Transit union wants Ottawa city council vote on mediator's proposal
Ottawa's striking transit union is demanding that Ottawa city council hold a public vote on a contract settlement proposed earlier by a federal mediator.
"We think city council should be held to the same standard they are suggesting for us," Andre Cornellier, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279, said in a news release Tuesday, the 21st day of the strike.
Cornellier was referring the city's request to federal Labour Minister Rona Ambrose to force union members to vote on the city's latest contract offer. Ambrose is expected to decide on the matter this week.
Proposal would put scheduling change on hold
According to the union, the federal mediator's proposal suggested the parties set aside the city's planned new scheduling system for a joint study during the term of the collective agreement. The union said the scheduling proposal has been the major stumbling block during negotiations.
However, after the latest round of negotiations broke off on Christmas Eve, the city said the two sides are also far apart on other issues.
About 2,300 drivers, dispatchers and maintenance workers represented by Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279 walked off the job on Dec. 10.
Mayor Larry O'Brien said the city proposed the forced vote because it believes drivers don't share the opinion of union leadership on the city's latest offer. The union alleges the offer is very similar to the one rejected by drivers when they voted in favour of the strike.
The union has said the city's scheduling proposal takes away some of the drivers' flexibility to arrange their schedules to accommodate their personal lives. The city has said its proposal would be safer, fairer and more cost-effective.