"Honour the agreement you signed, GO Transit", the Union demands after GO Transit reneges on the 'Right to Strike' agreement.

TORONTO, Sept. 15, 2011 /CNW/ - Contract talks between GO Transit and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1587 resumed today but may not last long if Metrolinx, the agency that operates the commuter service, continues to refuse to honour an "essential services" agreement signed earlier this year by the Union and GO Transit.

The March 2011 "Essential Services Agreement" outlines that no job within the Union is deemed "essential".  It goes on to state, "...all bargaining unit employees have the right to strike."  The Union applied on August 30 for a No Board Report from the Ministry of Labour and set a strike date for September 19.

The Union points out that the March agreement was the same as previous agreements dating back to 1996, which had always been accepted by GO management and the Ministry of Labour.

"This is unprecedented political interference in the collective bargaining process," said Ray Doyle, President of ATU Local 1587.

"The government does not want a GO Transit strike during the election.  Who else would have the authority to order Metrolinx and the Minister of Labour to ignore the Labour Relations Act? Who else would have the authority to order provincial public officials to renege on an agreement they had signed?"

Doyle said it makes further negotiations meaningless "if we can't trust management to live up to agreements they have signed."

"What's the point of negotiating with someone who will turn around and repudiate their own signatures when it is convenient for them to do so," Doyle added.

The parties will be at the Ontario Labour Relations Board to thrash out the issue.  The union will be asking for an expedited hearing and a quick confirmation from the Board that the signed essential services agreement is valid and binding.

"The issue is very straightforward," says Doyle. "Can management get out of a signed agreement by simply declaring that they no longer accept it?  "If the Board rules that management can do this, that a signed agreement can be repudiated without consequences, it will throw Ontario labour relations into chaos."

ATU Local 1587 represents more than 1500 GO Transit unionized workers.

SOURCE Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1587

For further information:

Contact: Ray Doyle, 416-986-4103

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Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1587

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