Striking York Region transit workers call for arbitration

Union will call off the three-week-long Ontario strike if management agrees
||Last Updated: 11/10/2011

The unions representing striking York Region Transit workers are hoping their dispute can be sent to binding arbitration.

About 340 employees represented by Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1587 and 220 drivers represented by ATU Local 113 have been on strike since Oct. 24. The strike is affecting bus routes operated by three companies contracted to supply service to Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and northern York Region about an hour north of Toronto.

ATU Local 1587 president Ray Doyle and ATU Local 113 president Bob Kinnear sent a letter this week to York Region chairman and CEO Bill Fisch asking him to encourage the management companies to send the issue to arbitration.

“The union has communicated to Veolia, First Student and Miller Transit that we are willing to arbitrate all three collective agreements in front of neutral arbitrators who are acceptable to both parties,” the letter reads. “Should the contractors agree to this in writing, the union will end the strike right away and abide by the arbitrator’s decision.”

The unions also released the results of a survey they conducted with York Region residents where they found 71 per cent of the 2,107 respondents agreed the municipal government should intervene with the strike.

ATU Local 113 and management from Veolia met on Nov. 9, but neither side said that there were plans for future discussion.

Wages are the main issue in the dispute.

The striking YRT workers voted 100 per cent against the offers from management companies Veolia, First Student Transit and Miller in October.

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