Oct 31, 2006

Transit strike over

The CAW Local 222 transit workers voted today in favour of accepting a new contract to end the work stoppage at Durham Region Transit. 94% of the votes cast were in favour of acceptance.

Oct 30, 2006

Tentative Agreement With DRT

The CAW Bargaining Committee has reached a tentative agreement with Durham Region Transit. Negotiations had resumed on Saturday morning and after a 23-hour marathon bargaining session; both parties had closed the gap on a number of issues.

After carefully reviewing the offer of settlement, CAW Local 222 President Chris Buckley and DRT Chairperson John Johnson confirmed today that a tentative agreement has been reached with the Region. A ratification meeting for all DRT employees is scheduled as follows:

Durham Region Transit Unit Ratification Meeting

WHEN: Tuesday, October 31, 2006 at 10 a.m.

WHERE: CAW Local 222 Union Hall

CAW Local 222.

Kid keeps stolen bus on route

  A 15-year-old boy stole a bus, drove it along a public transit route, picked up passengers and collected fares, authorities said yesterday.
  Ritchie Calvin Davis took the bus Saturday from the Central Florida Fairgrounds in Orlando. The bus belongs to the Central Florida Transportation Agency, which runs LYNX public transit services in the Orlando area.
  "I drove that bus better than most of the LYNX drivers could," the teen, who is too young to drive legally, told a deputy after he was stopped and arrested. "There isn't a scratch on it."

Oct 29, 2006

Tentative deal in Durham strike

The following appeared in The Toronto Star.

Durham Region and its striking transit workers have reached a tentative settlement to end their 24-day strike.

Full service should resume by Thursday.

DRT general manager Ted Galinis said in a statement this morning that he looks forward to the return of service. Human resources commissioner Garth Johns said in the same statement he believes the deal is fair to both sides offering something to staff but also "respects the taxpayers of Durham Region."

Full transit services are expected to resume after Council and members of the Canadian Auto Workers ratify the agreement. A special meeting is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

The union represents some 300 bus drivers, maintenance and clerical workers. About 30,000 people in Clarington, Pickering, Ajax and Oshawa use the system regularly.

Oct 26, 2006

Talks back on to end Durham transit strike

Durham regional councillors directed the regional negotiating team to head back to the bargaining table with members of the Canadian Auto Workers union in an effort to end the Durham Region Transit strike. 

Council's unanimous vote came early Wednesday afternoon, following an in camera discussion and is aimed at kick starting negotiations to end a strike which began Oct. 5. "We have asked our negotiating team to try and set up a meeting with your negotiating team as soon as possible," said regional chairman Roger Anderson, as about 100 CAW members stood in the council chambers waiting to hear the result of the council vote. "Our members are hopeful, they don't want to be on the street, they want to be back to work," said Nikki Henderson, operations steward for DRT and a member of the bargaining team. "We are not that far apart on the issues; this is a communication breakdown and we really want to get back to the table." CAW Local 222 unit chairman John Johnson explained a letter, which was sent to all of the Regional councillors, said that contrary to what councillors have been hearing the union is willing to modify some of its major proposals. Mr. Anderson said the council vote was a direct result of receiving the letter. "We can negotiate and we can make compromises between us, there is no doubt about it," Mr. Johnson said. "Right now we are down to the last few issues so we could finish it in a day if they bargain seriously with us." There was no time frame for a return to bargaining.

Link to article

Oct 25, 2006

CAW DRT Picket duty Oshawa

Keeping warm


No more rain please

3% Key for City Transit Workers

This is the latest news I have about the contract agreement between Guelph Transit and Local 1189 of the Amalgamated Transit Union.

City transit workers will get a series of three per cent salary increases as part of a new contract that runs to April 2010.

The deal reached last week and ratified by both sides since then includes a 3% pay hike on Oct. 1, 2006, another on Oct. 1, 2007, another on Oct. 1, 2008, another on Oct. 1, 2009 and a final 3% increase on April 1, 2010. Benefit improvements were also part of the settlement, said a city hall news release on Tuesday.

City council approved the deal Monday evening with Local 1189 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents about 140 drivers, mechanics, dispatchers and other Guelph Transit workers.

The deal reached at 2:20 a.m. Oct. 12, after a strike deadline was extended at the suggestion of a Ministry of Labour mediator, averted a threatened shutdown of city bus service.

Local union president Stephen MacNeil had said one issue in negotiations was union concerns about bus runs being too long and drivers not having enough time to do them.

Transit manager Randall French said Wednesday that Guelph Transit's scheduling committee, which includes drivers and supervisors, will continue to work on solutions to the bus system's "growing pains."

Routes might not have got much longer, but bus drivers are having to cope with more traffic as well as more lights and other traffic control measures, he said.

Making routes shorter or adding more running time are two possible solutions, but both pose their own difficulties for Guelph Transit. "There has to be a comfortable blend of the two to see how we can come up with a system that best serves the community," French said in an interview.

"There will be changes, and they will be phased in over time and addressed in a staged approach," he said.

Oct 21, 2006

Transit settlement reached

It appears a potential strike or lockout of city transit workers has been averted as the City of Thunder Bay and the Amalgamated Transit Union have come to a tentative agreement on a new five year contract.

A memorandum of settlement between the two sides was agreed to Tuesday afternoon, and service will continue for city transit riders, uninterrupted.

Details of the potential contract are being withheld until members of the transit union have had a chance to review the deal. What is known is that the new contract will cover retroactively, the two years the transit workers have been without a deal and extend for an additional three years.

Local 966 president Charlie Brown says he isn't necessarily recommending his members ratify the contract, but says they should look at it and make up their own mind. He says it's too bad the situation took so long to resolve.

The deal came after talks had been broken off on Friday, with the two sides then agreeing to get back to the table over the weekend.

Thunder Bay CAO Robert Petrie says he is extremely pleased to have come to an agreement. Petrie says he feels it's a fair and reasonable deal and consistent with other settlements reached lately. The contract will be voted on by transit workers on October 29, and will be put before council on the 30 for final approval. Link to article.

Guelph Transit strike averted

Local bus drivers, mechanics and maintenance staff narrowly ratified a tentative agreement last night to avert a transit strike.

Stephen MacNeil, president of Local 1189 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, said early this morning only 61 per cent of about 108 voting members backed the deal.

"I'm definitely surprised. This was a good contract," he said.

The lower-than-anticipated approval level is a message that more improvements need to be made in the transit system, MacNeil figured.

Details of the actual agreement will not be released until after it is approved by city councillors.

That's expected to happen during an in-camera meeting tonight. The deal was reached after two days of negotiations late last week.

Local 1189 of the Amalgamated Transit Union had a strike deadline of 12:01 a.m. Thursday, however, that was extended by 24 hours to allow negotiations to continue.

The tentative agreement was reached about 2:30 a.m. Thursday. The transit workers' contract expired Sept. 30.

Earlier, MacNeil told the Mercury the key issues on the table were wages and working conditions. Link to article.

Union, DRT have to meet in the middle

My Comments: Is it really this simple?
The script hasn't changed in the two weeks of the Durham Region Transit labour disruption.

Each side, management and workers, says it is up to the other to come back to the table, but still that table remains empty. Neither one appears willing to meet in the middle.

It seems, however, the one group really being left out in the cold are the only ones who have no say in the situation. The riders, 30,000 of them, are stranded while management and workers stand their ground. Read more…

Oct 20, 2006


I know this is a transit blog and that I should only publish news related to transit. In today's world the politicians have so much control over the public transit systems. Therefore it seems appropriate that I pass this on. I subscribe to a internet news letter from "The Internet Tutor." The following are his words of wisdom.

I don't know about where you live, but here the political ads for the next election are showing up in full force. Here are my thoughts on modern politics:

~ Politics should be about right or wrong, not right or left.

~ Choices in leadership are so poor I more often seem to be voting against someone rather than voting for someone. That sucks.

~ There are too many Liberals and Conservatives in office...and not enough Canadians.

~ We jail the stupid criminals, and re-elect the smart criminals.

~ I don't believe anything a politician says...until he or she denies it.

Yeah, you get the picture, I don't like politics, I don't like politicians, and I don't like what the political process has devolved into. I agree with Plato, "Mankind will never see an end of trouble until lovers of wisdom come to hold political power, or the holders of power become lovers of wisdom."

An open letter to members of councill

An open letter to Mayor Gray, Mayor Mutton, Mayor Parish, the Regional councilors of Durham and all Durham Region residents.

re: Durham Region Transit Strike.


As you already know, bargaining began over the summer, between our selected union for our group's first contract. The Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) and the Durham Region Transit (DRT) had some meetings and seemed to be making headway, trying to hammer out a new collective agreement. I understand that on July 14th, DRT stopped all negotiations. The thing is, the employees received a copy of the Regions 'final offer' late that day and the next BY COURIER! It took some doing to prepare & to print over 300 copies and courier them out by the next day, but the region did! I would not choose to use my tax dollars that way, but I did!
The Region had an analysis done to find out the possibilities BEFORE they took us into this amalgamation, the costs of which, I am told, are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars! I certainly didn't want to spend my tax dollars that way either, but I did! That analysis, would have stated that the bus drivers (Oshawa's Conventional, being the largest part of our new group) already had a contract with the CAW that included MOST of the stumbling blocks the Region now finds unacceptable! Why would they think the existing contract would disappear, taking everything away? It is my understanding, that to find a new contract you look at the existing contract (3 this time) and go from there. Our membership is looking for what we ALREADY HAD IN OUR CONTRACTS; what I hear and read about seems to imply that we are shooting for the moon!!!
Out of concern for our clients, 'specialized transit' had a meeting with our new union (prior to the Oct. 5th strike deadline). There it was decided we would volunteer to drive the dialysis clients to and from hospital free of charge! Our members would use this time in lieu of picket time. The DRT refused our offer and instead chooses to send clients (at taxpayers expense) by cab, not just to dialysis!
To hold onto the July 14th 'final offer' and not budge on any items, "until the CAW drops the main issues" is not bargaining in good faith. I suggest that all involved, quit trying to pull the wool over our eyes, we'll need it to keep warm while walking the picket line. Instead, please get back to the bargaining table, and let us do our jobs again.
As for the rest of Durham wanting whatever we end up getting, (if we even have a job) I feel it is unfair to place that responsability on our shoulders. If it is such a large issue, why did the region (Mr. Anderson at the helm) force AMALGAMATION on us? As I stated earlier, most of our 'demands' will be found in print in the analysis the Region got for our hard earned tax dollars. I feel that we the tax payers need some answers to the difficult dilemma we are all now in, BEFORE we have no transit system! On the Thanksgiving weekend alone, the Region spent over $10,000 to advertise its point of view, directing riders to their internet's web page, I can't imagine what the cost of their total campaign will be.
To the barganing units and the councilors, remember that our membership has the right to vote in the upcoming elections. I know that Mr. Anderson (at this time) is appointed, but the councilors are looking for all our votes next month! To my Durham Region neighbours, please be an informed voter (on this issue especially) our transit system may depend on it!

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

From a taxpayer, (not at present - I have no job)
From a Durham Region Employee, (not at present - I have no job)

From a VOTER,
Rhonda Hilton

Rhonda's comments: *** Thank you to all the great residents of Durham Region who drop by to support us at our different locations, bringing coffee and their experiences with them. I will never pass another picket line and not honk or stop off for a chat, this is not an easy thing to be doing. If we have to slow you down at one of these sites, think of all the issues and make a phone call. All the numbers are in the phone book for your area.

Oct 18, 2006

Who is responsible for transit trash?

My Comment: This demonstrates, that the people who run things, are truly silly and annoying.

The debate over who's responsible for garbage pickup at bus stops continues.

At the Oct. 4 meeting of the Durham Region Transit Commission, a report on the issue was again referred back to staff.

The transit commission and the works committee recommended to council that the current garbage collection contract for transit stop garbage cans be continued with regular monitoring with regard to the usage and misuse of the receptacles through the dumping of household waste and yard waste. Read more...

Letter to Candidate For Regional Councillor Ward 2 Ajax

Joanne Bush was blunt and right to the point when she emailed candidate Al Williams... "I am a constituent of Ward 2 and I would like to know where you stand on the current Transit Strike?"

His reply... I guess you are looking for a quick answer. I was hoping to put more work into my answer as I am currently out knocking on doors.
The problem was created by Roger Anderson the regional chair. Ajax asked for a business plan on joining up all the transit services. He didn't put much effort into it. I sent him and regional council a message about how bad the plan was. 1) joining all the unions, they will ask for equity for all there members, the highest of everything. 2) He said there would be no fare increase, my daughters fare almost doubled. No body wins in a strike, it's a sign of poor management.
My apologies for the slow response.

Municipal Elections

The municpal elections are comming up. Voting will take place on Monday November 13, 2006. There has been a change to the term of office for Municipal Councils and School Boards from three to four years. Please be advised that the term of office for the 2006 Municipal Elections will be from December 1, 2006 to November 30, 2010.

The following are the dates for debates:

Oshawa Debate
Wednesday, October 18th
8:00pm - 9:30pm
Oshawa Centre (centre court)
419 King Street West
Oshawa, Ontario, L1J 2K5

Clarington Debate
Thursday, October 19th
8:00pm - 9:30pm
Hilltop Banquet Hall
1540 King Street East
Courtice, Ontario, L1E 2R6

Oct 17, 2006

Letter to members of council

The following is an copy of a email that Al Luce sent to the Mayor of The City Of Pickering. He also sent copies to all of the members of council.

Dave, I am an employee of Durham Transit and as you are aware, a resident of Pickering. One of my co-workers advised me that there was a debate last week which I was unaware of and at that debate I was advised that you had made the statement when questioned about transit negotiations that there were no takeaways in the Region's proposal that you were aware of. I would like to set the record straight for your benefit and for the benefit of other councilors in Pickering who are probably unaware of the facts of the final offer from the Region. The final offer that was put forward by the Region offered 3% increases for each of the next 3 years. This was an offer that was looked on by the CAW members as very "fair", a word used to describe the total offer by Regional spokespersons in the news media. But after one gets by the wages, there appears to be nothing but "takeaways" in the Regions offer and I don't believe that any reasonable person would suggest that removing or cutting back benefits & working conditions that employees have had for years could possibly be described as "fair". The Region's bargainers have made offers that reduce overtime payments, wipe out sick pay for some people, cut back on vacations for full time employees, reduce premium payments, reduce payments for safety footwear and cut back on certain clothing allowances. There are "takeaways" in almost every area of the collective agreement, negatively impacting things that have been in our collective agreements for years. One only has to look at the final offer and compare it to the existing collective agreements at amalgamation to see the facts. The Region came into amalgamation with their eyes wide open. They knew what our collective agreements contained and what the costs were. To suddenly suggest that the employees are asking for millions of dollars more that the Region can afford (as has been suggested in the news) is misleading to the tax payers of Durham Region and certainly not factual. We simply want what we had prior to amalgamation and an opportunity to bargain for a new collective agreement with out giving away everything we spent years negotiating. If this scenario was unaffordable, why did the Region amalgamate the transit systems in the first place? We are now out on strike, 30,000 constituents in Durham Region are being inconvenienced daily and the Regional negotiating committee refuses to even have an unbiased third party involved so that we can all resume work and get the transit system going while an agreement is reached. Dave, as a commissioner of DRT I believe you and your fellow commissioners have an obligation to ensure that proper information regarding this impasse is passed on to the public. I also believe that using the arbitration process, getting everyone back to work and all the constituents of Durham back on the buses is of far greater importance than having this verbal sparring take place in the news media on an almost daily basis. I hope this information proves useful to you in future contacts with the public and your colleagues on the commission.
Al Luce

Oct 16, 2006

Picket Duty

Standing guard at the Pickering Go Station.

50 cents goes a long way in the 905

Before Grace Sanchez MacCall accepted her job in communications at the Town of Markham, the Toronto resident spent half a day on the telephone figuring out how to get from her home in the Beaches to Markham Town Hall, on Highway 7 East. Read More…

No end in sight for Durham transit strike

Commuters are once again grappling to find alternative transportation at the start of another work week after no talks were held over the weekend to resolve the Durham transit strike, officials say. Read more…

Oct 13, 2006

Fare cards on the way for GTA travellers

My comments:When it came to smart cards the employees of Ajax Transit were the pioneers. Do you think these consultants will remember the trial and errors from the past? Of course not. The Ontario government has given them a wad of $ money $ to spend… and they will.

The vision of an electronic public-transit fare card that would allow commuters in the Greater Toronto Area to hop on a suburban bus, transfer to a GO train and then head into the subway system -- all without fumbling for change -- got a little closer to reality yesterday.

Donna Cansfield, Ontario's Minister of Transportation, announced a $250-million, 10-year contract with a consortium led by international management consultant Accenture to implement and run the long-awaited "smart card" system. Read more…


Oct 10, 2006

Strike - Midnight Shift

I started my picket duty at midnight. It ran until 4 am. The next shift was there right on time. Transit workers always run to their clocks. It was a quiet night except for the incident when the security guards (two of them) came out and followed us around. They didn't really bother us.

Yours truly

Changing of the guard

The dog helps out

Keeping the flag bus off the hoist

Oct 7, 2006

Special transit fare approved by council

Durham Regional Council has finally decied to give Specialized Service customers a reduced fare monthly transit passes equal to DRT's seniors monthly fare of $25. Read more...

Oct 6, 2006

CAW - DRT Strike, Day One

Today is the first full day of the transit strike in Durham Region. Roger Anderson is quoted in the Toronto Star as saying "the cost of this (proposed) contract was just too much to afford and not what the residents expect us to pay, hopefully it won't last too long."

“Regional Council had sent their bargaining committee a strong mandate to steal our members’ benefits, our retirees’ benefits, our COLA and to contract out a portion of our work," said CAW Local 222 President Chris Buckley. Read more...

I have been informed that the memship meetings scheduled for Tuesday Oct. 10 will be down to just one meeting at 10:00 am.

First time on strike for the young

A couple of veterans

Just do it

Who let the dogs out?

Oct 5, 2006

Former TTC head to run Edmonton transit

The former TTC chief general manager, who quit in June after complaining of political interference, has a new job.

Rick Ducharme starts on Tuesday as general manager of transportation for the City of Edmonton, overseeing its transit system and its roads and bridges. Read more…


Oct 4, 2006

Rider Alert

This is a notice that was issued today by CAW Local 222.

Oct 3, 2006

Transit workers could strike Thursday

Come Thursday evening, transit service in parts of the Region could come to a screeching halt.

"Unless they change their tactic of bargaining we are going to be on strike on Thursday," said John Johnson, Canadian Auto Workers (CAW's) DRT unit chairman. Read more...