Fredericton — Rain clouds have been looming in New Brunswick’s capital city ever since CBC News reported that the members of the Fredericton Canadian Union of Public Employees have voted overwhelmingly in favour of striking for the first time in the union’s 60-year history.
The Manatee spoke with union member Joel Davidson about the proposed strike. “We want the normal things people look for when they go on strike,” he pleaded. “Everyone else always goes on strike, and they get what they want, and we figure it’s about time we do the same. Look at what happened with all those university teachers last year in Fredericton; they all went on strike and now I see them driving around in Chryslers and eating at the Hilltop. Livin’ large. I want a piece of that pie too — we all do.”
The City of Fredericton outside workers are responsible for such services as water and sewage treatment, pollution control, street maintenance and cleaning, traffic, parks and trees and more. They are a group of highly trained specialists and their absence could create chaos for the citizens of the City of Stately Elms.
Mayor Brad Woodside made a statement earlier today in reaction. “We will not be intimidated by these requests; we must provide a deal that is beneficial for all parties involved in the matter.” He went on to suggest that Fredericton citizens can do most of the work themselves. “The people of Fredericton are resilient and resourceful people, and I have the utmost confidence in their abilities to service themselves in this time of need. Our people can plow their own roads on their way to work. Our people can treat their own water; in fact, I propose that the city provide a Brita filter for all Fredericton citizens if the strike does happen. We can manage our own parks and trees and repair our own roads. Ask not what Fredericton can do for you, but what you can do for Fredericton.”
Shawn Patterson, a 30-year-old Fredericton native, did not agree with Mayor Woodside’s statement. “I’m not doing none of that stuff,” he said. “I don’t even shovel my own yard; there’s no way I’ll be shovelling the road too. I usually just leave my driveway covered in ice and snow all winter until it all melts away. I won’t even have to feel guilty about it anymore since Canada Post is cutting off their delivery services,” he added. “I used to do whatever I could to avoid the mailman in the winter.”
Northside Fredericton resident Emily Jefferies had a similar opinion. “I don’t even like the taste of Brita water. I’ll be thinking hard and long about moving away to somewhere with clean water like Saint John if this strike goes through. I’m not the only one either; my best friend Shirley said the same thing.” Shirley was not available for comment, nor could The Manatee find any actual proof of her existence.
Cheryl Lyons, an administrator with the city’s Parks and Recreation department, had strong words for Mayor Woodside: “It will take a lot more than a good J.F.K impersonation to win back the favour of this great city after you’ve got them cleaning their own sewage.” Lyons was right — it was an excellent impersonation; Woodside performed the accent perfectly and really got into character by using identical facial expressions and hand gestures of the former U.S. president.
The Manatee will be keeping close tabs on the happenings surrounding the strike as outrage and concern pours in from the citizens of Fredericton.