Guelph Transit Back Friday; ATU & City Both Ratify Agreement

August 8 has always been a politically significant day, in 1942 it was the start of the Quiet India movement, in 1974 it was the day that Richard Nixon announced he was stepping down from the presidency, and in 1990 it was the day that Iraq invaded Kuwait, setting off a series of events that would lead to the Gulf War.

Now August 8 is the date when the Guelph Transit lockout ended and the buses will start rolling out onto city roads once more. The City of Guelph and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1189 have both ratified a new contract and service will be restored once schedules are made and the bus fleet is inspected, which should be Friday at the earliest. What’s in the agreement, and what’s next for riders? Read on…

You might recall that when we last left talk of an agreement the city and the union were at an impasse; the union wanted concessions regarding working conditions which the city didn’t hear, understand, or thought they could throw raises at those issues to resolve them.

Highlights of the deal that was reached late last week include a 6.8 per cent raise over four years, which is 0.4 per cent more than in the city’s original “final deal” and will increase the base pay for a transit operator by $2.36 by 2017, a reduction of LTD (long-term disability) payments form 75 per cent to 70 as of January 2015, a capping of Lieu time hours to 50 per calendar year, no change in benefits, an enhanced grievance resolution process, and a Letter of Understanding concerning union requests for washrooms and a lunch room.

Step two in this process for transit users is when and how to get passes and tickets for August. The city will be offering free service from the beginning of reinstatement till the end of day on Thursday, August 15. Two week bus pass will be available from select purchase points in the city, and you can find the locations, days and times at this link.

Here’s the official press release from the City of Guelph:

Guelph, ON, August 5, 2014—Guelph City Council and members of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1189 voted today to ratify the tentative agreement reached on Thursday, July 31. Work to resume transit service is already underway.

“While we expect to restore Transit service in our community by Friday, this isn’t a celebration,” said Guelph Mayor Karen Farbridge. “Guelph’s transit riders and, in particular, the working poor have endured a tremendous hardship throughout this disruption. Tomorrow the hard work continues as we work to repair the relationship between City administration and our transit employees.”

“This has been a difficult process, but we’ve ended up in a better place,” said ATU Local 1189 President Andrew Cleary. “We are looking forward to getting Guelph moving again this week.”

“Transit service will be free for all users until the end of service August 15 to give riders the opportunity to purchase their August bus passes and encourage people to return to transit,” said the City’s Chief Administrative Officer Ann Pappert.

To restore Guelph Transit services, mechanics, drivers and mobility service employees are being called to report to work on Wednesday to restore mobility service by Thursday, August 7 and road test the necessary 54 vehicles to be able to resume service by Friday, August 8. Any changes to these estimates will be communicated immediately.

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