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City bus drivers, maintenance workers approve new contract

Union members had given their negotiators a strike mandate, but 70 per cent voted in favour of the agreement.
Thunder Bay Transit

THUNDER BAY — Transit drivers and maintenance staff have voted in favour of a new collective agreement with the City of Thunder Bay.

The vote conducted on Tuesday saw 70 per cent of the members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 966 who cast ballots give their approval to the deal.

The 165-member local had previously given their bargaining team a strike mandate, but an agreement was hammered out with the assistance of a provincial conciliator.

City council must still ratify the deal, and that's expected to happen early next month.

According to a statement Wednesday from the city, details of the agreement will be withheld until then.

"We appreciate the impactful work ATU employees provide to our city, and are pleased to have reached a deal," said City Manager Norm Gale. "It's a credit to the bargaining teams on both sides as we look ahead to continuing to provide service excellence to residents."

Union president Fred Caputo had declared that wages and benefits must be improved in order to retain and attract enough drivers.

"I think we captured both in this agreement," he said in an interview Tuesday.

Caputo also indicated that safety improvements are part of the new deal.

"Right now we are looking at the controller's office being re-looked at and restructured. We've discussed this in negotiations and we've come up with a plan to help with that, to put more controllers on the road for better safety for our operators."

Transit controllers monitor daily operations and coordinate responses to incidents that may occur.

NOTE:  This story was updated at 12:10 pm Wednesday to include additional information about the provisions of the new contract

Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
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