“This Place is F*cked”

September 1st, 2014

Morale at Ash Sahi’s Canadian Standards Association (CSA) is quite low, and for good reason.  Even CUPE’s taken notice.  “Management regularly awards themselves annual pay raises of between 3 and 10 percent” while regular CSA workers who are “responsible for making the CSA a ‘cash machine’ accept less and less”. 

The “cash machine” reference, by the way, is from a Globe and Mail interview with CSA’s CEO, Ash Sahi, in late September, 2013.  He bragged about being awash in money and having no debt.  And he made these statements in the middle of “months of negotiations” with CUPE over a new collective agreement.  That’s like flashing a Rolex at a job fair.  When bargaining with unions, that’s catastrophic incompetence.  At CSA, that’s normal.

Its not just that CSA leadership is living large while the little people’s paycheques are getting smaller.  Its how the leaders are getting their money.

A lot of “mostly long term mid level Canadian CSA staff are in the process of being whacked over last 2 weeks […] and not with the generous packages that were once the norm when Rob Griffin was in charge […] and I’m sure they have stories to tell you”.  Indeed they do.

It turns out that getting more money means shifting CSA jobs to other countries.  China now has a large CSA staff, of locals of course, not Canadians.  And the CSA has a new facility in India.  The Calcutta Standards Association?  Then there’s the expansive CSA operation in Cleveland, and the CSA is moving even more jobs south later this year.  Consumer product safety certifications for all of Canada are already handled out of Ohio.  The Cleveland Standards Association?  There sure are a lot of foreigners running Canada’s standards regulator.

Even worse, “being whacked” at CSA is often an orchestrated affair to get around labour regulations.  Said of one CSA leader, “he forced out experienced people” to bring in low pay replacements, “unqualified people who would” cost less to keep.

But what if CSA lacks a legally justified basis for a layoff?  Well, in one case, a senior manager contacted Bonnie Rose (President, Standards), “to ask for layoff instructions, how to do it.”  The answer?  “Certain people were selected to receive no work at all as a prelude to layoffs.  These selections were based on who rubber stamped [the leaders’] edicts vs. who did their jobs”.

So quality people were starved of work in order to justify their termination as being redundant employees in order to hire cheaper and more ethically pliable replacements.

How do they get away with this?  Well, quoting Moamar Mustafa, “We’re invulnerable.

And they’re prepping to make this process even easier.  Ms Rose is “trying to promote psychological (mental) evaluation on manufacturer’s [employees], basically trying to make a standard on the human worker so that company or manufacturers can terminate on any terms that the CSA [standard designates], a Bonnie Rose Standard.”

This is the context in which Ash Sahi so publicly bragged about having become a “cash machine.”  No wonder CSA’s employees are upset.  One of them wrote to us, referring to their CEO as “Cash Sahi.”  We liked that letter.  We’re always working to be a safe place for folks who want to recover this regulator.

RestoreCSA was in Toronto recently and asked a CSA employee what its really like to work at CSA.  They responded with an example of a newly hired middle manager who lasted only two weeks in his new CSA job.  He didn’t get fired, he left of his own accord.  On arrival he had assessed his surroundings, the CSA’s direction, its processes and attitudes, and its leadership, and “within days concluded that ‘this place is f*cked’.”  Yes, so it seems.