By Rachel Muenz
Lately, if you search “Toronto garbage strike 2009” on Google you’ll get around 224,000 hits. Even this year’s garbage strike in Windsor generates 109,000 hits on the popular search engine. But if you search “DriveTest strike 2009,” only 97,900 will come up.
In the media, Ontario’s DriveTest strike barely exists.
When Toronto’s city workers went on strike for five weeks this summer, it seemed to me there was something in the news almost every day about it. Even people who didn’t live in Toronto knew what was going on.
True, the Toronto strike affected a lot more areas than garbage, such as daycare, public pools, and parks. Those services impact everyone every day, not just aspiring drivers, driving schools and people who need road tests to renew their licences.
At the same time, it still affected just one city while the DriveTest strike hits drivers across all of Ontario. People who need licences to get jobs or for transportation in rural areas where there is no public transit are now stuck. Driving schools also say they’re losing business because of the strike.
Yet, I’ve only seen about two or three articles every week or two on the strike since it began Aug. 21 – about six weeks ago. There hasn’t even been updated in the media about whether or not the strike is still on.
I suppose people who care about the DriveTest strike can always check the organization’s website for the latest information. And I guess there are only so many stories you can do on upset teens, driving instructors and various other people who have been screwed over.
With Toronto’s strike, there were almost endless things to write about: people who couldn’t use their parks, the everyday torture of living among stinking bags of garbage, the city workers’ problems, and so on.
But it doesn’t seem fair that suffering Torontonians got more media attention than drivers and DriveTest workers from Ontario are getting for their frustrations. Because it’s not in the media, those who are unaffected by the labour dispute have no idea what’s going on. For them, there may as well not even be a strike.
It seems to me people hit by the DriveTest strike should at least be as visible in the media as those affected by Toronto’s city workers dispute. Everyone should be able to know the basics of the strike.
By the way, it’s early October and DriveTest workers are still on strike.
– with files from Upi.com, Cbc.ca, The Hamilton Spectator, Google.com, DriveTest.ca/