Notes from the table.


lanterns.jpg

Photo from Parade of the Lost Souls last Saturday night (it looks much better in millions of colours than in the browser).

Had a bout of insomnia last night which got me out of bed earlier than normal this morning, so I’m making an update before meeting a fellow bargaining team member for breakfast. For those of you who don’t know, I’m in Ottawa at the moment as part of the national negotiating team for my union – something that has become a bit of a monthly affair as we trudge back and forth between home and the capital to sit across from an employer who pretty much refuses to negotiate. And yes, us unionists like to exaggerate these things – but *really* – they will not give us an answer to any of our proposals. Not one. And we’ve been at this for several months. Although I hate to engage in the predictions game, I’m pretty sure we’re going to be at this for at least a year before we have something – despite the fact that another bargaining table just settled in record time (difference being employer structures which I don’t want to bore you with).

Tomorrow I get to make my debut at the table with a full-fledged presentation on why our employer should provide a subsidized transit pass to members who take public transit to work. Beyond that, I don’t want to say too much, but I’m hoping I can share my notes on the subject at some point in the future.

For some reason, I am a bit homesick this trip which is unusual for me. It’s not as though Ottawa is at all foreign, but I really didn’t feel like coming out this time around and I’m here for a long time (10 days in total) which taxes my perspective on the whole thing a bit more. And it didn’t help to get here and then discover that one of my credit cards was maxed out due to a theft of my card-number which was then used at an office supply store in Brooklyn to ring up $2400 in charges a few days ago. Stuff like that just makes me want to curl up in my *own* bed as opposed to some overly-starched hotel monstrosity. Good thing is, I’ll get a lot into this trip vis a vis union and work and I have no plans to come back until the new year at this point. (Just in time for the really cold weather!)

I did have a moment yesterday (as I was reading an email from the student who’s been working for me and who has decided to return to school which necessitates hiring someone else when I get home) of wondering whether I’ve taken on too much this year. It’s not the time commitment so much as feeling the need to be in two or three places simultaneously – and because of things going on in my local office, I’m feeling like it would be better for me to be there right now. I also know that feeling is momentary and really, any one of the three parties I’m currently responsible to would get along just fine without me if I were to fugue* tomorrow.

Despite these (very) small misgivings (which are mostly just due to my tendency to be angsty anyway), I’m actually doing quite well at the moment and am very pleased with my presentation for tomorrow’s session. Three different people (trade union negotiators whose opinions I value) gave it a thumbs up yesterday with some suggestions and that really does give me a bit of confidence about the whole thing.

Hm. It really is looking about time for breakfast, so I’m signing off. Thanks for you folks who still talk to me when I’m away. It makes me feel less so.

* Fugue: Another long-loved word, not used in reference to music, but to the dissociative disorder that causes people to disappear into a new life. “A period during which a person suffers from loss of memory, often begins a new life, and, upon recovery, remembers nothing of the amnesic phase.”

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