This should be interesting. The city sent a press release out this morning saying that they're officially entering into collective bargaining with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1189, the union that represents the city's transit employees. The last agreement was reached in the summer of 2010 and expired this past June, so transit workers have effectively been working without a contract for the last four months. Considering the tough times, could the issuing of the below press release be advanced notice that these negotiations might be tricky business?
On the one hand, the city has issues regarding the increased cost of benefits and salary with city employees, and on the other transit has its own issues regarding a shortage of employees and drivers, and they may be looking for more incentives to making employment with Guelph Tranist more attractive. If things get ugly though, I hardly expect Guelph Tranist to find much sympathy amongst the general public, even though potential for strike action hasn't come to fruition since the down-to-the-wire negotiations in 2006.
Here's the press release:
Guelph, On, October 30, 2013 – Today the City and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1189— which represents about 200 of the City’s full- and part-time Guelph Transit employees—begin collective bargaining to renew their expired three-year agreement.
“Council has directed staff to negotiate a fair, reasonable and affordable contract with our Transit employees—one that recognizes our belief that Transit employees should be compensated appropriately for the valued work they do, but also one that recognizes the balance needed to ensure long term affordability for our taxpayers,” said Mayor Farbridge.
“Through a freely negotiated contract with the ATU, the City aims to decrease overall compensation costs—a trend among all recent agreement settlements for municipal transit operations—while adequately compensating employees according to municipal benchmarks and a variety of economic factors,” said David Godwaldt, general manager of human resources.
The previous contract agreement for ATU came into effect July 1, 2010 and expired June 30, 2013.
To keep taxpayers informed throughout the negotiations, the City will regularly communicate bargaining status updates. Specifics will be made public when an agreement is reached by both the City and ATU Local 1189.
The City routinely negotiates collective agreements with all its employee groups including the ATU; Canadian Union of Public Employees locals 241, 973 and 1946; Guelph Professional Firefighters Association (GPFFA); and the International Association of Theatre Stage Employees local 357.
For more information, visit guelph.ca/atu.