Transit negotiations take place across the country

Three Ontario transit unions on the verge of striking
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 09/27/2011

Oakville, Ont. transit workers give strike mandate

Oakville, Ont. transit workers could be on strike on Oct. 1, 2011 unless their union and management can reach an agreement before then.

Key demands by the union centre on scheduling rights, vacations and treatment of injured workers. Wages, benefits and other monetary issues have not come up at the bargaining table, according to the union.

“This is an unfortunate situation, one that we have desperately tried to avoid,” says Canadian Auto Worker (CAW) union Local 1256 president Angus MacDonald. “Our members are concerned, not just for their own standard of living, but for the impact a work stoppage will have on transit service in the community.”

The CAW represents Oakville Transit’s 180 drivers, mechanics and cleaners. Their previous agreement expired May 15, 201.

York Region Transit strike looms

Drivers for Miller Transit in York Region, Ont. are in a legal strike position as of Sept. 24, 2011. The union representing the drivers insists that, while no strike date has been set, it will give adequate warning should job action take place. Miller operates buses for York Region Transit (YRT) in the towns of Markham, Ont. and Richmond Hill, Ont.

Key issues in negotiations are not known, but Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1587 president Ray Doyle has said that YRT operators are among the lowest paid in the GTA.

The ATU represents 250 YRT drivers.

No GO Transit strike deadline

The union representing GO Transit workers in Ontario remains without a strike deadline.

The union’s earlier strike deadline of Sept. 19, 2011 was delayed after Metrolinx, the company that manages GO Transit, requested that the Ontario Labour Relations Board rule on whether an agreement the two parties reached in March 2011 was legal.

The union representing the workers says the "Essential Services Agreement" outlines that no job within the bargaining unit is deemed “essential” and that “all bargaining unit employees have the right to strike.”

A ruling was initially expected to be brought down on Sept. 23, 2011, but that did not occur. It is unknown when the decision will be made.

In the meantime, Metrolinx and ATU Local 1587 continue to negotiate. The parties disagree on wages and working conditions.

ATU represents 1,500 GO bus drivers, technicians, station attendants and service staff.

Saskatoon transit workers accept new contract

The Amalgamated Transit Union in Saskatoon accepted the city’s final offer on Sept. 8 after issuing a 48-hour strike notice on July 27, 2011. The union agreed to sit down to negotiations just two days later, averting a strike.

The bus drivers will see wage increases of two per cent, two per cent and three per cent over the course of the three-year contract.

ATU Local 615 represents 374 bus drivers, maintenance workers and specialty drivers. Members have been without a contract since the end of 2009.

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