TORONTO, Nov. 10, 2011 /CNW/ - If the residents of York Region had their
way, the transit strike that is now in its third week would end
immediately and the dispute would be settled by arbitration.
Nearly 600 members of Amalgamated Transit Workers Locals 113 and 1587
have been on strike since October 24 against York Region Transit
private contractors, Miller Transit, First Student and Viva (operated
by Veolia Transport). The shutdown has affected thousands of transit
riders in the region.
A recent telephone poll of over 2,000 York Region residents found that
71 per cent agreed with the following statement:
"The York Regional government should intervene in the YRT labour dispute
by demanding that the bus companies and the union stop the strike right
away and have their differences settled by arbitration."
The poll also found that 59 per cent were inconvenienced by the strike
to some degree and 48 per cent of those were inconvenienced "a great
deal." The poll was commissioned by ATU and was conducted by Public
Polling last Thursday, November 3. The integrated voice response poll
is accurate to within plus or minus 2.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
"The union and the employers are too far apart for this to be settled
through normal negotiations," said Bob Kinnear, Local 113 President.
"We wanted to learn if arbitration was acceptable to the people of York
Region and that turns out to be the case.
"As a union we are opposed to arbitration if it is mandatory, in place
of the right to strike or lockout. But we are not opposed to voluntary
arbitration if both sides agree. There are times when that is the best
solution for all concerned. This is one of those times."
"We have invited each of the companies to participate in a neutral
process of contract arbitration but they have not responded," said Ray
Doyle, Local 1587 President. "We have therefore asked the York Regional
Chairman, Bill Fisch, to intervene and request the companies to agree
to arbitration. He has not yet responded.
"Chairman Fisch has previously said that the Regional government 'has no
role to play' in the dispute but his constituents obviously strongly
disagree. There is no law that prevents him from asking the parties to
agree to arbitration. Why would he not do even that?"
The union has placed full-page ads in two York Region newspapers today
challenging Fisch to request the companies to agree to arbitration.
The letter to Fisch, the poll results and the newspaper ad can all by
seen at www.wemovetoronto.ca and www.atu1587.ca.
SOURCE Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113
For further information:
ATU Local 113 (Viva): Bob Kinnear, 416-398-5113
ATU Local 1587 (Miller and First Student) 416-986-4103