2 of 3 groups to vote on offer in Ontario transit strike

Provincial legislation allows management to request vote by union members
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 01/05/2012

Two of the three striking groups in the York Region transit dispute will vote on offers from management companies.

The latest offers from Miller Transit and Veolia were initially rejected by union leaders, but a ruling by the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) is forcing the union locals to present the offer to striking workers.

Provincial legislation allows each party to request a single vote, supervised by the OLRB.

Members of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1587, who are employed by Miller Transit, are expected to vote on their offer on Jan. 6, while members of ATU Local 113, who are employed by Veolia Transportation, are expected to vote the week of Jan. 9.

Miller Transit has sent letters to employees trying to convince them to accept the latest offer, which includes a 13.1 per cent wage increase over five years and a $400 signing bonus.

Veolia’s last offer included a 10.8 per cent wage increase over four years. The union says that this increase will lead to increased benefit costs.

The third group of striking workers, employed by First Transit, hasn’t heard from the company in two weeks. At the time, First Transit offered a 2.5 per cent wage increase and a $350 signing bonus.

An injunction was won by York Region in December 2011. The region said the workers were participating in “unlawful picketing.”

The Ontario Superior Court decision specifies 15 terminals and garages where buses can be delayed for just three minutes. The region had also hoped to stop strikers from “occupying” buses, which was limiting space for transit users. The ruling, however, permits protesters to continue to board buses.

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