Thunder Bay Transit talks hit speed bump

Despite help from a conciliator, negotiators for the city and the bus drivers union were unable to make enough headway yesterday to reach a collective agreement at Thunder Bay Transit.

Despite help from a conciliator, negotiators for the city and the bus drivers union were unable to make enough headway yesterday to reach a collective agreement at Thunder Bay Transit.

The talks were adjourned, but Amalgamated Transit Union Local 966 president Sheila Kivisto said she isn't ready to predict a strike.

Thunder Bay Transit bus drivers won't be going on strike just yet, their union leader says. More contract talks with the city are in the works. (Adam Burns/CBC)

“Is it over?  Probably not,” Kivisto said. “We've had longer fights than this in previous contracts. I'm just looking for a fair deal and that's what I've been looking for the whole time.”

A spokesperson for the city said there is a plan to schedule more talks.

After talks concluded on Wednesday, Thunder Bay city manager Tim Commisso said the following in an email to CBC News:

“I believe we have, from Council, the direction we need to work out a new multi-year agreement,” he wrote. “But we are clearly not there yet, based on my update today."

One of the major sticking points is wages. Kivisto said Thunder Bay transit drivers earn $22.72 an hour. But Sault Ste. Marie, which she said has a smaller transit system, is about to pay its drivers about $25 an hour, starting in February.

The transit drivers last contract expired about 15 months ago.

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