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