Thursday, December 4, 2008

OC Transpo staff vote to strike

A walkout of OC Transpo drivers, dispatchers, and maintenance workers could happen as early as Dec. 10, 2008, as the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279 voted 98 per cent in favour of going on strike. According to the Ottawa Citizen, the Union's problem is with "wages and working conditions, including the number of sick days workers are allowed and how they are scheduled." More from the Citizen story:

"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.

"Mayor Larry O'Brien called for an emergency city council meeting this morning to discuss the matter."
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.

The Ottawa Sun had a timeline of labour disputes with OC Transpo as part of an article:

  • 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.
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.

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.


Ben said...

One of many reasons why I stopped taking the bus on a daily basis. The strike threats are never-ending.

Laura Payton said...

How does increasing parking help those of us who rely on the bus because we don't have cars?

Anonymous said...

How many OC-Transpo bus drivers take the bus?. They don't know how much they are affecting people who can't afford a car; moreover, they are over paid for a job that ANYBODY can carry out.

Anonymous said...

I've been in Ottawa for nearly 8 years now and this is the third time they've threatened to strike. To me, it says a lot about the employer.

I'm another person who doesn't own a car - these plans don't do much for me. Not only do I have to worry about getting to work, I'm taking classes in the evening - I have an exam on Wednesday. I'll walk if I have to - planning on two hours. Hopefully, there won't be snow because we all know that the city doesn't plow the sidewalks.

Anonymous said...

Greediness will not get you far. It's about time to teach the lesson that having a tantrum does not always mean you get what you want!
In times where money is tight, it's a shame they feel a higher raise is deserved. Many of us have had to forego larger wage increases this year just to ensure we still have jobs.
I cannot begin to express how disgusted I am with how they are acting, wanting more money than is available to go around. Quit complaining and be thankful for your job!

Anonymous said...

Firefighters went without contracts for over 4 years.

Anonymous said...

Seriously...these drivers are ridiculous. I have exams coming up and I do not have a car. They are severely over paid and they should be thankful that they do have jobs. Enough is enough and too much is foolish! Stop threatening to strike. At this time, the economy does not have more money to give, so suck it up and deal!

Anonymous said...

I have a car but chose to take bus many years ago to avoid the stress of traffic. Traffic is bad now most is going to be hell should the strike go forward. And for those of us that work downtown core, driving may not be an option given that parking, even with the temp changes the City proposes, is going to be non existent after 8 am. To add to the problem, you have the Chaudiere bridge closed downtown which is causing major backlogs in the core at the end of the day. Really, I can probably manage given I have a car. However, the fact that this will impact so many people who rely heavily on transit to go to work or school, especially just before Christmas and during exams, makes me sick. Strategic time to strike from the Union's perspective, but it only shows that the Union and the drivers are only concerned about themselves...nothing else. There are some great drivers (and some really bad ones with poor attitudes) for whom I had a great deal of respect because of the abuse they can receive day in day out, but frankly, using such tactics at the expense of others chatters every ounce respect I once held.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe there is so much greed coming from people who get paid $20.00 or more. I pay $81.00 for a pass each month.What conditions do they whine about. They work 9 hour days just like every one else does. What a waste of city money. Money that could be used for more important jobs like: more police officers or pay the ones we have more money, Fire fighters, and nurses. Oh wait that's right those jobs consist of either putting thier lives on the line or saving a life. Compare to a job where they have transit way access to avoid heavy traffic in certain areas and the right away every where else and where they are not required to leave thier seats to assist anyone cause they might hurt themselves compared to a police officer taking a bullet and a fire fighter having a blazing roof fall on them.I can see the great importance why bus drivers should request more pay. Selfish, very selfish.I say hire new people or have it that they have the same conditions our police, fire fighters, and nurses have where they are unable to strike since they serve the public.

Anonymous said...

Their greed is incredible.
O.C. transpo should be scrapped, the only way we can have an affordable bus service is to get rid of o.c. transpo altogether.
It is so heavily over managed, all of their employees make way too much money (especially the guys at the top). It is a bureaucrats heaven and a tax payers hell.

Sakhmeth said...

Public opinion is that OC Transpo is greedy, selfish. Does the OC Transpo not see how badly this is affecting their image? And why hasn't the media picked up on this? CBC and CTV are great at branding poltiicians (Dion, Harper, May), why not brand a public service organization this time?

Anonymous said...

OC is corrupt. I work for the Ministry of Community & Social Services, and i was on my way to work just the other day, when the driver took a close look at my pass to check if it was real, and when i said "yes sir, it's no counterfit" he said i had to get off although he saw it was real. He said it was for both my safety and the passengers safety and he wouldn't explain this statement.
I cant count the mess-ups ive had with them an the self acclaimed "OC COPS". Their all corrupt, and I belive any single one of them in favour of the strike should have their teeth kicked in because they don't deserve the money they make, and they definatly don't deserve the athourity they're given to be able to take advantage of people who need the bus transits.

Anonymous said...

I can't not believe that while most of city maybe the country is implementing wage freezes on employees that barely make more then minimum wage that oc transpo believes they need a raise on there already comfortable salary.
Not only are they whining about being underpaid, they are now making the "real underpaid" people of this city lose even more money when the can no longer get to work. This is absolutley disgusting

Anonymous said...

OC Transpo has got to be the worst public transportation infrastructure in Canada. I pay $101.00 a month (and will be increasing in price soon) and I am lucky to get on a bus - I am lucky if the bus actually stops at my stop. OC Transpo should be declared an essential service and not be allowed to srike. Or better yet, Mayor Larry O'Brien should offer an ultimatum....if they strike, then they will be terminated - the whole lot of them.

Anonymous said...

yea i agree with that comment, we should bring in scabs and scrap all of them, i mean theyre driving a bus not like its all that hard a job to do and i know a lot of people who would love a job right now cause of being laid off, seems to me like we shouldn't have to deal with their bullshit

Anonymous said...

I have to agree. I have never seen a bunch of more overpaid jerks, doing half-ass job and getting paid, in some cases, mor ethan 100K a year.

I am sick of late buses, drivers having buses sit idle while they get their timbits and flirt with the cashiers. The system is such a stupid mess with sometimes 3 empty busees al running in a row.. 40 min late and in good weather.

They have to be teaught to realise they are employees, not managers or some sort of co-op. With thousands of folks losing jobs, publci service workers being asked to take a de facto pay cut they want a RAISE???

Look at their excuses, it isnt even money but they want to be able to cherry pick their routes almost daily (sticking newb drivers on busy routes) - industry breaking levels of sick leave and vacation.

Must be nice to make more than a cop, heck more than most workers, with almost no educational requirement and sitting on your arse all day playing the role of a grouch.

Unions are almost pointless now they are less for worker rights than for self-aggrandizement and greed. OC Translow is proof of that. This is not worker activism but rather pork barrelling in a time of belt tightening

Advice to city hall - Fire the lot!

Anonymous said...

1. Public transit should become an essential service (like health care).

2. It is utterly disgusting that they show so much greed while the rest of the world is tightening the belt during the present economic hardship. It is not the time to insist on getting more. Not while hundreds of thousands of people are losing their jobs. Short term victories acquired through poor attitude can only result in longterm dire consequences. I wouldn't be surprised if their greed would push the system into either making them an essential service (therefore forbidding them from going on strike) or privatizing the transit system (in which case, if they'll wish they hadn't pushed so far that it came to shove).

Jamie Paige said...

I agree why isn't the media covering this side of the story, they are already over paid, have more sick days than I do, make more than my fiance and I put together, and they SIT on there arse all day and take tickets, or stop for coffee's or whatever they want when they feel like it.
Here are people losing their jobs before christmas, barley making ends meat, trying to feed their family and "THEY" want more..
I have hated the bus system since I moved to Ottawa, they are 98% of the time rude, and abnocious, and they see you running for the bus so they take off even if their early. and When their late, the bus is too full.
The city needs to rethink this and hold on the raise. I'm sure you could train new people who are looking for jobs and the ones that are quiet but really don't want to strike wil stay with what they have..

Anonymous said...

If they go on strike, i can't get to work, or school..


Anonymous said...

I am seriously unimpressed with the union president, Andre Cornellier. I just saw an interview on CTV. He was belligerent and completely unapologetic about the disruption. He's not presenting a great face for the drivers. Judging from interviews with people on the street on CTV, and comments on this site, people are not at all supportive of the drivers' demands... I don't think this fact has hit the drivers themselves yet.

Anonymous said...

I wish public transit were considered an essential service and could not strike. On one hand we have to make public transit more attractive to get people out of their cars, on the other hand we're pricing public transit too high while also making it easier and more dependable to use a private vehicles.

A 'back to work' order and end this ridiculous right to strike!!!

Anonymous said...

First of all, after firing all the bus drivers, the city should divide up all OC Transpo assets and sell them off to the highest bidders.

Second, the mayor and city council are idiots for reasons quoted from the press:

"O’Brien said
those who use public transit won’t have trouble finding other means of getting around the city."

"The city is encouraging Ottawans to avoid rush hour, carpool, or work from home, if possible. The press release even suggests “cycling.”"

Cycling up to 20 km to work in one foot of snow. I want to see the mayor do it.

No, there are NOT enough alternatives provided. I'll be walking for 2 hours to work, and 2 hours home.

Anonymous said...

Its about time that the bureacrats start leading by example. The last time OC Tranpo settled their contract within a couple of weeks Ottawa council voted to give themselves a 25% raise. Thats a good example to set. How about a 25% pay cut you greedy buggers. Then maybe everyone else will settle for less and there will be no tav increases, but until then it seems to be get it while you can just like evryone else!

Anonymous said...

I have absolutely no sympathy for the drivers or their union. I have worked hard to earn a university degree and get a challenging job. I continue to work hard. Despite my hard work, bus drivers--who do work that anone can do after taking a brief driving course and then learning to drive by you when you wave for them to stop--earn about 25% more starting salary than I do. It's time they learn what a competitive industry means. End the OC Transpo monopoly!

Anonymous said...

What next? How does this set an example for the rest of us? Times are tough and we're all trying to get by. But that doesn't mean we demand more. I fail to understand why this is necessary? How could punishing the many users of OC be of any use. If anything, it's money lost to them. There goes my loyalty. There goes the hundred's of dollars I've spent over the past eight years. Is that what OC is trying to accomplish? Well done chaps! You've taken it to the next level. Now can you go home to your family and proudly explain that? No. Didn't think so.

Dan A said...

The oc transpo workers have gotten too greedy. however, the problem isn't only there, it stretches out towards the city. The problem is, the government is too easily pursuaded by the union. The union yells strike and the city shakes in its boots. Someone and I mean ANYONE, must grow a set of balls, step up and appoint MARSHALL LAW. If the oc transpo drivers, mechanics, dispatchers, etc. decide to go on strike, that's their choice, but the government needs to step it up and say "look, strike if you wish, but you step off work, you better go looking for a new place to find work, because it obviously isn't here."

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with everything you just stated Dan. These people are truelly out of there minds. They don't give a damn about you nor I, or anyone else for that matter, except for themselves and their damn families! Don't get me wrong, they should have a right to have what they want/need. But for crying out loud, what do they do? What....Ah yes I forgot, Drive a damn bus. That's it, nothing else, and to boot they get paid so much money for what, driving a damn bus. They say it's not a safe job or the public is rude or W/E sorta excuse they may have for being the way they are, and that's why they deserve the big bucks, I'll agree with that, ok fairenough. But to have almost an entire city as hostage is by means under any circumstance at all being Diplomatic.

Personally I just say Mayor O'Brian should just firing each and every last one of them, and Harper should put some sort of legislation into place to make sure, these greedy MOFO's don't do nothing like this every again.

Heck I would understand if this were the police, paramedics, nurses, doctors, but bus drivers, lol

Anonymous said...

Simple solution, make them an essential service and take away their right to strike. End of story.

Anonymous said...

I would like to encourage the City of Ottawa not to give into the demands of OC Transpo. Every time their contract is up for renewal the union attempts to take the public ransom at the same period leading into the Christmas season. This is a crafty move by the union because they know that bus-users need to go out for holiday shopping and it is also the time of year when Mother Nature starts dumping snow on us.

Last night, the night before the strike began my wife and I waited for 45 minutes at the Lees Avenue Tansitway stop to catch a bus to the Blair Transitway stop. I fully understand that due to the weather conditions that we should expect to have an increased wait period. However, as we stood there waiting, with approximately 15 or so other people waiting for the same bus, we saw 10 buses go by that were out of service. This is way more than ordinary, even for those weather conditions and I consider this a strategic move by the OC Transpo union to inconvenience their riders. I find it appalling that the union and drivers would do this to the users and supporters of their service under those type of conditions. While I do support the right to demonstrate and the right to strike I do not support the process by which the union has taken, especially during this time period and the hard economic time we are all facing. I am fortunate because I can car-pool to work and currently have the finances that would allow me to rent a car or get a taxi. However, there are a lot of people in this city that cannot afford to find alternative methods of transportation at this time and the sidewalks are not in a state for the elderly and special needs people to walk on.

I would encourage the City of Ottawa and the users of public transport to take a hard stand against the union and not give into their demands. I would like to see City of Ottawa pursue other avenues such as replacement workers, labelling the service as an essential service, or even disbanding OC Transpo as it currently resides and starting another transit company. The City of Ottawa and its bus riding public cannot be forced to the tactics of the OC Transpo union everytime their contract is up for renewal.

Anonymous said...

1st of all, Larry O'Brien belongs in jail, for letting this strike and a thousand other things screw up... -and NOT as Mayor.
The Bus's (like our Postal Service,...) are ESSENTIAL PUBLIC SERVICE(s), if "they" don't like it ? FIRE every single one of them, starting with the Union leader, bring in our Armed forces(with a nice bonus pay) in the Interim and start new trainee's from scratch -but do it right this time.
Do you have any idea just how many Canadians would do their "driving" jobs for 1/2 of what those greedy mongers want !!!?
I do, and I would gladly try out.

RESPECT ???!!!
NO, How 'bout just Fuk those 60K turdbans'. enough is enough.

WAKE UP !! Ottawa.

The Bus Ryder.

Anonymous said...

Pigs.. they're all PIGS.. they're always late, they're rude, they're paid for- taking midnight breaks at tim hortons and when they do go what can any one say 'i'm the only person on the bus, you might as well take advantage and a 20 -25 min break there while u chit chat with the cashier, laugh talk and then bring ur fat as FUK trashy ass back to the drivers seat tellng me you appreciate what?' fuckn assholes.. people have exams, people have work, fuk canada and ontario especially Ottawa's worthless transit system.

Andre Cornellier is an asshole- dumbfounded look along with the 'no, no, no'
$81 for an adult pass, what raise do they want???? YOU DRIVE A BUS FOR FUCK SAKES NOT AN AIR PLANE- CALM THE FUK DOWN.. You don't need a degree to drive a BUS- It's a f****kn drivers license- fire them, fuckn Government of Ottawa.. useless MOFO's.. doing it again- a raise heh..

Anonymous said...

OC Transpo drivers make a maximum salary of $85,599.24. Not bad for a guy with a high school education. Better pay that in hi-tech.

Anonymous said...

FIRE them all.

Anonymous said...

Because of this friggen strike people like myself and my staff are forced to car-pool with people we have never even met,yes they are decent people but the point is these drivers get paid to sit on their asses all day and drive a bus.

They talk about respect and dignity, there is no dignity to people having to fucking walk in the middle of the night or in the freezing cold, the buisness have lost so much money including my store and its a fucking piss off so close to christmas how are people supposed to go to work, school or do their shopping?? oc transpo is nothing but fucking morons!!!

Anonymous said...

Moe's and Joe's Maximum salary are $85,599.24

But, when Joe calls in sick, he can specify that Moe will take the route. Joe gets 95% of salary. Moe takes 2 times the salary(overtime, right?!).

Guess what? What happens a few weeks later? Well well well, Moe is sick too! So who gets to fill in for Moe? yeah, Joe.

And they want more sick days :)

Quite a salary to drive a bus around town. Not saving lives or teaching our kids, or actually driving hazardous materials.

In an economically stress period, they shouldn't be complaining.

Maybe they need to be put in perspective in respect with other workers.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Uhm.. the students are NOT support ATU. They are begging for the strike to end, period. ATU isn't innocent in this.

The ATU keeps on playing innocent by saying that it's a question of schedule and sick days, NOT a question of money. Then, I say, why even ask for a 10.5% over 3 years? If money is not the issue, compromise. Drop to 6.8% over 4 years (like PSAC). I'd like the city of Ottawa offer the scheduling, and sick days, and 6.8% over four years (with a $4000 signing bonus). What would ATU say to that? Cornered much?


Anonymous said...

Fire the lot fo the under-educated, overpaid, greedy, ignorant Sons of B*tches!

Anonymous said...

With the number of employees projected to be laid off in 2009, I'm quite confident that many of them (us) will be willing to replace the current striking OC-Transpo employees. Fire them all and start training programs!!

Anonymous said...

If the Oc tranpo heads and union reps were to have their cars messed up... vandelized, in an accident., whatever... and had no ability to rent a car.... how would they feel... They couldnt care less about the suffering they are causing because theyre filthy rich fat slobs that sit on their arse every day. They chose a career as a bus driver because they were uneducated and unskilled. And they know they can put the poor, the student and the elderly on their knees. How rude.

I would rather suffer and see all of these bus drivers fired than see them get any sort of raise. Personally i hope they get much less.

I would like to see them all fired. I would willingly drive a bus for a year until they have a suitable replacement for me JUST TO SEE THESE BUS DRIVERS LOSE THEIR JOBS.

Anonymous said...

Oh and why isnt the governemt bringing in the army to cover these routes... I am sure they are much more capable than our current bus drivers in a time where there is no war. Follow in the footsteps of Margaret Thatcher. WE WILL NOT LET UNSKILLED UNEDUCATED LABORERS PUT US ON OUR KNEES> F them.

Anonymous said...

anyone that has a december bus pass should be abke to take part in a referndum to decide whether or not they come back to work. THERE ARE SOOO MANY PEOPLE OUT OF WORK!!!!! fire them and start training new drivers.

Anonymous said...

Let's build a new transit system for Ottawa. Fire them all!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Larry and the City of Ottawa. I am appalled that this situation has continued to drag on for so long. I was not in support of the union initially but the more I hear and read the more I realize the City did not bargain with them in good faith. This strike should have never been allowed to happen. Why were negociations not carried out in April when the contract had expired? What on earth did you think would happen when you took back something that was awarded the ATU in a previous contract? Why does it take a week to get the Council together to discuss the next plan? Do you have a plan? All well and fine to open up more parking and bus lanes to cars etc. but what about those who don't have a car? Car pool you say? Call 311. I did and was passed on to recorded message after recorded message. Check out the website? Not everyone has a computer. Have you tried biking in -20 degree weather? The city is as much responsible for this inconvenience to the citizens as ATU. Get back to the bargaining table. We need our bus service and if you have to give them the scheduling do it. I do not support Larry O'Brien and he has turned out to be a major disappointment as Mayor.