"City spokesman Michael FitzPatrick said the two sides are scheduled for contract talks over the weekend. Mr. Cornellier said talks were planned for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, leading right up to the union's strike date.Late last month, the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 5500, of which supervisors and security guards (transit constables) are members, voted in favour of a strike that could begin Dec. 23.
"Mayor Larry O'Brien called for an emergency city council meeting this morning to discuss the matter."
The Ottawa Sun had a timeline of labour disputes with OC Transpo as part of an article:
According to Larry O'Brien as quoted in another Sun article, the city has explored some contingency plans in the event of a transit strike, including converting more downtown streets to one-way roadways in an attempt to reduce congestion and possibly increase parking availability.
- Nov. 25, 1996: OC Transpo drivers stage a strike, suspending bus service for 24 days before a settlement is reached.
- Nov. 3, 2003: 230 Para Transpo drivers threatening to strike reach a settlement. Then-president of ATU Local 279 Bob Simpson says: "Quite frankly, it's in no one's interest to have a strike."
- Dec. 15, 2005: A strike is narrowly averted after 40 days of negotiations finally bring a ratified contract. Union members had voted 98.6% in favour of a strike.
- March 31, 2008: The three-year contract signed in 2005 expires.
- Dec. 1, 2008: Seven days of negotiations break down, leading to yesterday's strike vote.
EDIT: A couple of other city-suggested measures for citizens to take if the strike can't be avoided appeared today in the Financial Post:
To help people in the event of a strike, the city would urge residents to travel outside rush hours and carpool. Municipal officials are also asking employers to stagger hours of work and encourage people to work from home.The article also said that passholders will be credited for any days that service will be shut down.