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Collective Bargaining

ATU Collective Bargaining Updates

August 22, 2019 – The City of Winnipeg and Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1505 (ATU) remain at an impasse on negotiations. The City has rejected the counterproposal provided by ATU at the end of the day on Friday, August 16, as it still has the two parties approximately $68 million dollars apart. The City has asked ATU to come back with a counterproposal that is reasonably in line with what the City has offered in the previous four contract proposals, and not just another repackaging of their previous proposals.

The City has broken down the costs of three significant pieces of ATU’s counterproposal, though ATU still has additional requests above these items:

  • general wage increases for all ATU members
  • $10/hr wage increases for all ATU mechanics
  • 5 minute mandatory recovery time at the end of each trip for bus operators

General wage increase for all ATU members:
The City of Winnipeg has offered the following general wage increase for all ATU members:
2020 – 2%
2021 – 2%
2022 – 2%
2023 – 2%
For a total cost of approximately $12.8 million over the life of the contract.

ATU has offered the following counterproposal:
2019 – 1.75%
2020 – 2%
2021 – 2%
2022 – 2%
For a total cost of approximately $18.2 million over the life of the contract.

On this item alone, we are approximately $5 million apart.

Contributing significantly to the variance in the dollar value is that ATU’s proposal for the first 1.75% increase would be effective January 1, 2019 compared to the City’s last offer which scheduled the first 2% increase as occurring in January 2020. This difference, when compounded over the life of the collective agreement, contributes significantly to the overall cost.

$10/hr wage increases for all ATU mechanics:
The ATU has asked for $10/hr wage increase for all ATU mechanics which equates to almost a 29% wage increase. Over the life of the contract this would cost approximately $9.6 million.

5 minute mandatory recovery time at the end of each trip for bus operators
ATU has requested that all trips to be developed to provide a guaranteed mandatory minimum recovery time of 5 minutes at the routes designated terminals for bus operators.

The simple addition of 5 minutes to end of each bus route, would instantly see a decline in bus service because it would take 5 minutes longer for each bus to do their run, and this would have a compounding effect over the course of the day. This would also mean that buses would sit idle for 5 minutes no matter how late the bus may be running, or how many passengers are on the bus. Therefore, in order to maintain current levels of service, the City would need to add additional operators and buses to keep the service moving, and the City has estimated this cost based on maintaining the same level of bus service that Transit provides today.

Ensuring this 5 minute mandatory recovery time would mean that the City would need to hire approximately 41 additional bus operators, 6 additional maintenance/supervisors, and would need to add approximately 32 additional buses to its fleet in order to keep bus frequency at the same level that it is currently.

This proposed item would cost the City approximately $10.6 million annually starting in 2020, or more than $32 million over the life of the contract. Plus a one-time cost of approximately $21 million for the additional 32 buses to maintain service schedules at current levels.

It is also important to note that in a previous collective agreement, ATU negotiated an item called Payment in Lieu of Rest Breaks. Operators currently receive an annual payment equivalent to approximately 40 hours straight time of wages at the end of the year. In 2018, Payment in Lieu of Rest Breaks cost the city just over $1 million. ATU is now asking for the mandatory recovery time, but have not offered to end the practice of Payment in Lieu of Rest Breaks.

Overall cost
The items the City has proposed will cost approximately $12.8 million over the life of the contract, while the three items highlighted above that ATU has proposed will cost the City approximately $80.8 million over the life of the contract. ATU has additional requests above the three items identified above. Currently, we estimate that we are still more than $68 million apart on our offers.

The ATU remains in a legal strike position, and the previous collective agreement is officially terminated. We fully expect ATU to initiate strike action in the fall when it is most inconvenient to Transit passengers.

Frequently Asked Questions

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When did the City of Winnipeg and ATU 1505 start negotiations?

The City of Winnipeg and ATU 1505 will began negotiations on January 4, 2019. The City is committed to negotiating in a fair and reasonable manner with ATU, and is hoping for a successful conclusion to negotiations that won’t result in any disruption to transit services for the thousands of users that rely on it every day.

When did ATU 1505’s contract expire?

The contract with ATU 1505 expired on January 12, 2019.

What is the City of Winnipeg offering ATU 1505 in this round of negotiations?

The City of Winnipeg does not intend to bargain in public.

Is Winnipeg Transit service being affected by current negotiations?

No. Winnipeg Transit service is not currently affected by ongoing collective bargaining; however any form of labour disruption by ATU 1505 may have an immediate impact on transit operations.

How will Winnipeg Transit be working to ensure people get to work, university, school, and appointments in the event of a strike?

If ATU 1505 chooses to strike, it would have a significant impact on the thousands of Winnipeggers that rely on the transit service. Winnipeg Transit would be forced to discontinue bus service.

Will Winnipeg Transit Plus service be affected if ATU 1505 chooses to strike?

Winnipeg Transit Plus service is expected to continue in the event of an ATU 1505 strike.

Previous updates

August 8, 2019 – The City of Winnipeg is implementing measures available to it as an Employer under the Labour Relations Act in an effort to reach an agreement with the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1505 (ATU).

The ATU has been in a legal strike position since May 31, 2019. The overtime ban implemented by the ATU in June 2019 met the definition of a strike under the Labour Relations Act. This strike by the ATU officially terminated the previous collective agreement. However, to date, the City has operated under the terms set out in the previous collective agreement.

Effective August 10, 2019, the City is amending the terms and conditions of employment that govern the working relationship with members of the ATU. Bus operators will no longer be able to request trade or vacation switches for the remainder of the year, and they will be assigned their day off groups and schedules when the fall schedule comes into effect on September 1, 2019.

Should ATU’s membership ratify the City’s final offer by August 17, the City will reinstate the full terms and conditions and bus operators will select shift packages based on seniority. 

“While we’re encouraged the ATU has indicated that it plans to take our offer back to its members, we’re using the tools at our disposal to reach a resolution that doesn’t impact the tens of thousands of daily Transit riders who rely on the service,” said Michael Jack, Chief Corporate Services Officer. “I can’t stress enough, we have presented a fair and reasonable final offer, and we urge the union to carefully consider it.”

The parties remain far apart over general wage increases and the union’s demand to increase mechanics’ salary by $10 per hour. The City’s final offer presented on August 2, 2019 includes a general wage increase of 2 percent each year in January 2020, 2021, 2022, and a 2 percent increase on March 31, 2023. The proposed term of the collective agreement is four years and two months. For additional context, based on the City’s proposed general wage increase, by 2023, a bus operator, at top rate, will make over $59,000 a year plus benefits, and a mechanic, at top rate, will make over $74,000 a year plus benefits.

The ATU previously proposed a 2.75 percent general wage increase each year over four years. This level of increase would eclipse every single annual wage increase negotiated with every single City of Winnipeg union over the last three years, including the Canadian Union of Public Employees, United Firefighters of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Senior Officers Association, the Winnipeg Police Association, the Winnipeg Police Senior Officers Association, and the Manitoba Government Employees Union. Of note, the first general wage increase occurred after 12 months into the term of each collective agreement.

In recognition of the ATU’s concerns with flexible spare operators, but also recognizing the ATU’s and the City’s desire to improve working conditions and work/life balance, the City’s offer includes a modification of a union proposal that would allow retired bus operators to be rehired to cover single day leave requests by bus operators. The City also abandoned its request for flexible spare operators.

The City has proposed changes to the Scheduling Committee that will provide more union and bus operator input during the development of bus schedules. 

The City has not asked the ATU to give anything up such as health or vision benefits, pension, or overtime premiums while adjusting its offer to the benefit of the ATU on more than one occasion.

The City will continue to consider all options available to an Employer under the Labour Relations Act to conclude this matter. 

The previous collective agreement with ATU expired January 12, 2019. Over the last seven months of negotiating, the City has provided the ATU with a total of four offers to settle.

July 22, 2019 - After more than six months of bargaining, offering the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1505 (ATU) multiple proposals, and requesting provincial conciliation support, the City of Winnipeg has now officially notified the union they are at an impasse.

“The most recent counter proposal provided to the City of Winnipeg on Thursday last week continues to make unreasonable and unsustainable requests of transit passengers and property taxpayers,” said Michael Jack, Chief Corporate Services Officer. “While the ATU continues to demand more of taxpayers and passengers, they have not proposed any concessions of their own and have not identified or proposed any lower priority items they feel can be negotiated in exchange for items they feel are higher priority items.”

“We are now officially at an impasse,” said Jack.

The latest proposal to the ATU from the City of Winnipeg was provided on July 3. No concessions were requested of ATU as part of the City’s proposal. Despite making several adjustments to the benefit of the ATU, this proposal was rejected without the ATU taking it back to their membership for consideration.

“The City’s latest offer increased the City’s general wage offer beyond the level originally proposed, removed provisions to allow for the introduction of flexible spare operators, and strengthened retired operator provisions,” said Jack “At the same time as adjusting its offer to the benefit of the ATU, the City has not asked the ATU to ‘give anything up’ such as health or vision benefits, pension, or overtime premiums.”

The ATU’s counter offer last Thursday repackaged most of their previous proposals, variations of which have been estimated to cost taxpayers up to $50 million over a four year agreement. Funding a settlement of this magnitude would require a significant increase to property taxes, transit fares, or both.

The ATU also did not include a specific proposal on a general wage increase in their counter offer, defeating the purpose of attempting to reach a collective agreement at this stage of negotiations.

“After reviewing ATU’s counter proposal, it has become abundantly clear that they have no interest in reaching a negotiated settlement with the City of Winnipeg,” said Jack. “After more than six months of negotiating, they did not include a proposal on general wage increases. Instead, they asked to continue discussing it, which at this stage of negotiating is arguably in bad faith and a clear signal that the ATU intends to strike.”

While no general wage increase was included in the ATU’s most recent counter offer, they have previously suggested a 2.75 percent general wage increase each year over four years. This level of increase would eclipse every single annual wage increase negotiated with every single City of Winnipeg union over the last three years including the Canadian Union of Public Employees, United Firefighters of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Police Association, and the Manitoba Government Employees Union.

The ATU continues to be in a legal strike position and have undertaken legal strike activity which means their previous collective agreement is officially terminated. The City of Winnipeg will now consider all options available to the employer under The Labour Relations Act to conclude this matter.

“We continue to be disappointed in ATU’s unwillingness to bargain productively,” said Jack. “Unfortunately, a strike initiated by ATU in September is now more likely than ever when they know it will be most disruptive to passengers and residents.”

The previous collective agreement with ATU expired January 12, 2019. Over the last six months of negotiating, the City has provided the ATU with a total of three proposals.

June 7, 2019 – Last week, employees represented by the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1505 voted to reject the City of Winnipeg’s final contract offer. We are disappointed in the vote results, and feel that we presented a fair and reasonable offer. The City asked the province to appoint a conciliator so that we can conclude these negotiations. The City and ATU were notified by letter dated June 4 that a conciliator has been appointed and would be in touch with the parties to assist and arrange meetings as deemed appropriate. The City is committed to continue negotiating in a fair and reasonable manner with ATU, and is hoping for a successful conclusion to collective bargaining that won’t result in any disruption to transit services for the thousands of users that rely on it every day.

May 31, 2019 – The City of Winnipeg has learned that employees represented by the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1505 have voted to reject the City’s contract offer. The City is disappointed in the vote results, as we had clearly indicated this was our final offer. We will be requesting that the province appoint a conciliator so that we can conclude these negotiations.

The City of Winnipeg is committed to continue negotiating in a fair and reasonable manner with ATU, and is hoping for a successful conclusion to collective bargaining that won’t result in any disruption to transit services for the thousands of users that rely on it every day.

Winnipeg Transit carries over 170,000 riders each weekday and employs approximately 1,100 bus operators and about 250 maintenance staff.

May 24, 2019 – Last week, the City of Winnipeg met with Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1505, and tabled our final offer which we asked them to take back to their membership. The City feels that the best offer possible has been put forward, based on current fiscal realities. Transit is a significant priority for the City of Winnipeg, with substantial investment made in the service through the 2019 Budget.

The City has been committed to negotiating in a fair and reasonable manner, and is hoping for a successful conclusion to negotiations that won’t result in any disruption to Transit services.

April 5, 2019 – The City of Winnipeg has learned that employees represented by the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1505 have voted to reject the City’s contract offer.

"While the result of the vote is disappointing, the City remains committed to finding a solution that is fair and reasonable to all parties, including ATU members and Winnipeg taxpayers," said Michael Jack, Chief Corporate Services Officer.

The City of Winnipeg is committed to continue negotiating in a fair and reasonable manner with ATU, and is hoping for a successful conclusion to collective bargaining that won’t result in any disruption to transit services for the thousands of users that rely on it every day.

Winnipeg Transit carries over 170,000 riders each weekday and employs approximately 1,100 bus operators and about 250 maintenance staff.

August 6, 2019 - The City of Winnipeg and Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1505 (ATU) remain at impasse on negotiations following two days of mediation.

“The City entered mediation in good faith despite being at an impasse with the union,” said Michael Jack, Chief Corporate Services Officer. “Unfortunately, after two days of mediation and despite the fact that the City put forward an offer to settle, the parties are no closer to reaching a tentative agreement. We feel that a strike will be initiated by the ATU during the fall schedule when it will be most disruptive to passengers and residents.”

The latest proposal to the ATU from the City was provided on August 2, 2019, and included the adjustments the City made to the benefit of ATU from the previous offer.

While progress was made on several working condition items brought forward by the union in mediation, the parties remain far apart over general wage increases and the union’s demand to increase mechanics’ salary by $10 per hour. The latest proposal from the City includes a general wage increase of 2 percent each year in January 2020, 2021, 2022, and a 2 percent increase on March 31, 2023. The proposed term of the collective agreement is four years and two months.

The ATU has previously proposed a 2.75 percent general wage increase each year over four years. This level of increase would eclipse every single annual wage increase negotiated with every single City of Winnipeg union over the last three years, including the Canadian Union of Public Employees, United Firefighters of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Police Association, and the Manitoba Government Employees Union. Of note, the first general wage increase occurred after 12 months into each of their collective agreements.

The City requested that ATU take our final offer to its members for a vote; however, ATU has not officially responded to this request.

The ATU remains in a legal strike position, and the previous collective agreement is officially terminated. The City will consider all options available to an Employer under the Labour Relations Act to conclude this matter.

The previous collective agreement with ATU expired January 12, 2019. Over the last seven months of negotiating, the City has provided the ATU with a total of four offers to settle.

Last update: August 22, 2019