Reports that union has rejected city's offer
There are reports that the union leaders representing striking OC Transpo workers have rejected the City of Ottawa's latest offer. The union is not returning telephone calls and has yet to confirm that information. A city spokesperson said the city has not received official word from the union yet.
The ATU leadership gathered Saturday to discuss their options in the wake of Friday night's Ottawa City Council meeting on the issue.
The union's offer was to get its workers back on the job immediately if the city would agree to send all outstanding issues to binding arbitration, except for scheduling.
"What we're proposing is with the exception of scheduling, scheduling is off the table, all of the other outstanding issues would go to binding arbitration," said Graham. "If they accept our proposal, we will bring it to our members for their approval, and immediately after that, service will resume."
After meeting for several hours, council decided it would agree to arbitration only if scheduling was part of the deal.
On Saturday, the Amalgamated Transit Union local 279 issued a release saying it is disappointed with council's counter-offer and it wants the city to "carefully consider" putting buses back on the streets.
"The arbitration process would not be neutral under their conditions, the City is now backing up on its position for fear that it has had misguided information from the beginning," said ATU President Andre Cornellier. "The Union continues to take the position it announced on Friday morning, and we encourage the City to carefully consider this opportunity to get the buses rolling, and to get our dispatchers, mechanics and operators back to work to serve the public."
Transit user Marc Ouelette is frustrated with both sides and wants a resolution.
"I hate being held hostage by the city, by the city or by the transit," said Ouelette. "I don't think either is in a position right now to get my sympathy. Both have shown a lack of flexibility."
With a report by CTV's Natalie Pierosara and files from the Canadian Press