Volume 12 Week 5

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

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Tim Tierney



 

 

 



(Updated 1 p.m., Feb. 24)
City, transit union agree to new four-year deal

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

The bitter OC Transpo strike that left thousands of commuters out in the cold during the winter of 2008-09 is but a distant memory, thanks to back-to-back contracts that will ensure labour peace until the year 2020.

Members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279, which represents transit drivers and mechanics, voted 82.5 percent in favour of a new four year deal with the City of Ottawa that gives them salary increases of two per cent in each of the first three years and 2.25 percent in the fourth year.

The contract also contains premiums for working over-night and evening shifts, and it changes the way overtime is allotted.

When overtime is posted, it will be offered as eight hour shifts and be given to the most senior eligible employees that comply with the overtime guidelines.

The contract also provides an adjustment to the employees dental plan to include reimbursement for the cost of dental implants, and it allows drivers to wear cargo pants as part of their uniform.

The contract also includes a letter of understanding that sets out the guidelines for hiring light rail train operators for the Confeder-ation Line which is scheduled to become operational in 2018.

Bus drivers interested in becoming train operators will have to apply as part of a standard hiring process and be trained.

A number of the elements in the contract, including the salary increases, were contained in a tentative agreement that was reached last year but ultimately rejected by the rank and file members.

Former Local 279 president Craig Watson was highly criticized at the time for negotiating “in secret” with the city.

After the tentative agreement was rejected by the ATU membership, Watson was replaced by Clint Crabtree who took control of the negotiations that led to the new contract.

“Prior to negotiations, the members expressed their needs and wants, which is what the negotiating team focused on,” Crabtree said after the new contract was ratified. “We look forward to what’s ahead, and establishing safe and supportive working conditions for our union members."

It’s been eight years since OC Transpo drivers walked off the job for 54 days, throwing the city into chaos. The strike ended with the federal government passing of back to work legislation at the request of city council.

A deal was then forced on the drivers through binding arbitration that resulted in a heightened level of animosity on the part of the drivers toward the city.

It took the better part of a year before a mutual agreement was hammered out that formed the basis of new contract in August 2010 which was retroactive to April 2008.

The last contract the two sides negotiated was ratified in April 2012. It contained salary increases of two per cent in each of the first three years and 2.25 per cent in the fourth year, which is the same salary increase schedule just agreed to by the union and the city.

The inflation rate over the past four years has been 0.83, 1.24, 1.47 and 1.61 per cent..

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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Posted Jan. 12



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