Thursday, January 22, 2009

Terrific Tuesday & Whirlwind Wednesday

Tuesday was a phenomenal day. I spent most of the day watching all of the Obama inauguration coverage. What a thing to be watching. If I were American, I would have been entirely overwhelmed. Even as a Canadian, who has less to gain (hopefully gain; let's hope that Obama isn't the corrupt Chicagoan that the hubby's dad seems to think he'll turn out to be), I was still pretty touched. Mr. President's inauguration speech was, as always, a masterful piece of rhetoric and emotion. I'm going to have to find a transcript of it and give it a good read over. I'm very much a visual leaner, and so in only processing it aurally, I missed a lot.

Also going on Tuesday was the second day of our forced ratification vote. I headed over to the hotel where the voting was taking place in the afternoon, and walked into an emotional quicksand. Everyone was getting increasingly more nervous and wound up, and we were all desperate to have the voting be over and hear what the final count came to. At seven, we all packed up and made our way down to the Concord Cafe at Bloor & Ossington to grab some drinks and wait for the news. Over the first two hours, as more and more people started filtering in, the mood got more and more anxious and intense. We all desperately wanted the offer (not a terrible one for my unit, but a hugely damaging one for graduate assistants and contract faculty) to be voted down, and no one was at all confident that it would be. Everyone was talking quietly, drinking little, and looking generally freaked out. At around 8:50, DJ No-Capitalista showed up to start setting up, and then Sheila got up on stage.

She held her cell phone in her hand and spoke into the mic. Her words? "You will not freaking believe this." The room went very quiet. What did she mean? Good...or really, really bad? She caught her breath and went on: "Unit 1 voted 61%..............."


We went insane! Shouting, hollering, whistling, clapping, hugging, screaming! But then, suspense. Sheila's phone rang, just as we were about to hear the results of the vote for Unit 2, which we were all so worried about. "I can't talk right now! I'll call you back!"

Sheila went on: "Unit 2 voted!" Again, we went nuts! We were all hugely concerned that unit 2 would vote to ratify their offer, because although they stand to lose a lot (they're the contract profs), they're in a really tough financial situation right now as they haven't been paid in three months. The room was still going wild as Sheila read out the final unit's vote: "Unit three voted........70% no!"

Oh my lord, I'm still hoarse. We must have screamed and cheered for ten minutes. We had done it. All three units, in solidarity, had voted against an offer that York claims is their best, but we know isn't even a solid try. It was probably our happiest moment of the strike so far. The line up for the bar suddenly stretched to the back of the room, the DJ started spinning salsa and reggae, the food showed up, and we were in for a crazy party. Every cell phone in the room was in use as people called their friends and family to spread the news and to make sure that everyone who walks the lines with us was at the party. More and more people showed up and the room was packed.

My Northwest Gate friends and I danced our socks off until 2:00 in the morning. It was a great night. Of course, we had to be at Sheppard and Dufferin for a meeting at 9:00 am, but we made it. It was a phenomenal night. Even better was the moment when, after York's president belligerently declared that they would not bargain, we found out that York and the union would be back at the bargaining table with a new mediator that afternoon. Thank you, Premier McGuinty.

After wayyyy too little sleep (four hour? I've had naps longer than that), Katie and I zombie-stumbled our way over to the GMM, where we knitted, coloured, and listened to the normal combination of useful and nonsensical that are our general membership meetings. Then, it was back home for some groceries, a quick lunch, and some cookie baking before Hayley and I went to the mall to find her a party dress for her office post-holiday bash. We were surprisingly efficient (2 hours), and our boxes of Thai Express (mmmm...pad thai) in hand, we showed up back at my place just as my first two guests arrived.

As locations with lots of seating and not too much noise can be annoying to come by in Toronto, I offered to host a joint meeting of two of our EGSA committees, one which is planning our annual conference, and the other which is proposing to publish a journal based on the conference proceedings. Hayley and the hubby escaped to Chapters/the gym/our bedroom as the five of us brainstormed themes, budgeted GA hours, ate homemade chocolate chip cookies, and gossipped about strike goings-on. It was a good night, but boy was I thankful as I dragged myself to bed that I could sleep in this morning....


Mar said...

WOW busy times!
The school had an impromptu assembly for the Inauguration speech... and given that I was teaching Civics from 11:40 - 1, I marched my class down to the auditorium to watch the whole thing on the big screen projector and sound system... ended up having a FULL cafeteria... and for the most part the kids were all silent. I was so impressed at how many classes ended up there.