Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"It's not about money": Cornellier

André Cornellier, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 279, spoke on CTV on Tuesday. He highlighted the fact that 'block-booking', the ability for senior drivers to schedule their own routes, is the chief issue for the ATU in their strike. Many comments on the blog have highlighted his apparent hostility towards host Carol Ann Meehan:



On Talk Ottawa Wednesday night, Kanata North Councillor Marianne Wilkinson explained the city's position on block-booking. In essence, according to Wilkinson, the system requires significant 'deadheading', with a number of empty buses transporting drivers to their previously selected routes rather than having them run one route from the end-stop of their previous route.

For the city, block-booking means an increase in operating costs; for the union, it means negotiating on a contract item they've had for 106 years. But for citizens, all it means is a work stoppage and a desperate scramble for alternate methods of transportation.

(via LiveJournal)

15 comments:

Rachel Adams said...

I don't understand why ATU members are not demanding that their executive show them the latest offer. One of my close friends is a bus driver, she indicated (like Cornellier) that block booking is the main issue. She doesn't want to be stuck on the same route for a year. Based on the memo from Alan Mercier, it would appear the two sides really aren't that far apart. I'm a unionized worker, my union does not determine my hours...the business needs determine my hours. The main complaints about transit service in Ottawa is the unreliability of service/poor scheduling...with 106 years experience, one would think they'd be doing a better job. It's time to let the management of OC Transpo manage the scheduling; drivers will still be allowed to choose their shifts, based on seniority...I fail to see how "dignity and respect" enter in to this equation. They've been offered a pay raise, more sick benefits and a cash incentive but it's not enough because "they have to deal with customers"?!?! When's the last time you were offered a customer service job starting at 25.00$ an hour? Respect is earned, not commanded; if they thought their customers were rude before the strike, oooh boy, have they got another thing coming. Sorry to rant, but one final thought about Cornellier...he's doing a poor job of trying to garner support for an unpopular strike. He continues to tell people they should be angry at the city when both sides are failing to communicate, they are both to blame for failing to come to an agreement. Answering questions with a simple yes or no does little to bring attention to the real issues his membership is fighting for.

Erigami said...

For the city, block-booking means an increase in operating costs; for the union, it means negotiating on a contract item they've had for 106 years.

I thought OC Transpo has only been around since the 70s. How could they have had that contract item for so long?

Anonymous said...

The ATU has been around much longer.

Regardless, I understand OC-Transpo's desire to have that scheduling option, and I understand that it seems like a great time to insist on getting it since the timing of the strike couldn't be worse.

The city should give them what they want. Let them relish in their little victory. Then make Public Transit an essential service in Ottawa OR, better yet, privatize it. Then they'll wish they hadn't done that.

To bus drivers: You are at the bottom of the totem pole. You are bus drivers. You get what comes with the job. If you want better benefits and salaries, change careers.

To Cornelier: Whatever career you choose, avoid public speaking at all cost (and since we all know what you look like, I would avoid anything that has to do with public relations if I were you).

Anonymous said...

Passengers strike against ATU279 Sat Dec 13 1:30 2212 Gladwin Cr

Join me - On Saturday, December 13 at 1:30 there is a 2-hour strike being held by stranded passengers – we will be striking at the offices of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279 (ATUL279)- 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 Cres.

André Cornellier, the President of ATUL279, is the jerk stirring up this whole bus strike. Get this - he lives in Quebec - and he's ruining the lives of people who live in Ottawa - he has a car - he's not affected at all by the strike. Even his wages aren't reduced - he gets his full wage while the drives must go on the picket lines just to get a measly few bucks. And he won't even give them the full story - he's full of lies and manipulative - just wants to stir things up and make things difficult for people living in Ottawa.

André Cornellier doesn't care about the public, nor does he care about the bus drivers. His attitude toward the riding public who through ridership pay his hefty salary, stinks! Do you recall his attitude when that driver drove away with the kid on the bus leaving his mom at the busstop - Mr. Cornellier didn't apologize - he blamed it on the mother saying, “Why wouldn’t that mother keep that child beside her?” he asked Tuesday. “There was a time when people would keep their kids very close to them … But now parents let kids go all over the place.”

Please join me - let me repeat myself - On Saturday, December 13 at 1:30 there is a 2-hour strike for stranded passengers being held at the offices of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279 (ATUL279)- 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 Cres. Let's give André Cornellier a taste of his own medecin!

Anonymous said...

Ok people. This strike sucks! I get that and yes we all have our personal reasons for why it sucks.
That being said you are blameing the wroung group. Our bus drivers are the ones who every day get up long before anyone else and are out on the roads during snow storms, Ice storms nothing stops them. Scheduling is NOT done by the drivers, its done by the city planners. How many "No Show" busses are due to poor planning, not enough busses (yes thats right NOT ENOUGH BUSSES) But yes feel free to blame the men and women that do the best they can with the the crap the city throws at them. Of course this whole thing could not have anything to do with how much money the city is saving every day the drivers are out. Perhaps reather then ranting and raving at our bus drivers someone should find out who is benifiting from this the most.

FOLLOW THE MONEY

One million dollers + day saved by the city but yes let's blame the drivers.

Dan said...

While it is true that the city is saving a lot of money during the strike, I do not believe that the money is the main factor as "Anonymous" has indicated.
To be certain, the city is certainly winning the PR battle, and that is the most important battle to be fought.
People are siding with the city.
For me, the main problem is trying to find reliable info.
It's why I came to this website in the first place, but saddly I can't fin what I am looking for here either.

I would like to know how many other transit services have the same booking system; what the operating cost of OC Transpo is vs. other cities' public transit system; and what the average annual (or hourly) bus driver salary is compared to other public transit systems.

Can anyone help me?

Phi in Rural Ottawa said...

Right on Rachel Adams!

Anonymous said...

Ottawa's right wing Mayor responsible for public transit strike

http://www.agoracosmopolitan.com/home/Frontpage/2008/12/13/02955.html

Anonymous said...

could it be that the union is terrified of abuse on the part of the city if they get this scheduling concession they seek. There must be a reason this is a non negotiable item in the agreement. Most people who have been in the workforce for any time know that after three weeks a union can not recover the money it cost the members to strike so i am sure it is not there intention to have a frivilous strike.It must be a serious issue to them .The union would do well to explain the nature of that issue and why it is important to its members.

Peter said...

Dan: I asked that very question to the rest of the panel last week on Talk Ottawa. Host James Hendricks said that is wasn't seen as a best-practice policy, but president of the Ottawa & District Labour Council Sean McKenny pointed out that it is the policy at the Ottawa airport.

Paul said...

Trou de cul! Cornellier

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure where bus drivers and their fully-paid transit union "leader" get off striking over something like scheduling. Unions have their pros and cons, but typically unionized jobs come with better pay and benefits not afforded to citizens who also do not set their schedule and depend on the bus to go to jobs, which they now can not do. Like any union, they have the right to strike, but that right has infringed on others' right and need to provide for themselves and their families. Everyone also has a right to free speech - does that mean that anyone can say whatever they want without consequence? Has anyone considered a civil suit against the transit union? Who knows how much has been lost in wages and revenue over the holiday season, and in this harsh economic time, that is inexcusable. The ATU even went as far as to threaten picketing the WJHC. The ATU is embarassing Ottawa and themselves over what essentially amounts to "who gets what route". Most people don't have the luxury of choosing the jobs they do and at what time, why should a bus driver?
Quit your whining and get back to work. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

I'm not happy at all with this bullshit!! this stike better end soon.!!!
your going to end up with a lot of problems with different people loosing their jobs, houses, businesses.
Get back to work!!!

Anonymous said...

I've already lost my job... and so have many people I know. If this continues many more will lose their jobs. I would love to drive for OC Transpo! 30-50k a year, benefits, pension etc... Name me ONE SINGLE JOB that pays so well where all you need to qualify is a lousy high-school education!!! Even elementary school teachers get paid less!!!! This is a tragedy. I'm ashamed to call Ottawa my hometown. It's time to clash. We are gathering a mass to head down to the picket lines and start beating down these punks. All you do is drive a bus!! I can't find a decent job even with a university degree. Get back to work you selfish lazy bums or we're coming for you!!

Maria said...

Fire them all. Fire all of these selfish and unreasonably well paid bastards, and make an offer to anyone who's lost their job as a direct result of this strike. Find out how many of the city's working poor would absolutely jump at the chance to double their income. See if any of the recently laid off Nortel workers would like to drive a bus. These idiots knew what they were getting into when they signed up for OC Transpo, so boo-freakin'-hoo. Fire them all.