Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 966 Shelia Kivisto said 76 per cent of her members are in favour of a tentative five-year deal with the city.
A tentative deal between the city and its transit workers would pay those workers a similar wage to drivers in comparable Ontario cities.
Transit workers are the second-lowest paid in the province, one of the main sticking points that launched a marathon contract negotiation session over the weekend.
The five-year deal reached Saturday morning, which members of the Amalgamated Transit Union ratified by 76 per cent Sunday, will put wages somewhere in the middle of the pack the union says.
"We were just asking to be recognized that we needed to be paid fairly," Local 966 president Shelia Kivisto said.
The negotiations started Thursday morning and ran until 2 a.m. Friday. The two sides were back at the table that morning and talked until a deal was struck around 8 a.m. Saturday.
"Everybody had a line in the sand," Kivisto said. "We went back and forth a quite a few times."
The deal is retroactive to June 30, 2012. It will be 1.75 per cent annually, similar to other bargaining units in the city have received. It also includes an additional increase for transit drivers.
Kivisto said some members aren't happy with the deal but it will mean 3.5 years of labour peace.
"It's a beautiful thing and I think a lot of the membership is happy with that," she said.
CIty council apporved the deal unanimously Monday night. Mayor Keith Hobbs thanked both sides in what he called a tough and lengthy negotiation.