After months of public disputes, the union representing Winnipeg Transit employees says its members have narrowly voted to accept a contract offer from the city.
In a release sent to media late Friday, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) 1505 says 51.97 per cent of its members voted to accept the negotiated offer from the city.
Union president Aleem Chaudhary said the deal includes several improvements to working conditions that had been sticking points for union members.
“From day one, our membership identified working conditions as our number one priority,” he said in the release.
“We’re pleased that Transit is finally taking responsibility for scheduling, including a written Letter of Understanding to immediately work to improve the five worst-performing routes in the Transit system.
“While there is a lot of work to be done to improve Winnipeg Transit, we think that this agreement gives us a strong foundation to improve transit for the riding public and our members.”
According to the union, the new deal includes a seven per cent wage increase over four years and a $200 signing bonus for all members.
The deal will also see a dollar increase for all mechanics and skilled trades within the maintenance department.
According to the union, 565 members voted in favour of the contract, 520 voted against and two spoiled their ballots.
The deal still needs ratification by city council.
“We are pleased that the ATU membership has ratified the tentative agreement reached between the parties,” city spokesperson David Driedger said in a statement to Global News.
“We believe this is a fair and reasonable deal for all parties involved, including Winnipeg taxpayers.”
Transit workers have been without a contract since the previous agreement expired on Jan. 12.
The two sides had been negotiating unsuccessfully all year, with the city declaring the talks had come to an impasse — and warning a strike was likely — over the summer.
Transit workers voted against the city’s latest offer in August, with just over 92 per cent of members rejecting the deal that included an eight per cent wage increase over four years.
The ATU represents over 1,400 transit operators and maintenance professionals in Winnipeg and Brandon.