Transit union raises new contract concerns with City

Jeremie Charron, CTV Winnipeg
Published Tuesday, June 11, 2019 6:32PM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, June 11, 2019 6:50PM CST

The Amalgamated Transit Union raised concerns Tuesday about ongoing contract negotiations with the City of Winnipeg.

The union says the city wants to hire close to 200 more part-time transit workers but isn’t willing to pay them what the union feels is an appropriate wage. It says the part-time workers would be paid $10 less per hour and wouldn’t get benefits.

“They’re looking at hiring some part timers but as it is right now we have a 10% turnover with the full-timers, which if it was a private industry so many red flags would be going up but it seems to be normal business as usual in Winnipeg Transit,” said Aleem Chaudhary, president on the Amalgamated Transit Union.

Transit drivers have been without a contract since January. Last month, drivers overwhelmingly rejected the city’s latest contract offer.

Mayor Brian Bowman wouldn’t comment on specific contract negotiation issues but says he hopes a deal is reached that is fair to employees and taxpayers.

“I think the negotiations should happen at the negotiating table not through the media, so I think that those concerns and those issues should be dealt with at the negotiating table and we want to see a collective agreement reached sooner than later, we don’t want to see a disruption of service,” said Mayor Bowman.

Leona Konowalchuk, who rides the bus every second day, is concerned about what could happen if the union and the city don’t reach an agreement soon.

“It makes me upset, because then I won’t be able to get to my appointments or anything because I don’t drive, and I’m getting up in age,” said Konowalchuk.

The union says the city has applied for conciliation to help both parties with negotiations. The two sides have not talked since the last contract was rejected, said the union.