PRESS RELEASE: Fix It, Fund it, and Make It Fair


 Winnipeg – The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1505 is calling on the City of Winnipeg to expand its bus service and adopt what they call a “safer, saner approach” to providing transit service.


“Our message to the City is simple: fix it, fund it, and make it fair,” says John Callahan, President of ATU 1505. “Winnipeggers deserve a safer and more reliable transit service. But when the City compensates transit workers below the national average, refuses to hire enough drivers to deliver the service our communities need, and works those that they do employ 13 hours per day, they are jeopardizing their obligation to provide that safe and reliable service to the citizens of Winnipeg. “


According to Callahan, a first year bus operator is paid $18.42 per hour while working a three part shift just to earn a standard eight hours’ worth of pay. “That means a bus operator who is devoted to his riders can spend up to 15 hour per day in uniform and only be paid for half of that,” Callahan says. “It’s not right for the workers, and is it safe for our riders?” ATU 1505 has been working tirelessly to reach a contract settlement with the City and Winnipeg Transit over the last several months.


“We came to the table not with a hand out, but rather a helping hand,” Callahan says. “The ATU knows transit. We work with our International office in Washington, D.C. and have examples of funding models as well as cost efficient fleet expansion ideas. But it would seem the City isn’t interested in working together on any of it.”


In the last two meetings with the City and Winnipeg Transit, there has been no movement towards reaching a fair contract for Transit employees. This prompted ATU 1505 to call on members to stop working voluntarily overtime, effective April 27, until the City and Winnipeg Transit are willing to meet and negotiate a fair and competitive deal.


Winnipeg Transit has been named a “benchmark” (OMBI) transit system for its cost-efficient service, 26% below national average a goal Callahan says ATU is committed to maintaining: “ATU members are proud of the efficiency and effectiveness of their work, but we’re afraid that the City’s intransigence could drag the whole system backward.”


“It is the goal of the ATU to deliver a safer, more reliable service, and we expect the City to get back to the table and talk with us in a meaningful way about making our system stronger.”


The contract between ATU 1505 and the City of Winnipeg expired in January 17th 2015. At the request of the City, the ATU 1505 has agreed to enter into conciliation. ATU 1505 represents over 1100 drivers, and approximately 250 maintenance personnel at Winnipeg Transit.

 


For more information contact: 
John Callahan, President Business Agent, ATU Local 1505
pba1505@mymts.net

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PRESS RELEASE: Transit Union to refuse overtime, Transit service delays possible

  Released: 1:52 p.m.

“Winnipeg, MB – On Friday, April 17, 2015, members of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), Local 1505, representing Winnipeg Transit drivers and maintenance workers, voted to reject an Offer of Settlement between the City of Winnipeg and ATU’s negotiating committee.
ATU is in a legal strike position and has advised that they will start refusing overtime beginning Monday, April 27. This could result in operational and service disruptions for Winnipeg Transit, and its customers. Disruptions may include late and/or cancelled bus service on any number of routes throughout the day. Customers should be prepared for possible Transit delays.

Customers can check for the latest route and schedule information at winnipegtransit.com or by contacting 311, available 24 hours every day by phone at 311 or by email at .
Negotiations between ATU and the City are scheduled to resume on Monday, April 27 and the City is optimistic that a settlement can be reached.
Handi-Transit customers are not affected as service is provided by private contractors.
Winnipeg Transit carries over 130,000 riders each weekday and employs approximately 1,100 bus operators and about 250 maintenance staff.
The last time Winnipeg Transit workers went on strike was in 1976.”

http://winnipeg.ca/cao/media/news/nr_2015/nr_20150424.stm#2

Why does it feel like we are going backwards?

I am beginning to get my doubts if we are going to get summer anytime soon. The snow melted so incredibly early this year, but spring is failing to fulfill its seasonal duties so that we can move on to summer. The trees are also showing their impatience by showing signs of budding, but they haven’t yet grown their leaves. 

I am basing all my impatience on the cold weather we have been experiencing here in Winnipeg. Last night was -10 celcius (14F). It was way too cold for this time of year. I had already put away my winter clothes, but was forced to retrieve them yesterday. It was incredibly disappointing. 

On the bright side, at least it didn’t snow. It is still a bit on the cold side today, but thankfully I didn’t have to wear a jacket to work this afternoon. 

I am very eager for summer to arrive as I feel like we didn’t really get a decent summer last year. The five things I’m looking forward to most this summer:

  1. Enjoying the patio at Earl’s on Main Street
  2. Going to Grand Beach to get some swimming and tanning done (and enjoying the hot shirtless men)
  3.  Walking through the English Garden at Assiniboine Park
  4. Getting ice cream as many days as possible 
  5. Pulling out the roller blades and finding some awesome trails to explore

What are you looking forward to doing most this summer?

A Long Overdue Blog and a Happy Earth Day

 

I feel like I don’t even remember how to sit down and write a blog. It has been such a long time and there have been so many changes in my life I don’t even know where to begin. 

I guess I should start with the thing that is still the same since most of you will think that this is the first thing that I would change. I haven’t changed jobs and am quickly approaching my one year anniversary of driving a transit bus.  I am really happy and don’t see that changing anytime in the near future. 
The biggest change that has happened in my life is the separation of me and M.  After four years we have officially separated (again). As a result, I have moved out of our home and have become roomies with one of my very best friends. I have spent two nights in my new home and it has been great so far. 
Since my last official blog, I have been living with my parents who thankfully were able to provide me accommodations through the rough period of the initial separation. My parents and I have had our challenges in getting along in the past, but this time I would describe the past month of living with them a blessing. I have realized how precious time is and how quickly it passes by. I am really thankful that I had the opportunity to spend time with my parents while they are still young and healthy. 
As I mentioned earlier, I moved in with my friend S at the beginning of this week. I was really nervous about learning how to share my living space with a friend and uncertain about how me intruding on her living space was going to go. However, we have made it through two days together and so far we am adapting well, but I can only speak for my views of the situation. 
I have also switched back to driving the late night buses at work. It is wonderful starting work after 3pm, but it would be even more wonderful if my body would adapt to sleeping in past 10am. I’m sure with time the change will take place, but until then I am having to schedule afternoon naps into my day to make sure I am well rested for my work shift. 
I think I have briefly summarized all the major highlights of the last little while in my life. I am really enjoying focusing my energy into positive changes and striving to become more aligned and focused on my values and goals. One of my goals that you’ve probably noticed me struggling with has been writing and maintaining my blog. I am looking forward to adding the change of writing to my life and making it a much higher priority than I have made it over the last while.
I think that is where I am going to end my blog today. There are many more stories to come so stay tuned. Happy Earth Day!