City, Saskatoon Transit drivers' union meet as rally drums support for workers

Dozens of people, including some from outside the province, came together in Saskatoon to show support for the city’s bus drivers.

After meeting Friday, the two sides plan to meet again Monday

People from outside of the province were among those gathered to show support for Saskatoon Transit employees at a rally Saturday. (Albert Couillard/CBC)

Dozens of people, including some from outside the province, came together in Saskatoon to show support for the city's bus drivers.

The union representing transit employees and the city met on Friday, before Saturday's rally at city hall. The two sides say plans are in place to meet again on Monday.

The meetings are the latest as the two sides try to work out a new collective bargaining agreement, which expired in 2012.

At the rally, Jim Yakubowski — president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 615 — said the biggest division for the two sides continues to be wages and pension.

"The citizens have been without service only because we … haven't submitted to what they expect us to sign. We're not changing our pension plan," said Yakubowski.

In a statement, the City of Saskatoon said their offer in terms of wages would see transit employees getting a 10 per cent increase on their current wages.

The union representing Saskatoon Transit employees plans to meet with the city on Monday, after the two sides spent Friday meeting. (Albert Couillard/CBC)

Yakubowski said that isn't enough when you look at what transit employees are making throughout Western Canada.

"Why should we be at the bottom, or near the bottom? Somewhere in the middle is where we're seeking to be."

The city's director of human resources, Mario McInnis, said he feels it's a good sign that the two sides will meet again on Monday.

"It a very competitive package. It's fair. And as the economy has turned down a bit, it's even, I would say, above fair."

However, McInnis admitted the two sides still have a lot of work to do.

The city maintains it has offered the transit union the same four-year wage package and pension package it offered to the other unions and associations in the City's General Pension Plan. Agreements have been reached with eight other unions. The transit union is the only union yet to accept and ratify an agreement.

About the Author

Courtney Markewich

After spending five years in radio, Courtney Markewich joined CBC Saskatoon in 2016. She is currently a Social Media News Editor/Presenter for @CBCSask and @CBCSaskatoon.

With files from CBC's Victoria Dinh