Tbnewswatch Local News
Friday July 3 2015
2:13 AM EDT
2014-01-16 at 11:39

Transit talks

File photograph.
Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com
File photograph.
By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com

The next 48 hours could determine whether city buses will run Monday morning.

Negotiating teams for the city and the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents 160 local members, are heading to a conciliation meeting Thursday morning to try and reach a deal over wages and try to avoid a strike that would shut down bus service as of 12:01 a.m. Monday.

ATU Local 966 president Shelia Kivisto said the talks will last until noon on Saturday if need be.

That deadline will give the public and union members enough time to prepare if the two sides can't make a deal.

"I'm really really trying to be optimistic that there's going to be a deal," Kivisto said before heading into the meeting at the Victoria Inn Thursday. "But I also realistically think that it is time for us to stand up for what we truly believe we deserve."

While some agreements have been reached between the city and union, wages and some benefits continue to be at issue. Kivisto said Thunder Bay drivers are the second-lowest paid in the province, next to Cornwall's 28 members. Drivers in the city continue to fall further behind.

"We've been backed into a corner and we have to come out swinging," she said.

Drivers have been without a contract since June of 2012. They voted 99 per cent in favour of job action in October.




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worker1 says:
If those who are involved with the transit contract talks manage to get the union to accept a small offer, they in turn get a big bonuses.. .. Where is the fairness in that.? when they themselves are overpaid.. City management are just plain greedy, looking out only for themselves
1/17/2014 12:34:38 PM
conker2012 says:
I don't know if the ATU is aware, but the days of the driver operated bus are coming to an end. Subway and light rail systems often use automated train operating systems, or driver-less vehicles as a way to reduce operating costs. This technology is being developed for bus systems since they travel on consistent routes. The initial investment is expected to be about the same as 2-3 years salary for an operator per bus plus some infrastructure upgrades. This means that in the next 10-25 years we may not have people driving buses, but rather computers that will rarely be late and never early and can run 24 hours a days without a need to rest.
1/17/2014 10:32:14 AM
fastball says:
You're talking about remote-controlled, automated driving systems with decades-away future cutting-edge technology.
This is TBay - where something as advanced as a cloverleaf or turnabout is unheard of, and where the mere mention of a dedicated bike lane is cause for heads to explode.
Nah - I'd safely hazard a prediction that the human transit operator will still be around in 25 years.
1/17/2014 4:37:22 PM
Kam River says:
Why to the city unions all demand to be the highest paid in the Province?
If you are not a city worker or a gov employee you might be making $18.00 to $20.00 per hour or less.
Yet we are the ones that have to dig into our pockets to pay them.
How much to the trans people make with benefit's pensions $35to $45.00 give me a break!!
1/16/2014 7:09:24 PM
tsb says:
They're not demanding to be the highest paid in the province. They're demanding to not be the lowest paid in the province. Pretty big difference!
1/16/2014 9:52:30 PM
S Duncan says:
the cycle repeats. then the lowest paid want raises, then it comes full circle and we all get hit again.

If you want them to get paid more, why don't you start donating money to the bus drivers?

Surely you can afford it?
1/17/2014 8:36:25 AM
fastball says:
Don't be ridiculous, SD. There's a difference between tabling outrageous contractual demands - and merely asking for the same pay that someone else doing exactly the same job in a similar demographic is getting paid.
The price of everything else goes up - fuel, food, utilities and consumer goods. If you think getting something like a 1.5 percent annual raise suddenly puts Joe Average Working Guy on Easy Street, you're sadly mistaken. Joe Average Working Guy just want to keep his head above water and not have to worry about management clawing back every benefit he ever got.
1/17/2014 4:29:53 PM
Today1 says:
What are your feelings about 25% management raises at the City...and there is an ever increasing number of them every year.....I don't recall City Hall publishing the raises, do you? I wonder what the increase was Jan 1, who determined the increases...was it 1.5% or was it 15% or more, nah not City Hall
1/16/2014 11:04:19 PM
SomeGuy says:
Today1 please provide some proof as the 25% raises management got, and don't say "Google it"
1/17/2014 9:16:45 AM
nvjgu says:
What's to talk about get in the bus drive it and be happy you have a job with benefits.
1/16/2014 7:01:45 PM
fastball says:
I hope the guys a fair deal.
They've worked without a contract for 18 months - while the City has shown no inclination to even to go the table, let alone work out a fair deal. That merely demonstrates the absolute lack of respect and appreciation for an employee. Giving a guy a 1.5 percent raise a year is not going to break anyone's bank. The union is not asking for solid gold lunch breaks or paid Hawaii vacations - just fairness, is all.
1/16/2014 3:49:42 PM
SomeGuy says:
The city will bend to the union. The city will have the thousands of people that use transit every day beating down their door to settle.
1/16/2014 3:31:02 PM
patti says:
The union will eventually screw themselves again ~ as the city WILL or SHOULD cut service to combat the rising costs.

1/16/2014 3:21:06 PM
petpals says:
You all knew the end of May...beginning of June 2012 that your contract was coming up for negotiations....why did you's wait so long to get started on it? As for the wage thing.... well you all should start at minimum wage ($10.25 per hour) and work your way up like the rest of the working population of the city of Thunder Bay. Then you might appreciate the starting wage of $18.00 that you start with.
1/16/2014 2:47:22 PM
fastball says:
Why should everyone slide down to the lowest level? Do you want a job that ultimately pays 23 dollars an hour? Then get up and LOOK for one!!
1/16/2014 6:59:05 PM
Winger says:
Strike for a year or two. Save us some money.
1/16/2014 1:37:24 PM
tsb says:
Over 1,500 people depend on public transit to get to work every day. Without it, they will lose their jobs.

Which would you rather pay? For a public transit system that recovers 40% of its costs, or for a welfare system that recovers nothing?
1/16/2014 9:53:28 PM
Jjlane says:
I rely on the transit to get to school (LU). I also work and bus across town daily. I am not originally from Tbay but so far I plan on staying here. This is going to be a real hardship for me but am not against bus drivers receiving a wage on par with the average across the province.
Just because you want a buck in your pocket thousands of riders should suffer for a couple years? Selfish and rude!
1/17/2014 3:15:15 AM
hardball says:
...go for it...see how much the city relies on bus tranitions....some will have practically no movement...literally...
1/16/2014 1:08:14 PM
sweetazmaple says:
i remeber when i was a teen transit was on strike 6 or 8 weeks that time and ppl managed just fine
1/16/2014 9:25:27 PM
Loudmouth101 says:
It takes a great deal of skill and patience to drive a bus... Ask any of the school bus drivers that are on our highways at 6:30 every morning, making 60% of what the city bus drivers make. Why didn't you people strike in July or August? Your leverage is holding the riders hostage in the worst month of winter? SAD,
1/16/2014 11:59:26 AM
Today1 says:
Are you sure that the union didn't want to bargain, or was it the City. I've noticed that quite a few City contracts have been negotiated way past the deadline. I think that maybe Management may be holding you hostage, or are you being biased.
1/16/2014 4:54:40 PM
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