Union urges OC Transpo workers to accept City’s offer

The union representing OC Transpo workers is calling for its members to support a new collective agreement with the city that would give workers a salary increase of 8.25 per cent over four years starting this year.

The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 279 has released a document on its website with details of the tentative contract, calling the deal “a good and fair contract.”

“Once it's ratified, this agreement will improve wages, working conditions and job security for all of ATU 279's members,” the document states.

Wage increases are the first item listed in the document. If workers accept the agreement, their salaries will increase by 2 per cent per year from 2012-14 and 2.25 per cent in 2015. The new deal would also reopen the OC Transpo garage on Merivale by fall 2012.

The union and the city reached the agreement Saturday, the same day the previous agreement was set to expire. Both sides agreed to a one-year extension of the previous agreement in September 2011, according to a news release from the city. Negotiations over a long-term deal began in January, the release states.
The deal also includes changes to policies related to sick leave, uniforms, job security and driver scheduling.

If the agreement is ratified, workers will be able to use six days of sick leave per year without requiring a medical certificate and can bank up to 12 sick days for future use.

The new contract would also provide golf shirts for drivers to wear as part of their summer uniforms, flashlights for drivers and messengers, prescription safety glasses for equipment workers, and an increased annual clothing allowance.

The deal would also create working groups for issues related to job security and driver scheduling.

OC Transpo workers have the option of attending a meeting Thursday at the Civic Centre to find out more about the agreement. Union members can then vote to ratify the offer between 8 a.m. April 10 and 7:59 a.m. April 11.

In December 2008, OC Transpo workers went on strike for nearly two months after contract negotiations failed between the union and the city.