Late last week, as reported by CBC, the city of Ottawa announced that they will be temporarily laying off or re-assigning 40-60 members of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1760, representing OC Transpo administrative staff. The ATU 1760 is the much smaller sister-union of the striking ATU 279, the latter representing OC Transpo mechanics and operators. According to Mayor Larry O'Brien, the decision came in light of the ATU 279's voting against accepting an offer from the city and therefore prolonging the transit strike.
It was also announced that at some point today, according to reports in the Ottawa Citizen, both the city and the ATU 279 will be meeting with a federal mediator to try and reach some resolution to the ongoing strike. Apparently the city is now willing to negotiate scheduling concessions, as long as the bottom line is the same cost-savings and safety and reliability improvements, according to city manager Kent Kirkpatrick. In the Citizen story, Kirkpatrick was quoted as saying, "As long as it’s the same total financial cost, it doesn’t have to come out of scheduling."
According to a report on CBC, researchers have determined that the strike is costing the city millions of dollars, including about $4M to the local economy every week in "increased commuting costs alone." The article goes on to explain that the results of increased expenditures on commuting mean that people have less to pay for other local or value-added goods and services, reducing overall output and therefore negatively affecting overall productivity.
Finally, in the first publicized violent expression of frustration with the transit strike, an Ottawa driver has been charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle when he hit and dragged a woman walking the ATU 279 picket line on Jan. 7, according to the Ottawa Sun. The woman was thankfully not injured.