9/11/07

Vancouver strikers made poor economic choice

Vancouver's outside government employees entered the 52nd day of their strike Sunday, and picketer Charlene Cranton found herself ever closer to financial trouble. "Times are getting tough out here. It's getting stressful," she told CTV British Columbia.

A recent YouTube video has taken a satirical look at the strike. Done in the style of a 1960s educational video, it shows a little boy named Bobby Burnaby whose father has given him a plate of pasta, garlic bread and glass of milk.

The boy's sister, Vicky Vancouver, only get an empty plate. But to fix the discrepancy, the father gives her a glass of water with powdered milk, along with a huge helping of flour and ketchup. "You've got a plate with one pound of food on it, just like your brother!" the narrator exclaims. "But in case Vicky complains to her friends that this is not fair, her father will prepare a graph to tell her that one pound of food is equal to one pound of food."

To Cranton, the strike has lost its humour -- if it had any in the first place.

"Times are getting tough out here. It's getting stressful," she said.

On Sunday, she took her daughter Montana with her to the picket line, so she could save money on a babysitter.

"The mortgage needs to be paid, the bills need to be paid, the kids need to be fed and things are getting tight," she said.

And while Montana just started another year at school, Cranton was unable to buy as many new supplies or clothes as usual.

"It's hard for her because we can't do the things that we used to do without the money," she said.

Meanwhile, fellow picketer Doug Taylor has had to dip into his savings to make ends meet.

He had hoped the strike would end two weeks ago, and says he'll be in trouble if it continues next month.

"I thought, 'I won't go and look for a part-time job,' and now I'm sort of regretting I didn't," he said.

Strike pay is about $250 a week, but some contract employees aren't earning any pay at all. Many are relying on credit to pay their bills.

Cranton is trying to remain optimistic.

"We'll survive. My employer will not starve us out," she said.

(ctv.ca)

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