Hamilton’s final contract offer ‘insulting,’ says transit union amid looming HSR strike
Published October 26, 2023 at 6:00 pm
After 26 days of bargaining, Hamilton’s transit union has announced that talks have broken off and it’s strongly recommending workers reject the City’s final offer of a contract that it says is “insulting” and “doesn’t keep pace with inflation.”
Eric Tuck, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 107 representing over 800 transit workers in Hamilton, said the Hamilton Street Railway’s final offer was an average 3.2 per cent of wage increases over four years, or 3.7 per cent in the first year and three per cent annually for the other three years.
The union is seeking a base wage increase of four per cent and a market adjustment that is reflective of the current market, Tuck said.
“By accepting another deal that fails to keep pace with inflation we are on the road to becoming the working poor, and that simply isn’t acceptable or fair,” he said in a statement Wednesday (Oct. 25).
For the final offer, Tuck said the union executive is “unanimously recommending members turn it down” during a meeting on Nov. 5.
If members reject it, the union will set a strike date and give passengers three days’ notice.
Tuck told inthehammer.com today (Oct. 26) that the union’s request of a four-per-cent increase is in line with what the City gave non-union staff.
He said 1,100 non-union staff, such as managers and project managers, earn $120,000 to $160,000 a year and recently received a four-per-cent base wage hike along with a market adjustment of up to an extra 11 per cent.
Many of the bureaucrats are working a hybrid model of three days from home, he pointed out. “That’s a huge benefit my members don’t enjoy,” he said, noting transit workers provided vital services to keep the economy and essential industries running during the pandemic.
Tuck pointed out that inflation was close to four per cent this year. He said members have lost seven per cent in real wages due to inflation over two years.
“We will urge our passengers and taxpayers to reach out to their councillors and demand a fair deal for frontline transit workers that keeps pace with inflation,” Tuck added.
The City of Hamilton advises people to prepare contingency plans for potential disruption to transit service. It is posting updates here.
In an update on its website, the City of Hamilton said it presented its final offer to the ATU Local 107 on Oct. 24. “The ATU has indicated publicly that they will take no strike action without providing at least 72 hours’ prior notice to the customers,” the City said. “The City will not be locking out the ATU members. As such, we expect service will run as scheduled, until notice otherwise.”
The City’s accessible transit service provider (DARTS) will not be affected by an ATU-related labour disruption, it said.
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