Monday, August 30, 2010

No deal between OC Transpo, union for scheduling amendment

OC Transpo and the City of Ottawa had proposed an amendment to the scheduling agreement reached during their last contract negotiations with the ATU 279 (remember the negotiations that led to a 51-day winter transit strike in 2008-09?), but it was rejected by the union last weekend.

According to a report on 580 CFRA, the proposed amendment would offer operators and eight hours/day minimum (up from the current 7.5 hours/day) as well as six sick days per year (which could be carried forward to a maximumof 12 days in a single year) in exchange for an agreement that scheduling and overtime would not be part of the next round of contract negotiations (which should begin next year).

Both sides, according to quotes in the Ottawa Citizen, are willing to keep communication open and work towards ironing out some issues to get a head-start on the next contract negotiation. Earlier in the week, city council had voted in support of the amendment.

As a transit user, the fact that there seem to be open and reasonable communications between the two sides should be seen as nothing but a positive change. Relations between management and workers came to a head during the winter strike, and haven't seemed to improve much since then. Getting a head start on the next contract, and coming to an agreement on what was the most controversial subject in the last negotiation--namely, scheduling--seems a positive step, and should make users optimistic that a standoff may not be necessary this time around.

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