Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ambrose 'expected' to force ATU vote

Federal Labour Minister Rona Ambrose is expected to intervene in the OC Transpo strikeAccording to reports, a Conservative staffer has suggested that Federal Labour Minister Rona Ambrose is expected to overrule Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279 leadership and force them to put the City of Ottawa's most recent contract offer to a vote of the members.

Ambrose had asked Union leadership to provide justification for not putting the offer to a vote, and was expected to review their reasoning before making any decision. Her final decision could come sometime today (Tuesday). The outcome of the vote is not remotely clear: City leadership, including Mayor Larry O'Brien, believe that the offer should receive significant support from members, while Union membership is still confident they have the support of the majority of members.

It was unclear what Ambrose would do at first, because some suggested that invoking the section of the labour code that would allow the Federal Government to force a vote may set precedent towards such an action. It appears that Ambrose has decided that issue is not as pressing as that of finding a resolution to the labour dispute, which is now three weeks old.

Below is mainstream media coverage of the development:

3 comments:

Peter H said...

This is pretty rad, but what's the general feeling of the union members? Is it only a 50+1 vote to go back to work?

Anonymous said...

Why would you force a union member vote when the union members already voted 98% NO to a similar offer by the City? Trying to bypass the union leadership doesn't buy the City any friends on the union side, and the City needs to get creative and offer something else in exchange and take block scheduling off the table.

The City doesn't know how to negotiate. Look at the last CUPE503 contract that had to go to arbitration. The CUPE503 union has a no strike / no lockout clause with the City that forces arbitration in situations similar to the OCTranspo problem.

C'mon let's get an arbitrator.

Anonymous said...

98% of the members who voted, not 98% of the members.
I belong to an union, I do know that, I also know that the militants never missed a chance to vote "No".

The forced vote may not work, but the members should always have the right to vote on whatever offer, this is how my union is run.

The ATU leadership is bringing down all other unions in the public opinion.