York Region Viva workers ratify new contract by 77 per cent

DOWNSVIEW, ON, Jan. 26, 2012 /CNW/ - York Region Transit workers who work for Veolia Transport's Viva division have voted to end their three-month-old strike by accepting the contractor's latest offer on a recommendation from their union's bargaining committee.

The vote was 129 to 35 to approve a settlement that provides for wage increases of 10.8 per cent over the four-year term of the new agreement. The workers had voted by 75 per cent to reject the contractor's previous "final offer" in a labour board supervised vote on January 17. In addition to the wage increases, there was also a significant increase in the employer-paid portion of the health care benefits package, additional paid sick day and other improvements.

"The improvement in the benefits premium payments alone, relative to the offer that was rejected earlier this month, will be worth thousands of dollars to our members over the course of this contract," said ATU Local 113 President Bob Kinnear. "And that benefit is ongoing."

"The members made the right choice in turning down Veolia's supposed final offer ten days ago. We knew there was more there and they proved it. "

Kinnear blamed York Region Chairman Bill Fisch for the duration of the dispute, the longest transit strike in GTA history.

"We are very happy that this is over but honestly, it could have been resolved three months ago if Bill Fisch, who alone costs the taxpayers about a quarter-million dollars a year, had agreed to the union's offer way back in early November to end the strike immediately through arbitration.

"Maybe some York Region councillor will have the guts to ask him what was achieved by unnecessarily prolonging the dispute for months, but I'm not holding my breath on that. I've never seen such a group of spineless politicians."

Full bus service will resume according to a schedule determined by Veolia.

This settlement is not tied to negotiations with Miller Transit, which involves ATU Local 1587. Those negotiations are ongoing.

SOURCE Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113

For further information:

Bill Reno, 416-223-7366


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