[Canadian Union of Public Employees is just beginning a strike in Vancouver. Following is a letter that was e-mailed to the Downtown Eastside Enquirer by a Downtown Eastside resident whom we know to be a credible person. Like many Downtown Eastside residents on pensions or other fixed incomes, this reader has for years been regularly eating at the City-subsidized cafeteria in the Evelyn Saller Center on Alexander St.]

Hi again. I thought I would write you about the Saller Center after this morning’s display at the center. I couldn’t listen to anymore and had to leave without eating, I was that upset. First of all, on a regular basis, we are always made to wait for an extra 10 minutes before the staff gets things ready for us. This means that when they say that the cafeteria opens at 10:00am, it may open then but don’t expect the staff to start work for at least another 10 minutes. This is also extended for the afternoon opening of 3:30pm. We also have to wait for an extra 10 minutes then. Sometimes like this morning it was getting closer to the 15 minute mark. Add this up in dollar and cents to see how much money is squandered on a yearly basis. Let’s say $20 an hour for 8 employees. 10 minutes twice a day is almost $7 a day per person, times 8 people is $56 a day. Add that up for a year and I figure that the taxpayers waste at least $20,000 a year on cafeteria staff at this one centre alone. AMAZING and nothing is ever said about it.

One of the waitresses started talking union propaganda this morning and telling her coworkers that if anyone should say anything about it, to slow the work down to a crawl. I had to bite my tongue not to say that they couldn’t work much slower than they do on a regular basis. Another man asked if they were going to strike and in a very loud voice so that the whole room could hear, she stated that, ” you’re damn right we are going on strike. Don’t forget to recycle your garbage folks!” Clientele were guaranteed by Ernie, the center’s manager that all staff would continue to work through any work stoppage by the union and we would not be affected at all. Finally when one of the men asked her a question that I couldn’t hear, but quite civilly I might add, she got angry and told him that he shouldn’t listen to the media, that it is always biased and stupid. Gee, I hope that it doesn’t include blogging, I didn’t think that telling the truth where others won’t is stupid, or is it just me that sees this!

To read the rest of this original story, see Downtown Eastside Enquirer

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