Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The world turned upside down

Ding ding ding ding! Urgent, four bells, this just in from Nova Scotia: Labor "offers" and management "demands."

Canada Post rejected its union’s latest contract proposal on Tuesday, saying the offer would increase the Crown corporation’s labour costs by $1.4 billion, but made a counter proposal that may get negotiations back on track.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said late Tuesday that Canada Post had dropped some demands and amended others. It also said statements from the employer’s chief negotiator "appear to justify" a return to intensive negotiations at the three sub-tables.

As a regular reader, you might have noticed that we're fond of A.J. Liebling around here -- most pithily,* the well rooted observation that in strike stories, "offers" come from management and "demands" come from labor. So it's worth paying attention when that wisdom is reversed, as in this tale appearing in the Halifax Chronicle Herald, forwarded by the bodacious linguist Q.Pheevr.

As Q points out, both sides get to do a little demanding and a little offering, but they also spend much of their time making "proposals." Seems like a pretty plausible idea.

* OK, except for "I can write better than anybody who writes faster and faster than anybody who writes better." 

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