As will be shown below, in some areas CEIU members were able to move toward a more progressive definition of service which focused on concrete benefits, not just processing speed, and on real human beings rather than abstractions.
CEIU's efforts to reach the grassroots have clearly been developmental -- aiming to tie members' concerns for their own jobs to a broader political consciousness.
(16) Paranoia, CEIU's semi-official newsletter (the official staff newsletter is Panorama), covered another meeting of employment centre personnel in Scarborough, where all present wanted to provide more services to clients
Many of the post-1980 generation of militant CEIU leaders came from this Branch, and their "extraordinary" organizing skills pushed the union toward more radical positions on a variety of fronts, particularly in Ontario and Quebec.
The spirit behind it seems to have shaped CEIU's relationship with groups of unemployed workers after the recession of the early 1980s.
This would require a "dramatic shift" for those members who saw EIC "as a sort of Fort Apache besieged by hostile hordes of the great unwashed," and themselves as "front line soldiers in the army of General Roberts." In the meantime, CEIU activists were urged to volunteer aid after hours "not just for reasons of economic self-interest but because it's the decent thing to do." (21)
By early 1984, informal contacts between CEIU and the Toronto Union of Unemployed Workers (TUUW) had solidified to the point that their coalition was able to block a threatened closure of 2 Toronto employment centres, and 450 potential layoffs.
CEIU members deal every day with large numbers of worried, unhappy people who have been caught in the gears of a malfunctioning system.
On the same page that Paranoia reported the CEIU-TUUW victory, another headline read: "CEIU member held captive by knife-wielding client." (25) Such incidents occur more frequently as the economy deteriorates, and potential physical danger from "irates" seems to pull CEIU members in more conservative directions.