Transit union ratifies deal with Hamilton after week-long strike

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Published November 24, 2023 at 10:26 am

ATU Local 107 strike bus Hamilton transit strike Amalgamated Transit Union Local 107
COURTESY AMALGAMATED TRANSIT UNION LOCAL 107

Hamilton’s transit worker union has voted to ratify their new contract with the city after months of negotiations and a days-long strike.

The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 107, which represents more than 800 Hamilton Street Railway workers, went on strike Nov. 9. This completely shut down all Hamilton buses for several days just before the city hosted the CFL Grey Cup.

The crux of the disagreement came down primarily to wages. While the city offered a substantial raise, the union considered the offer “insulting” based on raises received by non-union city managers in recent agreements. However, the city stressed the wage offered ATU was comparable to that accepted by CUPE.

A week after ATU workers went out on the picket line, and just before Grey Cup festivities, the union and the city reached a tentative agreement shortly before 2 a.m. on Nov 16. This returned busses to the city streets but may have proven a temporary truce as ATU workers still had to vote on the deal.

The union held the ratification vote on Nov. 23. Workers voted to accept the deal by an 81 per cent margin, they announced shortly before 9 p.m. The city announced it was “pleased” with the vote shortly thereafter.

Next, the ball bounces back to the city. Council also has to vote to accept the deal now that the ATU has agreed. They will vote on the deal in their meeting on Nov. 27. The ATU described this council vote as a formality on social media, saying they were sure the vote would pass.

Mayor Andrea Horwath weighed in the morning after the vote. “Really pleased to see ATU Local 107 members voted to ratify last night and so happy to have them back on the job! Look forward to reviewing the agreement,” she wrote.

The city shared it will have more to say following Monday’s vote. For now, the specifics of the deal remain under wraps.

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