Thursday, April 7, 2011

Good news in OC Transpo negotiations

For most of this round of negotiations, both the City of Ottawa and the ATU 279 representing OC Transpo drivers and mechanics have been saying the right things. That continued last week, despite the fact that as of last Thursday, the union is actually working without a contract while their representatives continue negotiating. New president of the ATU 279 Garry Queale is talking the talk, with regard to good-faith negotiations. From the Ottawa Citizen:

“The contract has expired, but at this point in time the union wants to finish what wasn’t finished in the 2008 contract — the scheduling issues, and when that is finished we are ready to move to the new contract. My goal is to get this scheduling issue finished ‘ASAP’ and then let’s move on to new negotiations and get something settled there,” he said.

“We will continue working as if we are under a contract that’s been grandfathered, and hopefully someday soon, we will start collective bargaining for 2011.”

Once the old issues are settled, Queale said the union will start serious bargaining to reach an agreement that works for the workers and the city.

“I don’t want a work stoppage or strike. We want to negotiate in good faith and get a deal for the membership that we can live with, and that doesn’t jeopardize transit users,” he said.

No one from the city has been quoted recently about negotiations, but there's little doubt that nobody wants a transit strike. Hopefully negotiations continue fairly and uneventfully, and we find a mutually acceptable solution before the fact that there is currently no contract becomes a big issue.

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