Sunday, December 14, 2008

FAQ on the City's redefinition of scheduling

On the OC Transpo's official website as well as Mayor Larry O'Brien's blog, head of Ottawa's transit services Alain Mercier sent a letter to president of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 279 Andre Cornellier offering a clarification of the 'redefinition of work' contained in the City's most recent offer submitted to end the strike. In the letter, Mercier explains that there is no 'block booking' in the contract, and that workers will still be able to select preferred routes and days off based on seniority. Here is the majority of the letter--including a number of questions drivers may be asking regarding the offer as well as the city's response--for anyone interested in reading (click the link above to read the entire letter):

What’s wrong with the way Operators book their work today?

Except for Operators who work on Straights, most Operators combine separate work pieces into workdays. No one can predict how this may play out. While senior Operators mostly pick Straights and Long Straights (20 to 23 years of seniority on average), the junior Operators are mostly left with Short 6’s and Long 6’s (1 year of seniority on average), which means they only get 2 days off every two weeks, whether they like it or not.

Some senior Operators pick to make the most out of guarantees, booking a minimum number of hours worked for a maximum number of hours paid. Other Operators end up with schedules that are not attractive to them: too few paid hours a day, long splits between pieces, long travel time (for reliefs on the street). Others turn to the spare board without knowing what each day will look like. Others yet book hours beyond what ought to be safe.

This is judged as unfair, unsafe and inefficient by management.

What does management propose to change?

Management proposes to organize the separate work pieces into workdays before they go to the board at Bookings, just like it does for Saturdays and Sundays. For workdays with a split, an Operator who picks a morning piece would have to take the afternoon piece with which it was already combined.

Clauses do exist in the Collective Agreement to allow this approach under Mixed Odd Work rules for weekends.

Is that “block booking”?

No. Block booking combines work pieces, work days and days off into a week’s worth of scheduled work (for example, Monday morning, Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday off, etc.).

In management’s proposal, Operators would still pick their work schedule for days separately, including days off, and thus make up their own workweek.

We believe it is unfair to your members to define the proposal as Block Booking and as you are well aware there are no references to this concept on the bargaining table.

Is management proposing to take away the Operators’ seniority rights?

No. Management’s proposal would not stop Operators from being able to pick their preferred routes, the shifts they work and the days of the week they have off. They would still be able to do this based on their seniority.

How would Operators benefit from management’s proposal?

By having management organize the workdays that go on the board at Bookings, it becomes possible:

• for Operators to build for themselves:
• more consistent work schedules (no one left with too little work time in a day);
• a 3rd day off every two weeks for those who were doing mostly Short 6’s;
• a 4-day week for those who decide to pick 10-hour work days.
• and for management to set up:
• guaranteed minimum recovery time between trips;
• guaranteed eight (8) hours of rest in a row in every 24-hour period;
• much reduced unpaid travel time between runs (relief on the street).

What if I had a preference for a certain type of schedule?

In management’s proposal, the different types of runs would actually increase, there would still be a spare board and Operators could still pick their preferred work schedules, by seniority.


Would management’s proposal increase the spread of my workday?

The maximum spread would not exceed 13.5 hours (12 hours on weekend days), just like today. For some types of runs, the number of hours worked (and paid) would increase within the spread. That is how some Operators could book an extra day off for themselves, if they’d like. In all cases, management would guarantee 8 consecutive hours of rest in every 24-hour period.

How would the choice of runs be different from what it is today?

Management simulated a Booking using your member’s preferences from the September 2008

Booking and including the new approach to scheduling. The results showed that the various straight runs (short, long, 10-hour, etc.) would add up to 50% compared to 54% today.

Similarly, the Short 6’s would go from 11% down to 3% while the number of Long 6 would increase from 6% to 18%.

How would management’s proposal affect Operators’ time when they are not driving?

Management would guarantee minimum recovery times between trips. Management’s proposal would also greatly reduce Operators’ travel time (for reliefs on the street). In the same mock Booking that management looked at, the unpaid travel time was more than 1 hour only 7% of the time, compared to 27% of the time today. It was less than 30 minutes 42% of the time, compared to 22% today. We were also able to better control recovery points for access to washrooms/meal facilities by putting more pieces together. We believe this would greatly improve the quality of life for the majority of Operators.


Anonymous said...

Union Meeting Tuesday December 16

There is an ATUL279 Union Meeting Tuesday December 16. I will be showing up at their offices to show how much I disagree with all that they are doing – offices located at:
C9-2212 Gladwin Crescent - to get there take the 417 to St. Laurent, go south on St. Laurent and turn left at Bourrassa, then turn left at Gladwin Crescent.

I invite you to join me at any time that day when you can get there – by car, hitchhiking, carpooling, plane (LOL). I will be putting posters up for people to sign to voice their discontent with the transit strike. Please try to come.

If you want to know who is on the ATUL279 Union – here is the lot of them:
Of course, the ring leader himself, their President, André Cornellier, and his goons:
Garry Queale, Vice-President
Jim Haddad
Jamie Larkin
Yogi Sharma
Michel Feetean
Gino Paolino
Farhad Abesteh
Mike Aldrich
Renford Thomas
Hugh Thayer
Robert Labrecque
Paul Fortin

Anonymous said...

I love the way you think! BUT when is the meeting start?!?!?!? Hope lots of people show up to make noise!
Also, here's a link for a counter protest on facebook: