Transit union, city battle to get their message out
As motorists battle traffic gridlock in the capital, the transit union and the city are waging a war for public support.
"To me, the union leader needs to be changed. That is definitely not a professional guy. My 12-year-old daughter can answer better questions," said car salesman Stefan Polacek.
Others think the strike is designed to hurt the public: "I feel sorry for the bus drivers and I don't like the unions manipulating everybody because it's not worth it. Nobody wins in a strike," said commuter Dana Clark.
Public sentiment means Amalgamated Transit Union President Andr� Cornellier has a hard pitch to sell in a public relations battle that's impacting commuters and hurting an already crumbling economy.
"Inconveniencing people, what's wrong with that?" Cornellier told CTV Ottawa on Wednesday.
While some might perceive his comments unnecessary, those who know Cornellier say he's just passionate about what he believes in.
"Andr�'s an incredibly passionate individual and sometimes when he makes comments, it's picked up the wrong way," said Sean McKenny of the Ottawa Labour Council.
Picketers, however, are concerned their message isn't getting out.
"Everybody's saying the same -- we make $100,000 a year, nobody makes $100,000 a year. A few guys do, but they're working their derries to make that kind of money," said bus operator Bruce Roach.
The union is no longer speaking to the media and is now taking a different approach to getting its message to the public.
"We were told if the media wants to talk, to talk to Andr� Cornellier because there's too many stories going out. And the problem is the media is putting out whatever they feel they want to put out and the problem is the wrong message is being put across," said one striking transit worker.
CTV Ottawa was told the union is now planning to buy newspaper ads to tell their side of the story.
Members of the public, though, just want the issue resolved,
"We're in a miserable world right now. Let's work together and get out of this mess," said Polacek.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Joanne Schnurr