Dear Mr. Mercier:

Re: Contracting Out of OC Transpo Bus Routes

In the wake of City Council's recent decision to cut more than $20 million from OC Transpo's operating budget, both my Members and the riding public have been told that they have to accept that after September 4th, Ottawa will have a much smaller transit system. The major route and schedule changes that these cuts have resulted in will make travelling by bus in this City much less convenient. They will also result in less work for my Members after September 4th.

While ATU 279 has long opposed these service cuts given our belief that investing in public transit makes Ottawa a better city to live in, we accept that this was the direction given to you by City Council.

We will not, however, accept the idea that taxi shuttles will be arranged and paid for by the City as a replacement for discontinued bus routes like the 106.

Our collective agreement clearly states that bargaining unit work must be performed by bargaining unit members. Up until this weekend, transit service on the campus of the Ottawa General Hospital has always been provided by ATU members driving OC Transpo buses, so there can be no real dispute that this is bargaining unit work.

Yet despite this history and the clear language of the collective agreement set out at Section (2)5.2, there were no discussions with the Union prior to the City's decision to hire taxis to replace buses on route 106. There was no opportunity for the Union to suggest how this clearly needed bus service could be performed by ATU members. In fact, I only learned of this plan through the media as I was not even given the courtesy of a telephone call.

If the City wants to provide public transit services to the Ottawa General and Ottawa Rehabilitation Hospitals it will do so using buses driven by my members. Be advised that if you do attempt to put taxis into service on this route Tuesday morning, the Union will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that our rights under the collective agreement are respected.


Garry Queale

President/Business Agent