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» babble   » from far and wide   » manitoba, ontario, quebec   » John Stammers in memoriam

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Author Topic: John Stammers in memoriam
Dafydd
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posted 25 March 2006 09:21 PM      Profile for Dafydd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Union mourns John Stammers, 62
www.opseu.org
Mar 25, 2006 3:50 pm
It is with deep sorrow that the members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union learned of the death today of John Stammers, 62.

John Stammers was a professor of Accounting at Centennial College in Scarborough. He was critically injured after being struck by a car while on picket duty on March 20.

“On behalf of my local, and all college faculty across the province, and all members of the union, I want to extend our condolences and our deepest sympathy to John’s family,” said Eileen Burrows, president of OPSEU Local 558. “All of us at Centennial are devastated by this news.

“John was a wonderful colleague,” Burrows said. “He was very popular with students. He was always patient. He always gave them all his time and attention. And he always took an interest in making the college work better for students.”

Mr. Stammers was a union supporter and a member of a local union committee, Burrows said.

“The local has been receiving cards and e-mails of support from faculty members and OPSEU locals across the province ever since he was injured,” she said. “John was a colleague who stood up for the same things all college faculty stood up for, and we will miss him.”


From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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Babbler # 478

posted 28 March 2006 04:45 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Dafydd, I am sorry that I did not see and respond to this thread earlier.

(I was going to start a discussion on John Stammers' death on the picket line but then decided to check around and see whether we already had one. Sorry for taking so long.)

I'm still disturbed that the police have apparently closed their investigation into Mr Stammers' death. I understand that OPSEU is going to press for further investigation - we need something on the public record to account for what happened, for the disturbing witness statements that have been published, and simply for the horror of this good man's sudden death in what should have been an innocent, legal, well-protected labour action.

In a civilized country, striking workers would not be facing vehicles that feel free to run their lines.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
robbie_dee
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posted 28 March 2006 05:12 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My sympathies are with Mr. Stammers family right now.

Its outrageous that in modern times, a worker could still be risking their life to walk a lawful picket line, and I join in Skdadl's call for a public investigation.


From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
thwap
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posted 28 March 2006 05:24 PM      Profile for thwap        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
No charges to be laid: CBC

The guy who hit him sounds like a first-class moron:

quote:
"He jumped on my f------ car as I was inching forward," the driver of the Toyota, who only identified himself as Josh, told Global News Toronto. "I was doing about five kilometres as he jumped on my car so I kept rolling, wasn't gassing and he jumped off my car and I looked out my mirror and said what a f----' idiot and kept driving."

It was unclear whether the driver knew the severity of the teacher's condition when he made the comments.


Ugh! My source was the National Post!

Evidently this guy was dropping his daughter off at a daycare and refused to stop for one second to take a leaflet. As I heard it, he began to yell abuse at the strikers. Stammers joined the group at the guys window and put his hand on the man's car. This enraged the driver who took off, shunting Stammers aside and causing him to fall to the pavement. I've been looking for a source for this version but I've had no luck. If anyone finds another version, or a corroborating source, I'll welcome it.

Here's student testimonials:


quote:
He is an excellent teacher and very helpful.He knows his work and good at it.

quote:
Simply Accounting. He is a sign of wisdom. He is very smart and rapid thinking in his mind. You will enjoy his class. My term is just started but so far he is a lot of fun in teaching student patiently without pushing us to the wall. If we don't understand, he gives us extra time to finish our homework. Highly recommended.

quote:
Good teacher, very helpful and he knows his work.

From: Hamilton | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
faith
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posted 28 March 2006 05:36 PM      Profile for faith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It seems in BC everytime there is a strike at a public building some jerk of a global news/ province newspaper consumer idiot will take it upon him/herself to act on the anti-union rhetoric that the MSM pumps out.
I don't know how often I have read about someone trying to drive their car through a picket line and then crying the blues to the press, who then dutifully report on the bad big union strikers. The strike at UBC comes to mind.
It's too bad there wasn't a video camera present. How terrible for the man's family.

From: vancouver | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 28 March 2006 05:49 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
It's too bad there wasn't a video camera present.

According to the CBC website, there was a security camera that provided police with useful footage. The CBC also says that Stammers jumped up on the hood of the car in question.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 28 March 2006 08:04 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The Globe and Mail also refers to "surveillance tapes":
quote:
Traffic services Staff Sergeant Scott Baptist said that after reviewing Centennial's surveillance tapes, the investigation is now closed.

"We . . . determined that no charges should be laid," he said.

Eileen Burrows, president of Local 558 of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, said her organization is not satisfied with the investigation and is in the process of obtaining the tapes to see whether they can spot anything that could lead to a charge.



From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 28 March 2006 08:42 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
3 or 4 workers are killed every day on the job in this country. And some are killed trying to protect thier jobs. These are gifts of capitalism to the Canadian people. I hope Stammers is honoured for a long time.
From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 29 March 2006 09:09 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Two points:

First, witnesses have been quoted in the G&M as saying that Mr Stammers was caught on the car and then tossed on to the hood as the driver lurched forward. Such statements need to be tested in a public proceeding.

Second, I am not arguing that the driver should be charged - I don't know. However, anyone with any kind of labour consciousness will be feeling that there is something wrong with laws that put lawfully striking workers in danger in the first place.

The left used to fight to have picket lines respected, for everyone's sake and to avoid tragedies like this one. It should not be legal to cross a picket line, although there may be reasonable restrictions on where picket lines may be placed.

Picket lines are meant to inconvenience people. That is the only bargaining tool, the only one, that organized working people have - to withdraw their labour in such a way that everyone recognizes how important their labour is.

What people who are inconvenienced are supposed to do is complain UP - not to the workers, who are exercising the only right they have, but to those who refuse to bargain with them.

Attacking anyone on a picket line for slowing down your life is not only stupid and unproductive but often dangerous, as we see in this case. We should have laws that would prevent such confrontations in the first place.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 29 March 2006 09:28 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:

Picket lines are meant to inconvenience people. That is the only bargaining tool, the only one, that organized working people have - to withdraw their labour in such a way that everyone recognizes how important their labour is.

I don't want to detract unduly from the tone of the thread, which of course I agree with, but let's talk very generally about picket lines for a second.

Strikes are meant to inconvenience the employer - by withdrawing the labour of those who make the operation function. Sometimes they are ineffective because the employer doesn't really need that particular labour that badly at that particular moment, or is able to work around the situation (using management personnel, scabs, deferring some work...) and hold out longer than the union.

Picket lines are designed to inform the world about the dispute and the demands; to advise customers, suppliers, etc. that a strike is on and encourage them to stay away for the interim; (in most provinces) to hinder scabs ("replacement" "workers"); and to make sure, within reasonable limits, that it won't be "business as usual".

Often, especially when dealing with public institutions or important service providers, unions have to strike (sorry) a very delicate balance between the need to obstruct the employer, and the risk of obstructing true "fourth" parties to the dispute - i.e. those who are neither the employer, the union, nor anyone doing business with the employer in any significant sense.

I have seen striking workers (including in my own union) get enthusiastic and take their picket line onto an autoroute (that's what we call freeways here), blocking lots of traffic until the confrontation with the cops is over. Usually that enthusiasm is born of frustration at being unable to effectively inconvenience their own struck employer. I have never seen such an event which assists the struggle nor enhances the workers' image in the eyes of those who should be their natural allies. I'm not saying you should never block traffic - far from it, there are times when the peace movement or others need to shut the city down - I'm talking about maintaining perspective and focus.

Having ranted on, none of the above is intended to apply to the loss of Brother Stammers. I mourn his passing and fully support the call for a full investigation to ensure that no part of this tragic event remains in the shade.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
HeywoodFloyd
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posted 29 March 2006 11:58 AM      Profile for HeywoodFloyd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
How more full of an investigation is required. The police reviewed the tapes and determined that no charges need to be laid.

Let sleeping dogs lie.

What if the tapes show something that casts Stammers or the union in a bad light?


From: Edmonton: This place sucks | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 29 March 2006 12:20 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by HeywoodFloyd:

What if the tapes show something that casts Stammers or the union in a bad light?

Why then, we destroy the tapes, right?


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
faith
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posted 29 March 2006 12:26 PM      Profile for faith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"Let sleeping dogs lie"?????
A man is dead. Even when we know that an accident has been the cause of a death there is often an inquiry. In this case it is questionable if there was an accident or some reckless endangerment.
In any case it would be prudent to have more investigation to ensure everyone that this man's death has been carefully reviewed, and therefore the man's memory respected.

From: vancouver | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 29 March 2006 12:55 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
If the initial investigation had found the driver guilty of endangerment or some similar, would we insist on a more thorough investigation (lest an innocent man be wronged)? Is this about being thorough, or about hoping for a different outcome?
From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
HeywoodFloyd
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posted 29 March 2006 01:39 PM      Profile for HeywoodFloyd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by faith:
In this case it is questionable if there was an accident or some reckless endangerment.

Not according to the police.

Oh, and I pretty much second Magoo's post.


From: Edmonton: This place sucks | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 29 March 2006 02:21 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Not according to the police.

Y
es and of course the police are always right In Harper land. Don'y question the police, don't question the military,if you're not doing anythign wrong nothing to fear...

From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 29 March 2006 02:30 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The concern of the police is different from the concerns of the union and the victim's family.

The police have satisfied themselves that there are no reasonable and probable grounds for laying charges. But that doesn't end the matter.

There may be grounds for a civil claim for negligence or assault, which would not require the criminal standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. There may also be evidence on the surveillance tapes that would be useful to the union in persuading the government to change the labour laws to give more protection to picketers.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
robbie_dee
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posted 29 March 2006 02:32 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
If the initial investigation had found the driver guilty of endangerment or some similar, would we insist on a more thorough investigation (lest an innocent man be wronged)?

I believe what would happen then would be called a "trial," and indeed I fully expect that it would involve a thorough inquiry into what happened as well as a requirement that any finding of guilt by the driver be proved "beyond reasonable doubt."

quote:
Is this about being thorough, or about hoping for a different outcome?

I don't know what the right outcome is. What I do know is that there are some acccounts which say Mr. Stammers jumped on the car, and there are other accounts which say the car lurched forward and he fell. Either way, somebody out there today is missing a father and a sibling and a teacher and a friend, and that is never right.

An inquiry can serve other purposes besides determining guilt as well. Like M. Spector said above, there are also questions about civil liability. An inquiry could also be held for the purpose of trying to prevent something like this from happening again.

[Edited to add response to M. Spector's point, which was posted at the same time as mine.]

[ 29 March 2006: Message edited by: robbie_dee ]


From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 29 March 2006 03:47 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
There may be grounds for a civil claim for negligence or assault,

That hadn't occurred to me. Fair enough.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged

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