Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A change of tone between the OC Transpo and the union

Well this is a refreshing dose of positive news.

Less than a week ago, I posted about early jockeying between the city and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) 279 as the two sides were preparing to negotiate an extension to their agreement to keep OC Transpo buses running. It seemed the hostility between the two sides hadn't faded at all, and didn't bode well for negotiations.

But now, things seem to be a little different. Mayor Jim Watson met with acting president of the ATU 279 Mike Aldrich on Monday to discuss the future of Ottawa public transit (and preventing another transit strike), and Transit Commission acting chair Diane Deans is to meet with Aldrich on Tuesday for the same thing. The two had earlier said their interest was in smoothing relations between OC Transpo and the union, but hadn't done anything to put substance behind their words; opening up communication is a good place to start.

But it takes two sides to negotiate, and it looks like Aldrich is ready to do so now, too. On Monday, in an interview with the Ottawa Sun, Aldrich seemed to be moving forward with the negotiations:
Aldrich said he’s “looking forward” to the upcoming negotiations and hinted that things will be different with the ATU now under his leadership and not that of former president Andre Cornellier.

“It will be a whole new way of negotiating. We’re going to get rid of the adversarial attitude and get along. We (the ATU and the city) want to have a world-class transit system,” he said.

“This is the public’s transit system and I don’t want to use the public as pawns, we had 54 days of that s**t. It’s the last thing we want.”
There's some passion there, and it's a passion to find a proper agreement before push comes to shove and a strike seems inevitable. All of a sudden, I'm fairly optimistic these two sides can figure this thing out.


RealGrouchy said...

Well, he has to remember that he's just one member of the union, and he's the one member who represents the views of that union.

If the union votes to spread shit around as part of their negotiating strategy, then he's obliged to do so. Hopefully they won't.

- RG>

Anonymous said...

Good for Rob Ford, to bad we have no leaders in Ottawa who would do the same. These union scum bags hold us hostage, strike, break the law, make people freeze in the middle of winter…if they don’t get their way, if they don’t get more money…all the time. It should be deemed an essential service once and for all, that’s what the public wants but as you can see, these union scum bags run Ottawa, and they are in bed with the politicians and government managers, so we the tax payer get shafted every time they want a raise.Nice eh? That’s the truth, that’s what is really going on. Union, government scum and rot, everywhere in Ottawa. No leaders, just followers.

Dean said...


Like a lot of people in this city I am a civil servant. I have seen how a small group with a big chip on their shoulder can bully everybody else in to submission. If the union leadership can stand up to them we may very well see an ultimately reasonable negotiations.

We have seen PSAC and PIPS manage to work with a government they don't like without trying to show them who's boss.

Let's see how the new transit commission works's out. They form a big unknown element in all this.

Anonymous said...

well if you dont like the transit go to Toronto and see what they have to offer you all ... rush hour that last's 5 hours ..IN THE MORNING AND 5 HOURS AT NIGHT..