The City of Ottawa and the Amalgamated Transit Union have reached a deal that will end a public transit strike that has paralyzed the nation's capital for 51 days.More is most certainly to come.
Both sides have agreed to put the contract dispute to binding arbitration.
Because of this development, we have cancelled the previously-scheduled TransitOttawa LiveBlog about the Parliamentary discussion and possible back-to-work legislation because, well, there won't be anything to talk about.
Readers: What are your thoughts, now that it's over?
UPDATE: The Citizen adds more depth to the story (emphasis ours):
What do readers think of that?
At a news conference in Mayor Larry O'Brien's office, Mr. O'Brien and union officials André Cornellier and Randy Graham came together to announce that with federal back-to-work legislation seeming inevitable, they decided it was in the interests of Ottawa residents to come to an agreement and get the buses rolling again.
Asked why Ottawa residents had to go through 51 days of suffering before this, they said an agreement simply couldn't be reached without the threat of legislation.
They just picked up on the same news here at the Star. You're a minute ahead.
CBC had it about 15 minutes ago. You are indeed very fast.
Boy, if it was that easy, seems to me that they could have dealt with this in... oh ... December?
Call me cynical but I will wait for an official statement from the City before believing it is truly over. Shoulda threatened back-to-work legislation sooner!
Any timeframe for when major routes will be hitting the roads again?
"Asked why Ottawa residents had to go through 51 days of suffering before this, they said an agreement simply couldn't be reached without the threat of legislation."
OK, now that's just irresponsible.
I'm glad it's over, but I kind of wish the feds had been allowed to go through with their legislation. I would have loved to see the look on Cornellier's face when they told him they would give the drivers 4.5% over three years and given the scheduling to the City. I have really come to hate that man over the last 51 days.
The key thing is to note that the Union realized they were about to lose big time, so they FINALLY Agreed for all issues to go to arbitration together.
Also, note that the city invited the union on CBC earlier today to come back to the table before legislation was passed.
This is a win for us, especially provided the arbitrator agrees to some ultimate cap.
I'm glad it's over, but I kind of wish the feds had been allowed to go through with their legislation. I would have loved to see the look on Cornellier's face when they told him they would give the drivers 4.5% over three years and given the scheduling to the City.
I can imagine the legislation would only have ended the strike, set penalties for continuing or resuming the strike or locking the workers out, and set up a process by which an arbitrator would have been appointed to settle all outstanding issues. It almost certainly wouldn't have imposed a contract.
I agree with WJM - there is no way the NDP/Libs/BQ would have supported legislating their contract.
I think you'd be surprised. Politicians don't usually line up to support clearly dangerous situations, because when people inevitably die, they get held to account. I think any vote would've settled that point in seconds.
But since it's all just pure speculation, who cares?
The whole fuckin lot of them should be fired. Except Andre Corneiler. He should have to drive a bus around the city for a year straight, with no sleep, no breaks and no days off, (cause that is what he wanted in the first place) while the city shows its appreciation.
One reason the union may have decided not to be legislated back to work is the fed's just announced budget:
Structural Changes - Budget 2009—Canada’s Economic Action Plan
• The Government will also introduce legislation to ensure the
predictability of federal public sector compensation during this difficult
economic period, by putting in place annual wage increases for the federal
public administration of 2.3 per cent in 2007–08 and 1.5 per cent for the
following three years. - page 211.
The feds may just apply the same wage caps on municipal workers that operate under federal jurisdiction.
"I agree with WJM - there is no way the NDP/Libs/BQ would have supported legislating their contract."
Actually, both the Liberals and the NDP said they would support the legislation:
Liberals, NDP will back legislated end to Ottawa bus strike, Globe & Mail, Jan. 29, 2009.
Back to work legislation is not the same thing as back to work legislation that also legislates a contract.
As was the case in the TTC back to work bill at the provincial level, I'd be willing to bet that Rona's bill, which will never see daylight now, was just a get back to work now, arbitrate everything later, deal, NOT a legislated contract.
I'd be willing to bet that Rona's bill, which will never see daylight now, was just a get back to work now, arbitrate everything later, deal, NOT a legislated contract.
What are you willing to bet? Just in case there's any takers.
Back-to-work-with-contract-on-top is usually only imposed by governments when they themselves are the employer as well. When they are merely the third party with plenary legislative power, not a direct party, they will kill off both sides' arguments, and let God and the arbitrator sort them out.
I just mentioned the 4.5% wage increase because I'd heard it mentioned on a few radio stations/news outlets but you're all probably right about the legislation. It likely would have just sent them to an arbitrator to settle everything rather than dictating the terms of the contracts. I just thought it was funny because I heard it a few times and then - all of a sudden - an agreement was reached. Maybe the union heard the same rumours and decided not to take a chance! We'll never know!
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