and freedoms in Canada
1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
Fundamental Freedoms
---Fundamental freedoms
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:(a) freedom of conscience and religion;(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and(d) freedom of association.
In other words, if it is true then it is not defamation!

There are many more.

Then there's twitter.

Can you actually libel a union, as opposed to an individual? Can you by extension libel a corporation or a government? #honestlyasking

AUPE is suing @KikkiPlanet? I doubt they even have a legal case, but from a p-r perspective, it's disastrous. This will never get to court.

@Paulatics @KikkiPlanet Wow, this already looks so bad on the AUPE.Now this? Suing people for having an opinion.

@KikkiPlanet You know I'm really not sure they considered the PR and comms disaster this will be. Not so clever eh? ;)

And these are just what came out within hours of the Journal's article being posted.

Seriously, AUPE; who thought this was a good idea?  You're just digging yourselves into a deeper and deeper hole.

Well, one thing's for sure. It's going to call a lot more attention to this blog and all those videos.


If you're visiting this blog because of the Edmonton Journal article, please feel free to go through the posts and the videos and decide for yourselves.

Make sure you subscribe to the youtube channel, because - slowly but surely - more videos are making their way online.

Just like the signs all around the high rise said could happen.

You can start with this unusually long video, from early in the strike.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Trying to figure it out

The last couple of posts have seen a lot of attention lately.  For those who are visiting this blog for the first time and checking out the videos, thank you for taking the time to check things out and seeing for yourself what has been happening here - and from the stats, people have been spending a LOT of time checking it out! For our many return visitors, thank you for your continued support. For the picketers, AUPE staffers and certain others that are also visiting regularly, I hope what you see here opens your eyes to the effects your actions are having on our community, and will make you rethink what you have been doing.

Because it's not working.

The last while has been relatively quiet.  The picketers have been showing up at about 5am.  People are still being awakened in the wee hours by loud talking and laughter.  The picketers then leave after a few hours, but return in the afternoon, in time to give the mail carrier a hard time as he tries to deliver our mail, camp out in front of the West raised bed garden, making it impossible for able-bodied pedestrians, never mind people with walkers or wheelchairs, to pass, forcing them to use the road.

They do their usual shtick of sucking up to one group of Artspace members while still verbally harassing others, in an obvious attempt to play Artspace members against each other.  There is still the occasional yelling, horn honking and the use of noise makers.

Under normal circumstances it would all be very juvenile and pathetic.

These are not normal circumstances.

They are still laying siege to our private homes.

They are still holding us hostage.

Some have questioned our use of terms like hostage to describe what is happening here.  Especially as the overt activity has toned down, as the spotlight has been shone on their abusive behaviour towards Artspace members and others.  We know that AUPE's "counsel" has mocked us for the use of the term terrorism in his attempts to invalidate how picketers actions make us feel.

Let's take a quick look at definitions, then.  Hostage means "a :  a person held by one party in a conflict as a pledge pending the fulfillment of an agreement b :  a person taken by force to secure the taker's demands  2 :  one that is involuntarily controlled by an outside influence "

This is exactly what is happening to Artspace members.  The "force" is their physical presence around our homes, their abusive behaviour, and their targeting of individuals.  The conflict is the labour dispute between SAIL and AUPE.  The demands are for Artspace members, most of whom have nothing to do with the labour dispute, but also SAIL user members, to turn on the SAIL board and force them to give in to AUPE's demands, even though SAIL can't afford those demands. We are supposed to turn on our friends and neighbours - they've even gone so far as to suggest we evict our board members (showing a complete lack of human decency, never mind ignorance of how a co-op is run).   Plus, as they so loudly demanded of us, many Artspace members have talked to the SAIL board, as well as Artspace board members.  We are informed.  We know that SAIL simply can't meet their demands without eventually going bankrupt.  Since Artspace is NOT an institution or long term care facility, we understand that that means user members would lose the independence and personal autonomy SAIL is able to give them.  For those of us who are not SAIL user members, that remains important even for us.  After all, all it takes is an accident, a sudden stroke or heart attack, or just plain aging, and who knows; any one of us might suddenly find ourselves in the position of applying for SAIL's services.

What about terrorism?  That is defined as "The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons."

Again, what has been done here qualifies.  We, as a community, have been invaded, laid siege to, used as hostages, harassed, intimidated, etc. for months.  Terrorism isn't necessarily about violence, as we hear about so much in the news.  It's about the effect actions have on the targets.  It's not just about governments and politics, but can also be about domestic situations, or even between individuals.

What we're still trying to figure out is, why did AUPE choose to do what they did, and what are try trying to accomplish?

The why, as far as we have been able to determine in our conversations, seems to be; because they've done it before and gotten away with it.  Either their victims capitulated, or were worn down; I don't know.  However, a number of us had talked to the security guards while they were here, and we were told that they've never seen it as bad as what was being done to us, here in Artspace.

So why has Artspace been singled out?  It's not even about SAIL, because we know AUPE justifies their picketing of our private homes by refusing to accept that Artspace Inc and SAIL Inc are separate legal entities.  They have deliberately targeted people they know have nothing to do with the labour dispute.  People who have no say or control over SAIL's ability to meet their demands.


What are they trying to accomplish?

They can't be trying to save the jobs of the striking care workers; most already have other jobs - for some, working for SAIL was already their second job, even before the strike.  If SAIL is forced to meet their demands and goes under, they lose their jobs - the union even warned them of that possibility when they voted to go on strike.

Publicly, they blather on about dignity and respect, but those are intangibles.  Their demands are for money.

The SAIL model has a lot of potential.  After almost 25 years, it is a model that has proven to be beneficial.  Users get to have a level of independence and personal autonomy impossible in a care facility they would otherwise be forced to live in.  Health outcomes are better, which not only benefits the user members, but also AHS, as it means fewer care hours needed, less medication needed, few hospitalizations, etc., all of which saves AHS - and the taxpayers - money.  It's even better for the staff, because they get to stay in one location, rather than have to travel from place to place to provide these home care services.  Their workload is reduced, as is the time spent in travel. It's win-win-win.

Now, if the union had accepted SAIL's offers before, this strike would never have started.  Clearly, offers made within the SAIL budget were not acceptable.

Being a non-profit funded entirely by AHS, SAIL has no way to increase their revenue.  Yes, one can argue that AHS should increase funding for care, but that is an issue well beyond SAIL. That is a political issue for the provincial government to deal with, and that could take years.

SAIL - and AHS - can only work with what they have right now.

So what benefit is there to demand increases beyond the company's capability to pay?

What benefit is there to declare all of Artspace as a "facility" and target people who have no say in the labour dispute, rather than focus on the actual employer?

What benefit is there to engage in abusive behaviour at Artspace?

What benefit is there to turn down all of SAIL's in-budget offers, and drag the dispute on and on?

What are they really trying to accomplish, here?

Because what they really seem to be accomplishing is tarnishing their own image (granted, they didn't seem to have a very good image before this; something we would never have known if they hadn't done what they have to our community).

They have accomplished revealing to Artspace members what the picketing "care" staff are really like, resulting in our user members no longer wanting them to come into their private homes, out of fear for their own safety and level of care.

A side effect of their actions is that they have woken up a lot of Artspace members.

We have come to know our neighbours better than ever.

We have come to learn who among our neighbours can be trusted and relied on in the face of adversity.

We have grown closer and stronger as a community.

We have become more aware of just how easily our human rights can be overturned in favour of a powerful and wealthy organization - and we are appalled.

We have become more aware of what is really important, and what is worth fighting for.

Our right to live in peace in our home.

Our right to live independently, even when we need some help to do it.

Our right to control our own lives.

Our right to stand up to those who harass and abuse us.

Our right to speak out about what has been done to us and our community.

Whatever it is that AUPE is really trying to accomplish here, we still haven't been able to completely figure out, though they have certainly provided us with many ideas as to their real motivations.

Somehow, I don't think what they have really accomplished, through their own actions against the Artspace community, is what they intended.


THIS is worth fighting for.