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It’s not collective bargaining

I am extremely disappointed with the way that Mayor Karen Farbridge, CAO Ann Pappert and the City of Guelph have vilified the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1189 in the media for rejecting the city’s offer.
It seems that the City of Guelph is joining other governments (the Harper Conservatives and the provincial Liberals) in ignoring the foundation of collective bargaining, preferring instead to impose contracts.
The city’s statement – “Guelph Transit services are halted indefinitely until such time as the members of ATU Local 1189 reconsider the city’s offer” – implies that union members must accept the city’s offer, take it or leave it.
End of conversation.  This is not collective bargaining.
The mayor implies on her blog that the lockout is a direct result of the union members’ refusal to accept terms dictated by the city. In fact, there is no reason why both parties could not continue to sit and talk at the bargaining table (or include an arbitrator) while buses continue to move. The city, however, does not want to listen.
The city bargaining team continues to speak about salary increases and how these would increase transit rates, in an attempt to sway public opinion against the drivers.  However, salary increases do not seem to be what is preventing union members from accepting the new contract.
Better access to washrooms and a lunchroom seem to top the list. As transit workers are constantly on the move, I can appreciate how bathroom breaks in a designated spot, instead of the nearest Tim’s, and somewhere to eat a sandwich and take a breather would be important to increasing job satisfaction.
Vilifying city workers in the media will do just the opposite.
Michael Brodie

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