Winnipeg Transit users brace for disruptions during city, union labour talks

P1100157Winnipeg transit users are having to monitor their bus schedules closely for disruptions after the city took some of its buses off the road over the weekend.
While some transit buses have been cancelled as Winnipeg Transit drivers refuse to work overtime, the city said most of those cancellations were on routes that are already well-served or where alternate routes provide similar service.
Negotiations between the drivers’ union, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505, and the city continued Monday. Members rejected the city’s latest offer of a settlement last week.
The city said it expects labour negotiations to run fairly smoothly and has requested a conciliation officer be on hand in hopes that a settlement can be reached soon.
In the meantime, transit riders can check or call 311 if they need more information about their route.

Courtesy of ?CBC News


Hamilton transit union approves 4-year deal

Hamilton Transit7% pay increase over four years

Hamilton’s transit union has ratified a four-year deal that will see bus drivers receive a seven per cent pay increase over the contract, but cap physiotherapy benefits at $1,500 per year.

Members of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 107 voted 86 per cent in favour of ratifying the deal, reached at the deadline to avoid a strike last week, despite concessions in benefits and term length.

The two sides struck a deal just after 5 a.m. last Thursday after an all-night bargaining session. HSR drivers were in a legal strike position as of 12:01 a.m., and GO Transit had contingency plans in place in case there was a strike and pickets set up around GO facilities.

In the end, the buses ran as scheduled in Hamilton.

ATU president Eric Tuck said two-thirds of union members cast a vote to ratify the deal, despite the cap being placed on physiotherapy benefits.

An HSR bus arrives at a stop in Gore Park the morning a tentative deal was struck between drivers and the city, avoiding a strike. (Kelly Bennett/CBC)

“If you have ever spent any time driving in the curb lane it is like riding a bucking bronco at the Calgary Stampede,” said Tuck. “When you do that for eight to ten hours per day over the course of a career, it really wreaks havoc on your skeletal and muscular frame.

“This City had better address the deteriorating road conditions or they may face higher levels of absenteeism and WSIB claims since members won’t be able to use this benefit for conditioning and maintenance.”

Aside from losing ground on benefits, the transit union lost its fight with the city to get their contract out from under the shadow of municipal elections. The union initially sought any term other than four years to avoid delayed negotiations because of elections. The old deal expired at the end of 2014.

The union will receive a 1 per cent raise in the first year, and 2 per cent raises in each year thereafter.

The ATU represents 658 bus drivers and mechanics.

Hamilton bus drivers earned a maximum of $29.44 per hour in 2014, in the upper middle range of comparator cities. TTC operators make $32.03 and GO Transit operators earn $31.88. In Waterloo, they earned $28.27 and in Guelph, $27.21.

Courtesy of CBC news

Winnipeg Bus Drivers Reject Contract Proposal


An overwhelming number of the Amalgamated Transit Union members voted against the proposal. In a statement, the City of Winnipeg says there is no indication that a strike is imminent.

Both parties will be returning the bargaining table to get a settlement as soon as possible.

Winnipeg Transit employs about 1,100 bus operators as well as about 250 maintenance staff.

Kevin Lamoureux Bill S-221 Statement

Kevin LamourekKevin Lamoureux

Liberal MP for Winnipeg North (Manitoba)

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to stand in support ofBill S-221. In fact, the deputy leader of the Liberal Party had a similar private member’s bill. Our caucus, and I am sure all members, recognizes the valuable role of transit drivers in all regions of our country.
I had the good fortune, through John Callahan of the Amalgamated Transit Union in Winnipeg, to have a tour of the facility and the opportunity to participate in a bus ride-along, which I would highly recommend to members. One can learn a lot when riding on a bus and talking to some of the drivers. One gets a better sense of some of the things they have to go through day in and day out. When that door opens, transit drivers do not know what is coming in.
There is a need for this legislation. The number of verbal and physical assaults is very high. I think the public would be quite surprised by how many occurrences there are every year.
My question is fairly specific. Would the member not agree that as parliamentarians we can also work with municipalities to see how we can make the working environment of our transit drivers better, such as by potentially having patrols on buses and so forth?

DC Transit Workers Rally for respect



DC TransitHonoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., more than 200 DC transit workers were out in force for a ?Rally for Respect? to demand a end to the sweatshop-level wages and working conditions Metro Access workers suffer as a result of outsourcing. These private transit providers have impoverished and silenced their workers, and delivered inadequate and unreliable service in order to siphon off as much profit as possible from limited taxpayer-provided transit funds. Read more.

ATU Chicago

ATU Chicago energized by Chuy election despite defeat

Despite Jes?s ?Chuy? Garcia?s defeat in the Chicago mayoral runoff election, this was a victory for the movement and a victory for ATU Chicago mobilizing members to action. ATU helped to forge the progressive coalition that challenged a powerful Democratic mayor. And this coalition did so by objecting, bluntly, to the Democratic party’s penchant for selling out its base. Read more.

Another dayAnother day, another bus driver attacked

This time it?s in Hampton Roads, VA. This violent attack happen when a bus driver refused to let an irate rider out at an undesignated stop.? Since 2013 there have been seven reported assaults and 85 incidents of verbal abuse and threats to Hampton Roads drivers. Local 1177 has called for better protection with bus shields and plain-clothes security. Watch story.

Vancouver membersVancouver members rally for transit plebiscite passage

Vancouver members were out in full force for the Vote YES rally for Metro Vancouver Transit Plebiscite. The mail-in ballot will decide on a 0.5 per cent Metro Vancouver Congestion Improvement Tax for much-needed improvements for public transit. Voters have until May 29 to cast their ballots. Read more.

Hamilton TransitHamilton transit workers reach deal, avert strike

Hours after a strike deadline passed, Hamilton transit workers reached a tentative agreement with the City of Hamilton. Local 107negotiated into the early hours of the morning to avert a strike. Wages, scheduling and the length of the contract were key issues. A ratification vote is expected next week. Read more.

Power and paychecksPower and Paychecks

Economist Paul Krugman writes in the New York Timesabout the implications on the worker pay of McDonald?s and Wal-Mart announcing pay increases above local minimum wage. He argues that that while raising the minimum wage makes labor more expensive, it has offsetting benefits that lower overall costs, limiting any adverse effect and in fact making them better jobs that workers want.? Read more.

Economy opportunityA disconnect to economic opportunity

A majority of poor people and minorities now live in the suburbs?isolated from jobs, services and the public transportation needed to access them?according a recent Brookings report. Transportation is a critical link in the economic opportunity chain, and the backbone of our economy. Equal opportunity demands affordable and accessible public transit options the report says. Read more.

San RafaelSan Rafael members picket arrival of first SMART car

Members of Local 1575-San Rafael, CA, the Teamsters, and Machinists picketed the arrival of the first rail car on the new SMART train line serving Marin and Sonoma Counties yesterday in California. They protested SMART?s lack of hiring union workers as is required by the 2002 legislation authorizing the new line. ?They?re circumventing the law,? says Local President Raymond Messier. ?That?s no way to start a relationship.? Read more.

Transit SaskatoonIn Transit correction on Saskatoon, SK

The last issue of In Transit reported that the City of Saskatoon “has only given its transit employees half of the compensation the Local believes it owes, and it appears that issue will?eventually be taken to court.??The article should have said that the City ?has ruled that its transit employees?should receive only half of the compensation the Local believes it owes, …? And we misidentified Saskatchewan Local615?s local number in the story. ?We regret these errors.


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Thank a bus driver today

For 10 years, Frank Teichmann has been behind the wheel of a Kelowna Regional Transit bus.

He is the most requested member of the peer-to-peer defuser program, where operators assist their colleagues who are in need of counselling following a challenging situation on the job.

Frank also is the team lead on the Santa Sleigh Bus at Christmas, and always gives his riders a friendly hello when they come aboard.

Years of dedication and hard work on the job have not gone unnoticed, as BC Transit is recognizing Teichmann ahead of Driver?Appreciation day scheduled for March 18. Teichmann says he still very much enjoys his job and driving the city bus.

?It?s a nice job that I still get up in the morning and still enjoy going to work, and I work with a really good bunch of bus drivers that make it a lot easier.”

His job on the road has given Teichmann the opportunity to meet and talk with Kelowna locals giving him a real feel for the city after moving with his family from Saskatchewan in the early 2000s.

?As time goes on you get to know your passengers and that is nice. People get on and you recognized them, you know each other and you can have a little chit chat as they cruise by you,? explains Teichmann. ?You get to be more personable with people.”

Over the years Frank has driven routes through Rutland, Lakeshore and West Kelowna, but most recently he has been placed on the number 5.

?I have variety in my shifts, I do this shift (driving route number 5) for two days then on Wednesday I will switch to a different run for two days, so that gives me that variety.”

The special salute by BC Transit and Kelowna Regional Transit came as a bit of a surprise for Teichmann.

?I was surprised when I got a call and they said that I won,? he laughs. ?It is nice to be recognized for the profession that you do.?

The Kelowna transit driver was even given a nod by Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson and Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick.

“Every day, residents of Kelowna rely on a transit system that is safe, comfortable and reliable. Drivers like Frank are a big part of that success, and we thank him for his contributions,? says Thompson.

?Drivers like Frank are a big part of that success, and we thank him for his contributions,? adds Letnick.

When asked what the future will hold now he has been recognized, Teichmann replied, ?Keep driving the bus I guess, just keep driving.”

Courtesy of Kelowna news

Chicago Transit workers should not be silenced

Blow to emanuelA federal judge granted a temporary restraining order against the Chicago Transit Authority, dealing an embarrassing blow to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in advance of Tuesday?s runoff election. ATU filed a federal lawsuit alleging that CTA sought to ban political speech among transit workers because of their support for Jesus ?Chuy? Garcia.??Justice has been served in Chicago today, despite Mayor Emanuel?s best efforts,? declared International President Larry Hanley.? Read more.

One union one struggleDC Transit workers to rally against outsourcing & honor MLK

Honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., DC- area transit workers will hold a ?Rally for Respect? on Saturday to call attention to the poor service and the sweatshop-level wages and working conditions transit workers suffer as a result of outsourcing. April 4 marks the 47th anniversary of the death of Dr. King. Read more.

Lost dogHalifax bus driver helps lost dog get home

This week two year-old husky, Keiko, leaped over her fence to roam the streets of Halifax. After watching Keiko dodge traffic, a passerby waiting for a bus grabbed the dog. When the bus came, the driver, a dog lover, let Keiko come on the bus. The well-behaved dog stayed on until the end of line and was reunited with her owner. Read more.

Freedom indianaIndiana ?Religious Freedom Restoration Act? violates human rights

ATU criticized Indiana Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which would, in effect, make it legal to deny service to anyone if doing so would place a ?substantial burden? on one?s religious beliefs. Now it appears that overwhelming opposition to the law, including ATU?s, had an effect. The legislature?s GOP leadership has introduced an amendment that would prohibit using the law as a legal defense for refusing to provide virtually any kind of service, and prohibits any kind of discrimination ? including discrimination based on sexual orientation.

?Each day, our members proudly serve millions of passengers, regardless of who they are,? says International President Larry Hanley. ?That?s what public transportation is all about.? Read more.

Scat driversSCAT bus drivers may strike over stalled contract talks

Greensboro, NC paratransit drivers have threatened to strike over stalled contract negotiations with Transdev, who manages the bus service for elderly and disabled riders. Leaders of Local 1493have had no success despite meeting numerous times with the private company to resolve the contract dispute. The drivers do not want to strike because they take pride in the important job they do, but say it may be their only leverage. Read more.

Sen SandersSen. Sanders stands in solidarity with Las Vegas members

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-VT, joined Las Vegas transit workers this week in support of their struggle with RTC, Keolis, and MV. More than 300 members of Local 1637 and other unions cheered Sanders, who said, ?the labor movement is our best hope? I am with you.? Sanders is pictured, left, with two Local 1637 members.

Hamilton contractHamilton contract talks continue, strike looms

Sending a clear message to Hamilton, ON’s negotiators, Local 107members voted to strike if contract talks break down. The two sides remain far apart on many issues. Workers hope to reach a deal with the system that has been seriously underfunded for years, leading to shoddy working conditions. Read more.

Obama vetoesObama vetoes GOP bid to block union elections

President Obama has vetoed a law passed by the U.S. House Republican majority that attempted to overturn a National Labor Relations Board ruling that will speed up local union elections. The president said, ?one of the freedoms of folks who live in the United States is if they choose to join a union they should be able to do so. We shouldn?t be making it impossible for that to happen.?Read more.

Atu annual atuEnter First Annual ATU Photo Contest!

Have a great photo of ATU members on the job, at a protest, rally, or other event ? showing what makes ATU the great union it is today? Then submit that photo to the First Annual ATU Photo Contest! If not ? grab your camera or smart phone and start taking pictures that show why you?re proud to be ATU!? Submit photos here.