Tbnewswatch Local News
Monday July 6 2015
10:31 PM EDT
2014-01-03 at 14:54

Transit strike looms

Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com
By Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com

Thunder Bay Transit workers will be in a legal strike position come as of Jan. 20.

Sheila Kivisto, president of local 966 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, said she got the official word just before Christmas, adding walking off the job is the worst-case scenario, and will only be undertaken if city officials refuse to return to the bargaining table.

Kovisto said workers are seeking wages that would put them on par with bus drivers in both Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie, though couldn’t say how much of a percentage increase they’re looking at.

“We’re looking at trying to get some meeting dates with the city,” she said. “The conciliation officer has to be here as well. We’re looking at trying to get that all set up the week prior to (the deadline), trying to hash out some negotiations at the last minute prior to doing something drastic.”

Transit workers have been without a contract since June 2012.

“We need to get this done. This has been too long and I’d rather see it get done. What we’re looking for is fair. I’m not looking for the moon and the sun. I just want fair to what provincially everyone else is getting.”

Kivisto said she’s not sure if the city is dragging its heels, but the union has tried to set negotiation dates with no success.

“Now push is coming to shove and I think this is going to get some dates, get some movement and get something done. Or then, like I said, the inevitable and maybe a strike has to happen.”

The union is also looking at other potential job actions, though Kivisto said nothing has been finalized at this point.

Reached for comment, Michael Smith, the city’s manager of facilities, fleets and transit services, said the municipality plans to return to the bargaining table within the next 10 days.

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petpals says:
Oh fastball they will get there lost wages back if they go on strike.....they will hike up the prices of the cash fare...the monthly passes and the punch passes......when I started riding transit 37 years ago times were simpler then and bus fare was a dime.
1/9/2014 8:06:38 PM
myopic not foolish says:
Just are the really greedy ones here? Administration or the Transit dept.? Over last 10 years
Admin Op Exp 200% increase
Transit Op Exp 27%
TTL City Exp 37%
1/6/2014 3:48:03 PM
mystified says:
hotchoc hit the nail on the head. Just give them a 3% increase on their current wage and move on.

To those who yap privatization! If you do work, how about your employer contracting out your job to the lowest bidder?

1/5/2014 1:42:13 PM
Chaos says:
So why do school bus drivers make $15 an hour with way less benefit? Don't they very similar jobs? Goes to show the gravy train at city hall is never ending. Raises for all!!! Those who are ok with raises have no concept of economics.
1/5/2014 9:17:32 AM
hotchoc says:
Mystified I appreciate the support except by following my advice and giving everyone 3%, that sort of makes people equal and we cannot have that.

The gap between richer and poorer continues to increase. Even with my suggestion in terms of real dollars cops/fire continue to get more and more than any other worker. I am unsure about mgm't wages but I cannot imagine mgm't would take less than the cops.

This vicious circle of entitlement that has been going on at City Hall for far too long just has to stop.

Then you have chaos comparing school kids to drunks/substance abusers and violent offenders while working at midnight.

The city has set the bar. I don't agree that 3% should be the norm. I do believe that if 3% is good enough for cops/fire, then it is good enough for everyone else that works on our behalf. Fast simple and let's get back them back to working for the city. There will be no strikes if everyone got 3%. Only the city might go broke.
1/6/2014 10:29:06 PM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
The Transit Union....the City's ONLY austerity target and whipping boy. Why does everyone else get automatic raises but them? City Hall PRETENDING they're being frugal with YOUR money? HAHAHAHAHAHA
1/5/2014 8:59:27 AM
bearcub says:
Go on strike, allow the passengers to find other modes of transportation. Maybe find a nice car pool. If it were nicer weather, I'd bike or walk, but with our frigid temperatures lately this is unlikely.
We depend on the big blue limo we call transit to get us to work and appointments.
I hope this is resolved before taking any strike action.
1/5/2014 4:32:02 AM
nvjgu says:
Privatization would be in order.
1/4/2014 12:40:03 PM
fastball says:
Just a point of information for the less-bright lights posting here.
Going out on strike is NOT indicative of job dissatisfaction. In fact, the money they'll lose while out on strike will NEVER be recouped in any wage increase. It's just the final step in a dance with management - a dance where the workers only have ONE legal recourse left to them..the right to withdraw services after all other avenues have been exhausted.
At some point, workers have to say that they will not accept concessions or unreasonable reductions in benefits - not while other local have successfully stayed with the status quo, or even gotten raises.
A 2 or 3 percent raise is NOT out of line, especially since they've been working under the old contract for the better part of 2 years now, I think.
1/4/2014 11:07:02 AM
unknowncronik says:
The BUS DRIVERS UNION has leverage on EVERYONE due to the timing of this contract...

Should extend the contract next time so the "STRIKE THREAT" comes up in the summertime, not during the dead cold of winter!!!

1/4/2014 9:18:16 AM
hotchoc says:

the police and firefighters are receiving somewhere around 3% this year for a wage increase.

Give them the same increase. Not the same salary but the same percentage increase. Give it to all city unions.

If it is good enough for one group, why not all of them.

Easy, quick and move on to the next issue without worrying about how ridiculous it was to give protective services those kinds of increases without a negative comment from anyone.

If the cops/fire need 3% on their salary, then surely the lower paid bus drivers deserve at least the same percentage increase on a much lower salary.
1/3/2014 11:24:22 PM
unknowncronik says:
hehe....your comment is so right!

It is so correct & it makes too much sense for this city & thus it must be removed from the agenda & forgotten in everyone's mind because it is too sensible for yallz...
1/4/2014 9:26:03 AM
Ed itw says:
Simple solution: Get Sudbury and SSM to lower their wages to be on par with Thunder Bay.
1/3/2014 10:14:33 PM
brooky says:
It's only a matter of time before all of these city and provincial jobs that require little talent, are privitized. The wages and benefits will be half as much as they are now. Get it while you can boys and girls.
1/3/2014 9:50:45 PM
fastball says:
You actually said "little talent" in regards to bus drivers?
And you want people with "little talent" responsible for the lives of not only the passengers on the bus, but also other vehicles on the road....all for the princely sum of 12-13 bucks an hour and no benefits?
Wow...at this point, words fail me.
1/4/2014 12:00:05 PM
brooky says:
Driving a bus 1/4 full of people around town at 50 km/hr is not rocket science last time I checked. I'm positive that I could do it with a weeks training. That's what I meant when I said "little talent". I didn't say no talent. You have to factor in that weeks training.
1/4/2014 11:59:51 PM
fastball says:
I've been a bus rider by choice for 25 years. I have a stop right outside my house and one right outside my workplace...so it works for me.
Ever try getting on the Crosstown between 8 and 9am? Jammed full of college and university students. Or a Memorial at 5pm - jammed packed of people trying to get home from work.
As for buses 1/4 full - well, that's a Transit route/scheduling issue debate for another day.
Driving a 50 foot, 3 ton vehicle through our city streets - sharing the road with hundred of other drivers that appear to have gotten their licence from a Cracker Jack box, on a lane-and-a-half in winter....not to mention the colourful, loud and occasionally abusive and chemically-altered passengers - I'd say, yeah that takes a certain amount of training and skill. I don't think a week would cut it. It might take you a week to learn to drive a bus...but it takes YEARS to learn to drive a bus WELL.
1/5/2014 10:58:24 AM
minstrel says:
and what makes you think that the employees of a private company would not unionize?
1/4/2014 12:56:42 PM
brooky says:
Oh. So unionizing is the answer? Don't get me wrong here. I'm a proud trade union member that spent 5 years and several trips for schooling in Toronto (much at my own expense) to get my ticket. The problem with unions now is that it's strength by numbers only. Little skills. If privatizing goes union, so be it. It will be the successful bidding companys problem. Not the taxpayers. They will still be under contract to provide the service.
1/5/2014 12:15:32 AM
patti says:
A rise in wages will reduce the overall service just watch and see.

I predict most runs will cease at 8 pm as buses are practically empty after this time anyways.
1/3/2014 9:16:45 PM
circca says:
get the buss to the stops on time before you ask for a raise... if i want a raise i have to do my job well
1/3/2014 7:39:50 PM
SomeGuy says:
Have you ever thought it might not be the bus drivers fault? I have been on the bus where traffic has delayed the bus, passengers have delayed the bus, weather has delayed the bus.

Often times I think actually it's not the bus drivers fault.
1/3/2014 9:14:53 PM
baor says:
How about learn how to spell and use proper grammar first.
1/3/2014 10:01:06 PM
worker1 says:
@ tsb : I think the turn-over is due to retirement... They are constantly hiring why don't the complainers on here apply ,,,but wait maybe they did and didn't make the cut...hahaha
1/3/2014 7:20:36 PM
sickandtired says:
I believe that they should strike .... They are underpaid compared to other cities and put themselves at risk every day in our dangerous city! Good luck!
1/3/2014 7:03:52 PM
ring of fire dude says:
The City couldn't pay me enough do drive a transit bus in this city . With all the drunks ,drug users and pushers and all the abuse they take , they don't pay them enough .
1/3/2014 6:54:47 PM
butch4u says:
wow again going on strike well at least i can say at least you have a job there are people out there who doesn't have a job and wants to work. wages for what to drive that all they do is drive and stop and drive but hey at least they have a job. Going on strike is just a waste not thinking about other people when they have to go to work.
1/3/2014 6:14:30 PM
nat_geo says:
After trying to decipher your comment it comes as no surprise you don't have a job.
1/3/2014 9:02:41 PM
whiteanglosaxonprotestant says:
The buses are never on time. Always late or too early. Some are very rude and not friendly at all. Find people that actually appreciate a good city job with security.
1/3/2014 5:08:17 PM
tsb says:
Not having a contract isn't security. If you are a regular transit user, you would know that their turn over has gotten high. They are constantly training new drivers and very few of them seem willing to stay.
1/3/2014 6:05:33 PM
Slickandwet says:
Set your watch to GMT time, for accuracy, then be at the stop 3 to 5 minutes ahead of the posted time on the schedule. Using this approach you will never miss.
1/5/2014 4:23:40 AM
Ygnacio says:
Sit behind the wheel before you make judgement.
1/3/2014 4:44:37 PM
fastball says:
Would you be entirely thrilled being practically the lowest paid people for doing the same job in all of Ontario?
It's funny how Administration can vote themselves compensation that is consistent with other municipalities across the province - yet apparently balks at allowing others to ask the same.
1/3/2014 4:40:04 PM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
The City's I.A.T.S.E. unionized stagehands at the Aud are the LOWEST PAID IN NORTH AMERICA....and so should every other civil servant.
1/5/2014 9:03:24 AM
Papercut says:
Not sure what all the crying is about?

I think it is reasonable that they ask to be paid what their comparitor's get paid in similar sized communities in Ontario.

1/3/2014 4:08:22 PM
The Beaver..... says:
How did anyone ever come up with the ridiculous idea that one deserves the pay that is given in other jurisdictions. I can earn what people in my field earn in Toronto easy no problem all I have to do is move there.
1/3/2014 3:58:39 PM
minstrel says:
this attitude is why there is not enough doctors and other medical professionals in tbay. if every profession goes where they can make more money, nobody is left. we need to be competitive.
1/4/2014 12:41:22 PM
nvjgu says:
Oh so Sudbury and Sault have the same economy as here. Your making enuf. Get too work.
1/3/2014 3:51:58 PM
pylon says:
Whoever you are... you should run for village idiot in October.. I love your bold disregard for almost everything.
1/4/2014 12:17:44 AM
Slickandwet says:
codvx87 try driving a bus and not crashing it while keeping it on time in bad weather conditions and (this is the big one) in heavy traffic while people are talking to you. Answer all of their questions correctly. And make all your connections with the other buses. Don't hit the cyclists (yep, they are still out there on the roads, even today) and don't hit cars who fail to realize that they are not going fast enough to pull out in front of you.
1/4/2014 12:45:16 AM
codvx87 says:
This is like the 4th time, find someone else for the jobs if they don't like them!
1/3/2014 3:28:43 PM
minstrel says:
or, the city should negotiate new contracts before the current one expires.
1/4/2014 12:36:00 PM
Slickandwet says:
They are always finding someone else for the jobs, because some drivers once they are trained leave for positions and places with better wages.
1/5/2014 4:12:15 AM
Dockboy says:
Holy man, I thought we just went through this not long ago!
1/3/2014 3:01:57 PM
tsb says:
We did. The problem is, the they're two or three year long contracts, and they're always finalized a year or two late (in the case of our firefighters, I think it was three years late). But, they're also retroactive. So we're currently negotiating what transit drivers will be paid between June 2012 and June 2015... Except, it's already 2014. This means that if they get a raise, we have to give them backpay. (That's why so many firefighters got on the sunshine list last year; they won't be on it this year.)

There are a lot of unionized workers in this city in this situation, and it's not limited to public sector workers either.
1/3/2014 6:04:13 PM
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