Manitoba

Winnipeg Transit workers reject city contract offer by 98 per cent

Winnipeg Transit workers have rejected a city contract offer but are not prepared to strike just yet.

Not prepared to strike yet; want talks to resume

Winnipeg Transit workers are OK wearing white but are not all right with the city's contract offer. (Marty Morantz/Twitter)

Winnipeg Transit workers have overwhelmingly rejected a city contract offer but are not prepared to strike just yet.

The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505 has been without a collective bargaining agreement since Jan. 12. More than 98 per cent of its members voted this week to reject a city contract offer, ATU 1505 president Aleem Chaudhary said Friday afternoon.

This places the union in a strike position, but Chaudhary said the union wants to return to the bargaining table. No fewer than 1,198 of the union's roughly 1,400 members took part in the vote.

"The results of the vote send a clear message to the City of Winnipeg that this offer simply isn't acceptable to our membership,"  Chaudhary said.

"We have already reached out to the city to with a request to return to the negotiation table as soon as possible."

The city presented the union the offer on March 21. In a press release last week, chief corporate services officer Michael Jack characterized the proposed contract as "a fair offer for taxpayers and the union."

In a statement on Friday, Jack said he is disappointed with the union vote but said the city is "committed to continue negotiating."

Winnipeg Transit drivers have not gone on strike since 1976. Over the past two years, transit workers have complained about unsafe working conditions and claimed transit managers have tried to discourage workers from reporting assaults on the job.

Workers have also complained the city has not done enough to improve safety since Irvine Jubal Fraser was stabbed to death on the job on Valentine's Day in 2017.

In November, Chaudhary said transit drivers were in the mood to strike over working conditions.

On Friday, he refused to say specifically what is not acceptable in the city's current contract offer.

Aleem Chaudhary, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union local 1505, said the union wants the city back at the bargaining table. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

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