Bus riders in Winnipeg could soon be looking for a new way to get around the city.
Members of Winnipeg’s ATU 1505 Transit Union vote this week on a new contract offer from the city, with the decision expected to be announced Friday.
In the last few weeks the city has warned about the possibility of an interruption to service, saying neither side has been able to agree on the terms of a new contract.
About 1,400 hundred transit workers have cast ballots this week to either accept or reject the city’s latest offer.
Transit workers have been without a contract since the previous agreement expired on Jan. 12.
The most recent offer by the city is an eight percent wage increase over four years however, transit workers are asking to 11 percent over four years.
In late July the city said it was backing out of the contract negotiations, with Mayor Brian Bowman tweeting that a September transit strike “is more likely than ever.”
The two sides came back to the table with the help of a mediator a few days later, but the city has since said there had been no progress.
As a result the city said it would be amending the terms and conditions of employment for ATU members, meaning 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.
The city said it would reverse those plans if ATU members ratify its latest offer by Aug. 17.
The union has condemned the city’s proposed action, calling it an intimidation tactic.
Results are expected Friday afternoon with the ATU’s decision.
The union says they don’t plan on striking immediately. However, the city also has the option to shut down transit service with a lockout.
Transit provides roughly 170,000 rides every day.
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