The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 615 believes contract talks have dragged on long enough and it’s time to take the next step.
The ATU said Friday it intends to take ‘job action,’ which means the union will engage in work-to-rule and refuse to work overtime as of Saturday.
The union issued a 48 hour-strike notice on Sept. 16.
That notice put the union in a legal position to walk off the job effective 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, however, employees have thus far remained on the job.
At that time, union leadership said that other forms of job action would come ahead of a full-on walkout.
In a letter to city management, Union local president Jim Yakubowski wrote:
“ATU 615 will not be initiating a complete cessation of work immediately in the event this notice is enacted upon at or after 5 p.m. on Sunday Sept. 18.”
Those options include a work-to-rule campaign, an overtime ban, drivers not wearing uniforms and study sessions, as well as partial or complete withholding of service.
The measures announced Friday were officially set to begin at 12:01 a.m. Nov. 12.
Yakubowski couldn’t say for sure whether passengers would notice any service disruptions.
“I can’t guarantee that they won’t, but I’m not stating definitively that they will either,” said Yakubowski. “We’re not willing to work overtime in order to achieve the service. What impact that’s going to have, that’s impossible for me to predict at the moment.”
But he also said his members have been “barely making service” as of right now, in terms of having spare buses available.
“And it’s certainly no secret that our maintenance department has been working a significant amount of overtime,” Yakubowski added.
— ATU Local 615 (@ATULocal615) November 11, 2016
Back in May of this year, Saskatoon’s transit workers decided its members will go to work in regular clothes rather than their uniforms.
Yakubowski stated at the time the move would raise awareness to the fact that transit workers were still working without a collective agreement.
The two sides have yet to come to an agreement on a pension plan.
Saskatoon Transit workers have been without a contract since 2012.
City of Saskatoon releases statement
In response to this latest move by the union, the city issued a news release on Friday.
The statement said an offer was tabled with the ATU on Thursday that the union had previously indicated would be suitable.
The city offer was a 10% wage increase.
The statement added that the ATU Executive retrenched its position on the pension changes and now says it will not accept the pension changes or the future sustainability plan for the pension.
The statement went on to say the city has been “very practical in bargaining with the ATU Executive over the last four years, but we can now only conclude that they are firmly entrenched in their belief that they deserve a better pension than any of the other city employees.”