Hopefully. But as David Reevely points out in his latest column at Greater Ottawa, the ATU 279 membership, it appears, is "militant". With that in mind, who knows whether or not the results of these votes are true disagreement with the agreement put forward, or just rejected out of spite? From Reevely's blog:
"The dangerous problem I see isn't that the OC Transpo union members are militant. They were pretty badly put upon at the time of the last strike, by managers who wanted to take away an extremely important element in their contract with apparently no understanding of why it was there in the first place (letting drivers, in particular, have considerable control over their own work schedules was a key move in an effort to detoxify the OC Transpo workplace after the deadly Pierre Lebrun shootings a decade ago). I can see where the militancy comes from, and anyway, tough but skilled managers can deal with a militant union membership in a non-destructive fashion. They did it after the shootings, for example."Leading up to the vote, on the OC Transpo livejournal, user roadwarrier came out in support of the agreement. Roadwarrier is one of the more vocal operators on the LiveJournal, and he tried to convince his brothers and sisters why it wasn't such a bad deal--or at least to explain why he was voting yes.
"Well gang, I was one of the big naysayers, no at any cost, with a serious vendetta against management. Quite frankly, I walked into the meeting ready to vote this thursday, ready to vote no at any cost, no matter how good the offer was.
"And I've done a 180. The executive has worked very hard to get some strong language and some real goodies for us. Stuff that's going to cost the company a lot of money and that really benefits us. Stuff that wasn't on the table when we walked and stuff that was on the table. At the end of the day, my gut tells me that this is a very good offer and the only reason the offer is so good is that the city knows they can't keep going with the way it is."
Since roadwarrier's post, a series of follow-up threads were posted leading up to the vote: Titles such as "NOT SUCH A GREAT DEAL", "Vague language in Contract - vote NO unless rectified", "VOTE NO! VOTE NO! VOTE NO! VOTE NO! VOTE NO! VOTE NO! VOTE NO! VOTE NO! VOTE NO!", "Vote No", and "Why I've decided to vote no" were all put up. They acknowledged "minor improvements" for drivers, but cautioned union members to "think worst case scenario" [sic]; it seems the relationship is so toxic, the union is assuming managers are trying to pull one over on them, and will be taking a mile for every inch given.
And now, interim union leader Mike Aldrich has taken issue with explanations made by OC Transpo general manager Alain Mercier about service issues. Rather than Mercier's excuses of vacationing drivers, Aldrich said that service problems that have come up through the summer had more to do with these 'scheduling issues' that continue to elude proper, concise explanation.
So we've got a union head who seems open to compromise (Aldrich) standing in for a much more confrontational union leader (Andre Cornellier, who's taken personal leave) in leading a group of militant employees (the ATU 279) to negotiate with a manager who's done little to befriend the union, and a fair bit to irk them (Mercier)--and who, it should be noted, is supported by a mayor who seems enemy number one to the union (Larry O'Brien)--to come to an agreement on issues few, if any, truly understand and may or may not actually materialize into 'operational efficiencies' (scheduling).
Brace yourselves. The end seems far off.