ATU urges members to vote down latest contract offer
Striking transit workers are voicing their concerns online after the federal labour minister ordered the membership of the Amalgamated Transit Union to vote on the city's latest contract offer.
"We have taken a lot of hits to our profession and livelihood and at some point we need to stand up and protect what is important to us," union member Noah Vineberg wrote in a letter posted on the ATU's website.
Labour Minister Rona Ambrose ordered the union to hold a vote on the city's latest contract offer after city officials asked her to intervene in the dispute last week. The union has until next Friday to vote on the offer.
The union's president, though, says forcing a vote impedes the collective bargaining process.
In an open letter online, the union is calling for striking transit workers to vote down the contract proposal.
"We will not bow down to requests destroying the way of living for us and our families; the way we have been even paying for since 1999," the letter reads.
"We will not have the Mayor of the City Larry O'Brien, Alain Mercier, City Council and general public decide for us what will be the working conditions we would have to endure for the rest of our lives."
The union executive is holding an information meeting for its membership on Monday to explain why they voted down the city's latest offer.
If members vote to approve the contract, a transit strike that has crippled the nation's capital for three weeks could come to an end. About 2,300 OC Transpo drivers, dispatchers and mechanics walked off the job Dec. 10. They had been working without a contract since April.
Even if the strike is settled soon, all buses will stay parked for five to six days while mechanics service the vehicles.
The main sticking point of the dispute remains control over bus driver scheduling, which OC Transpo management wants to take back from drivers.