HSR workers move closer to strike action

 

Negotiations between the city and the union representing Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) workers have broken down and the possibility of a transit strike looms just ahead of the holidays.

In a press release issued Monday (Dec. 2), the City of Hamilton said that Ontario Minister of Labour released what is commonly referred to as a ‘no-board’ notice on behalf of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 107.

The issuance of the ‘no-board’ notice starts the timelines for a legal strike or lockout that is permitted upon the 17th day from the date of its issue. This means that the parties — the ATU and the City — will be in a legal strike/lockout position at 12:01 a.m. on December 19, 2019.

Contract negotiations began back in February 2019. While wages and benefits is a point of contention in the talks, bathroom breaks and access to facilities has also been a major sticking point.

For six days, that began on October 31, the parties have been accompanied by a provincially appointed conciliation officer requested to assist the parties in reaching a settlement.

The city tabled an offer in early November, but ATU members voted it down by more than 97 per cent.

They all reconvened in mid-November to see if a strike could be avoided.

In a notice issued last week from the union to update workers on the contract talks, Eric Tuck, the ATU Local 107’s president, said that while they’ve been able to reach agreements in principle with the City, there are two issues that they can not come to terms over so the ‘no-board’ request was issued at that time.

The City of Hamilton remains hopeful that a negotiated settlement can be reached,” the City said in Monday’s news release.

Any updates or HSR service disruptions can be found here.

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