Monday, September 28, 2009

OC Transpo union votes against arbitration

In an historic vote on Friday, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 279 voted in favour of maintaining their right to strike and against agreeing to send all future unresolved contract negotiations directly to third-party arbitration. Almost two-thirds of union members (62.3 per cent) who voted opted to maintain the current arrangement.

It's unclear what the immediate fallout of the vote will be. The recent 52-day winter transit strike has gone to arbitration, with the settlement expected soon, so there shouldn't be another transit strike until that contract (however long it turns out to be) expires. At that point, there will obviously be negotiations, with the possibility of a resolution or an agreement to go to arbitration before a strike would occur. That's all speculation at this point, though.

In the long-term, the decision could negatively impact the city's standing with labour unions, as reported last month. In the Ottawa Sun, though, OC Transpo general manager Alain Mercier took an optimistic outlook, stating that "This is a vote of confidence in our ability to move forward together." Innes Ward councillor Rainer Bloess, though, told 580 CFRA that he was "disappointed" with the no-vote, believing that it "could have given reassurance to the residents of Ottawa."

For mainstream media coverage of the vote:


Dean said...

I thinks it's a safe assumption that during the next round of contract talk's they will be threatening strike. It's become clear over the years that it is their default position. Only next time the intimidation factor for the public will be greater.

Forcing the public to demand that the politicians give into the union is the tactic of a bully.

I'm forced to pay taxes and guarantee job security and raises to oc transpo regardless of the quality of service or staff. Yet in return the public is treated as if they exist only to serve the ATU membership.

I keep seeing the signs for "Respect is a two way street", but keep wondering when the public will see that respect.

How about the union make it's case based on merit not based on a vendetta against city hall and the mayor.

bussy said...

It might just backfire, leading the public to become more hard-line with these knobs.