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.