TORONTO, Jan. 17, 2012 /CNW/ - The 220 members of Amalgamated Transit
Union Local 113 who operate and maintain Veolia's Viva buses in York
Region will vote today on the French-owned multinational's "final
offer" in an Ontario labour board-supervised vote requested by the
company. The main issue in the dispute, which began on October 24, is
Veolia's refusal to cover the full cost of its workers' health care
Union president Bob Kinnear will hold a press conference at the Monte
Carlo immediately following announcement of the vote count.
The vote will take place between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. at the Monte
Carlo Inn in Vaughan, located near Highway 400 and Highway 7 at 705
Applewood Crescent. Vote results are expected before 2:30 p.m.
In early November, the unions offered to end the strike immediately if
the contractors agreed to a neutral arbitration process. They refused
and were backed up in their refusal by York Regional Chairman Bill
Fisch, who continues to reject arbitration as a way of ending the
"The unelected Chairman Fisch, who is paid $200,000 a year by York
Region taxpayers - plus full health care benefits and a car, by the way
- is responsible for at least 12 weeks of this strike," says Bob
"He refuses to explain why he is opposed to ending the strike through a
neutral arbitration process, even though that is how many police and
firefighter contracts are settled. He continues to maintain that the
union is seeking wage parity with transit workers in surrounding
communities when he has been told to his face that this is not true. He
blames the union for not wanting to negotiate when, in fact, it is
Veolia that walked away from the bargaining table in December and has
refused to come back."
In a similar board-supervised vote on January 6, striking workers at
Miller Transit, another York Region Transit private contractor, voted
to reject the company's final offer by 84 per cent. The 250 Miller
workers are members of ATU Local 1587.
A November poll of more than 2,000 York Region residents showed 71% in
favour of settling the strike through arbitration.
SOURCE Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113
For further information:
Bill Reno, 416-223-7366