York Region Transit strike over with second ratification

3-month-long Ontario transit strike concludes, full service resumes Feb. 4
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 01/31/2012

An end to the three-month-long transit strike in Ontario's York Region is in sight after a second group of workers ratified their tentative agreement.

About 250 members of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1587 voted 80 per cent in favour of accepting a five-year deal. The deal, ratified on Jan. 28, will provide the Miller Transit employees with a 16.55 per cent wage increase over the term of the agreement.

"We were always very clear that we were not seeking parity with the rest of the GTA," said ATU Local 1587 president Ray Doyle. "We simply wanted to keep our heads above water.”

About 225 members of ATU Local 113 ratified a deal on Jan. 26. ATU Local 113 members are employees of Veolia Transportation and operate the region’s Viva bus service.

The new four-year agreement for Veolia employees includes a wage increase of 10.8 per cent and a "significant increase in the employer-paid portion of the health care benefits package," as well as additional paid sick days, according to an ATU press release.

"The improvements in the benefits premium payments alone, relative to the offer that was rejected earlier this month, will be worth thousands of dollars to our members over the course of this contract," said ATU Local 113 president Bob Kinnear.

Viva bus routes are expected to resume Feb. 4, according to Veolia officials.

Transit in the region will be free for at least one month, York Region chair and CEO Bill Fisch said, adding he’s concerned about rider backlash as a result of the strike.

The third company involved in the dispute, First Canada, had its contract terminated by York Region on Jan 16. The region announced on Jan. 26 it had hired TOK Transit Ltd. to take over the contract, which is reportedly worth $46 million over the next four years.

The strike began on Oct. 24 and affected 60 per cent of the region’s bus services.

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