Unionized city workers

Apparently, our city (aka Hogtown, the Big Smoke) is in dire need of cash.

That is actually quite hilarious considering what I have learned today.

What I have learned today is that the city has plenty of cash. So much cash, in fact, that a city worker, who gets called in during an on-call scheduled duty period to work overtime, is paid for four hours of duty time at time-and-a-half. Even if the worker doesn’t put in the whole four hours.

Let me draw you a picture:

Worker reports for regular duty from 7 am – 3 pm. It is understood that there are several union-enforced breaks, and lunch. This translated into the workday being more like 5 or 6 hours, not 8 hours.

Once a month or so each worker puts in so-called on-call duty. For when there are mechanicals out on the roads, for example.

The overtime pay is time-and-a-half and is paid for a minimum of a 4-hour shift.

If the worker does in fact get called, and the work takes, say, 20 minutes, this worker still gets paid time-and-a-half for a 4-hour shift. Even though he never worked the four hours.

This time-and-a-half for a 4-hour shift pay on top of the regular, already inflated salary these people are making, is coming out of the taxpayers’ pocket.

That would be my unemployed, stay-at-home parent pocket.

Interestingly, the worker I happen to know is also an inhabitant of this city. He is a homeowner, and a taxpayer.

If you ask me, this is not only a waste of taxpayers’ money, but also a disgrace.

Funny that this same week we received a notice from the federal government that we are receiving additional child tax credit benefits for having had a second child. The most prominent part of the notice however wasn’t the bottom line, but the middle portion that describes that we are being deducted $90 of the total amount for making over $37,000 (give or take) in family income.

If you know anyone who is living above the poverty line on $37,000 in this city, let me know.

Where’s the money?

♪ Money money money
must be funny
in the rich man’s world… ♫

That’s an ABBA song…

Many of my peers delayed having children until they were well into their 30s. Money, or the perceived lack of, was often at least one significant contributing factor for this delay.

Most people are consciously aware that children cost money. There’s food, shelter, diapers, education funds, toys, stuff.

And all that stuff costs money. But it’s not until well after the offspring has integrated himself into your world that you begin to realize just how much money you spend on his well being.

Or on his entertainment.

This is because in today’s western society, batteries are a part of this entertainment.

Sure we used batteries before the kids were born. But we never used to be big battery consumers.

But now we receive things, toys in particular, requiring batteries from all kinds of people.

Some of these people do not have small children themselves, or have grown children. They do not realize that certain toys come without batteries included in the package. So when the child unwraps the toy, and wants to play with it, and can’t because of the missing batteries, it’s usually daddy that has to make a quick trip to the local convenience store to pick up some inflatedly priced batteries.

We try to be responsible battery consumers. We keep the used ones in a jar, save the jar for Environment Day, and dispose of them in the environmentally proper way as is recommended (and should be enforced in some way if you ask me). We usually had two mason jars to bring to the hazardous waste depot, which I thought was still a lot for a year’s worth of batteries.

Today, I replaced the mason jars with pickle jars. Pickle jars are much bigger. Especially those that we get at the Polish Deli.

Most toddler toys that are battery operated are crap. But some are not. Either way, we have them in the house. Gift-givers who provide the batteries with the toy may save us some initial cost, but if the toy is well-loved by the child, chances are sooner or later mommy or daddy have to go to the store to pick up more batteries.

I have now reached a point where I am reading Canadian Tire (or Walmart, or Zellers, etc) flyers more thoroughly. I am looking for a battery sale. I need some. Lots actually. And of different sizes.

I can’t control what gifts the kids receive, I can only make suggestions. And I will need those batteries anyway at some point. For things like flashlights, or digital cameras.

So perhaps the next time one of the children will receive money from a well-intentioned relative as a gift, I will take a portion of it away and put it into the battery-saving jar. And place that jar next to the pickle jar with the dead batteries in it.

Start ’em early, I say.