1 p.m., Feb. 24)
City, transit union agree to new four-year deal
By Fred Sherwin
bitter OC Transpo strike that left thousands of commuters
out in the cold during the winter of 2008-09 is but a
distant memory, thanks to back-to-back contracts that
will ensure labour peace until the year 2020.
of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279, which represents
transit drivers and mechanics, voted 82.5 percent in favour
of a new four year deal with the City of Ottawa that gives
them salary increases of two per cent in each of the first
three years and 2.25 percent in the fourth year.
contract also contains premiums for working over-night
and evening shifts, and it changes the way overtime is
overtime is posted, it will be offered as eight hour shifts
and be given to the most senior eligible employees that
comply with the overtime guidelines.
contract also provides an adjustment to the employees
dental plan to include reimbursement for the cost of dental
implants, and it allows drivers to wear cargo pants as
part of their uniform.
contract also includes a letter of understanding that
sets out the guidelines for hiring light rail train operators
for the Confeder-ation Line which is scheduled to become
operational in 2018.
drivers interested in becoming train operators will have
to apply as part of a standard hiring process and be trained.
number of the elements in the contract, including the
salary increases, were contained in a tentative agreement
that was reached last year but ultimately rejected by
the rank and file members.
Local 279 president Craig Watson was highly criticized
at the time for negotiating in secret with
the tentative agreement was rejected by the ATU membership,
Watson was replaced by Clint Crabtree who took control
of the negotiations that led to the new contract.
to negotiations, the members expressed their needs and
wants, which is what the negotiating team focused on,
Crabtree said after the new contract was ratified. We
look forward to whats ahead, and establishing safe
and supportive working conditions for our union members."
been eight years since OC Transpo drivers walked off the
job for 54 days, throwing the city into chaos. The strike
ended with the federal government passing of back to work
legislation at the request of city council.
deal was then forced on the drivers through binding arbitration
that resulted in a heightened level of animosity on the
part of the drivers toward the city.
took the better part of a year before a mutual agreement
was hammered out that formed the basis of new contract
in August 2010 which was retroactive to April 2008.
last contract the two sides negotiated was ratified in
April 2012. It contained salary increases of two per cent
in each of the first three years and 2.25 per cent in
the fourth year, which is the same salary increase schedule
just agreed to by the union and the city.
inflation rate over the past four years has been 0.83,
1.24, 1.47 and 1.61 per cent..
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)
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