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Politics

City using ‘intimidation tactic’ in ongoing transit labour negotiations, says union

The City of Winnipeg says it will be amending the terms and conditions of employment for ATU members.
The City of Winnipeg says it will be amending the terms and conditions of employment for ATU members. Randall Paull/Global News

The City of Winnipeg and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) remain at an impasse in their negotiations, but the city is pushing hard for the union to accept its latest offer.

According to a release sent out Thursday, the city will be amending the terms and conditions of employment for ATU members. This means bus drivers won’t be able to request to trade shifts or switch vacation dates for the remainder of the year, and will be assigned their fall schedules on Sept. 1.

If the ATU ratifies the city’s final offer by Aug. 17, the city said it will “reinstate the full terms and conditions and bus operators will select shift packages based on seniority.”

In a statement Thursday, the union condemned what it called intimidation tactics on the city’s part.

“The city is unilaterally changing the daily work schedules of our members, many of whom pick their schedules based on family, educational and child care obligations,” the statement said.

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“The City of Winnipeg has a choice in this matter. Either they can continue to undermine negotiations, or they can recognize the fundamental problems that plague Winnipeg Transit and work with the ATU to fix our broken transit system.”

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READ MORE: City, transit union at an impasse after mediation

The city has said it’s hung up on a general wage increase and the union’s demand for a $10 hourly increase to mechanics’ salary. Its counter-offer is a general wage increase of two per cent each year in January 2020, 2021, 2022, and a two per cent increase in March 2023.

The union, on the other hand, said it wants to address working conditions – such as more reliable schedules and improved customer service – before discussing wages.

The ATU said last week it intends to take the city’s latest offer to its membership – even though the two sides are still very far apart.

“While we’re encouraged the ATU has indicated that it plans to take our offer back to its members,” said Michael Jack, the city’s chief corporate services officer.

“We’re using the tools at our disposal to reach a resolution that doesn’t impact the tens of thousands of daily Transit riders who rely on the service.”

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WATCH: Winnipeg transit drivers caught between union, management on ‘Free Ride Day’

Winnipeg transit drivers caught between union, management on ‘Free Ride Day’
Winnipeg transit drivers caught between union, management on ‘Free Ride Day’
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