TORONTO, Jan. 6, 2012 /CNW/ - Now in its 11th week, the bus strike in York Region will continue indefinitely as workers at Miller Transit in York Region voted today by 83 per cent to reject the company's final offer as put to them in a Labour Board-supervised vote. The vote took place at the Sheraton Parkway hotel in Markham.
The company had applied for the one-time vote available to it under the Labour Relations Act in an attempt to get around the union, which had declared the offer "an insult, completely unacceptable."
The vote was 196 to 38 to reject the offer, with 92 per cent of the members voting.
There was jubilation amongst the nearly 100 workers who had waited in the hotel to hear the outcome of the vote.
"There can now be not the slightest doubt that the membership is in full support of the union and its bargaining committee," said Ray Doyle, President of ATU Local 1587.
"We have been saying since the strike began that the only way this will be settled is through arbitration. There is only one man standing in the way of this dispute being settled and that is Regional Chairman Bill Fisch."
In early November, the union said that it would end the strike immediately if the private bus contractors agreed to submit the dispute to a neutral arbitration process. After the contractors spurned that offer, Fisch publicly backed them and declared that the Region would not get involved and that arbitration would be "too costly."
"Bill Fisch has to finally swallow his pride and admit that this strike will not be settled without arbitration. Transit users have been inconvenienced for 10 weeks because he thought the workers would cave in and accept an inferior offer. They have proven they will not do so. Let's get this over with and arbitrate."
Veolia has also applied for a Board-supervised vote of its 220 striking Viva workers, who are represented by ATU Local 113. Veolia has asked that the vote be held on January 17, eleven days from now.
"I predict our members will also totally reject Veolia's unacceptable offer," said Kinnear. "But we hope it doesn't get that far and we are in arbitration and back to work by the 17th.
"If Bill Fisch continues to claim that a negotiated settlement is possible, someone needs to do an intervention with him. It's not going to happen. Arbitration is the only way out of this mess he created."
For further information:
Ray Doyle, 416-986-4103