Sep 17, 2008

Transit strike in York Region

A major stumbling block in negotiations that began last April has been the employer's policy of firing workers who are off sick, even if only for a short term, unless they visit a doctor for a sickness certificate. Even with such a certificate, workers are not paid for their sick time. Moreover, workers with serious illnesses, such as cancer, are fired if they cannot return to work within 12 months.

According to The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, that is one of the issues that is standing in the way of a labour contract settlement at Viva transit in York Region. The strike dead line is set for 12:01 a.m. Sunday.

York Region Transit will continue to operate it's other services if the VIVA drivers go on strike. The Region is able to do this because they tender the VIVA transit operations service by contract, to the private sector. Negotiations do not involve the region.

York Region signed an agreement with Veolia Transportation to operate and maintain the VIVA bus rapid transit network. York Region determines the service and fare levels, and retains ownership of vehicles and terminals.

CNW Group | AMALGAMATED TRANSIT UNION, LOCAL 113 | York Region Viva bus operators poised for strike over Veolia \punish.


nixtuff said...

I dont think that transit should be allowed to go on strike. It's an essential service (if not by government definition, then by dictionary definition). I also don't think that bus drivers should be allowed to be screwed over like veolia is doing. In a transit strike (or lockout) the objective is to hurt the most vulnerable(IE those who cannot afford alternatives) so much, to hurt them SO badly, that it hurts the other side as a side effect. Nobody wins in these situations.

Andy said...

nixtuff... The solution to that lies with the provincial government and they are just not going to do it. The reason being that only the politicians in Toronto are in favour of banning transit strikes. There would be an out cry from every municipal politician outside of Toronto. They only ban strikes when workers are able to win.

nixtuff said...

I'm not talking small potatoes. This is an issue that goes beyond transit in the GTA. Whenever it's worker VS the public, the public loses.

nixtuff said...

There is word now the TTC is going to go on strike very soon over the issue of drug testing. Andy, I dont know if you have ever been on strike as part of your transit days, but I'm curious if there is any consideration of the traveling public that goes into these decisions?

Andy said...

Everyone loses in a strike. It is a last resort. I have been on negotiating committees with the TTC in the past. There is a lot of political interference and that can be good sometimes.

One time we were going down to the wire on a contract. The Ontario Government sent in the Minister of Labour and made the TTC settle with the union.

The talk of strike this time is over the random drug testing. In the past the TTC's legal team has warned management that they will be lacking in firmness if random drug testing is involved. The union would be foolish to wildcat this time. A court battle looks more likely.

Now back to your question, is any consideration of the traveling public that goes into these decisions? The answer is no for management and the union.