Oakville Transit workers set to go on strike


Published February 14, 2022 at 2:58 pm

Oakville Transit workers will be on the picket line by 5 a.m. on Thursday (Feb. 17) if a deal is not reached between the union and its employer. OAKVILLE TRANSIT PHOTO

Oakville bus riders could be looking for a different way to get around later this week if the Town and workers can’t hammer out a new contract.

Unifor Local 1256 announced Monday it was giving 72 hours’ strike notice to Oakville Transit after its members rejected the Town’s latest contract offer.

“No one should be surprised that these essential workers at Oakville Transit are frustrated and rejected the company’s offer,” said Tim Mitchell, Unifor National Representative. “The issues on the table are both monetary in nature as well as related to working conditions, at a time of uncertainty, with Covid fatigue and high inflation.”

The union maintains the 179 bus drivers will be on the picket line by 5 a.m. on Thursday (Feb. 17) if the local and its employer can’t reach a deal.

The Town said it was notified Sunday night of the strike notice.

If members do walk Thursday morning, there will be no regular bus service or Home to Hub service and the transit’s specialized care-A-van service would continue to operate for dialysis appointments only.

“We are extremely disappointed that Unifor members have turned down a fair and reasonable settlement after bargaining in good faith, and left just 72 hours to let the public know about a strike,” said Phoebe Fu, Commissioner, Community Infrastructure. “The Town remains prepared to meet with the union to reach a resolution and get Oakville Transit services back on the road.”

The union members are seeking higher wages, top-up pay for drivers who, if they work 38 hours, will be topped up to 40 hours, better language for casual workers and more paid sick days.

“Our drivers have worked tirelessly through the pandemic providing reliable public transportation,” said Alice Kelly, President of Unifor Local 1256. “It’s no surprise they’re frustrated and they’ve voted to give notice that they are more than willing to exercise their right to strike.”

The collective agreement with the union expired on Jan. 31, 2022. The Town said it’s not unusual for labour negotiations to continue past the expiry of collective agreement and that negotiations between both sides had been ongoing.

The Town said its bargaining team and the union had reached a tentative settlement on Feb. 8, however despite being recommended by members of the union’s bargaining team the settlement was rejected by its members in a ratification vote on Sunday (Feb. 13).


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