The City of Hamilton has made a “final offer” to HSR employees, says the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 107.
“The Union and the Employer have just concluded 2 days or bargaining. These talks have resulted in the union being presented with a ‘Final Offer’,” reads an email sent by the ATU to its approximately 900 members at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
The Union says it will share the offer with its members on November 2nd and 3rd, ahead of a vote on Sunday, November 5.
“Undertanding the negotiating committee is strongly recommending a no vote,” the email continues. “A no vote will be a vote in favor [sic] of strike action.”
The ATU is seeking a seven percent pay increase in the first year of a new contract, along with working condition and benefit improvements.
The City’s largest employee union, CUPE 5167, recently ratified a new four-year contract with a 3.75 percent pay increase in the first year, with three-per-cent increases in the second, third and fourth years.
Hamilton hosts the Grey Cup game on November 19.
When Hamilton hosted the Grey Cup in 1996. HSR workers going on strike a week before the game.
As TPR reported in a February newsletter edition:
“Facing the embarrassment of hosting a Grey Cup without bus service, the Region of Hamilton-Wentworth Council quickly caved.
The six-day strike ended just in time for the Grey Cup parade.
The Region gave HSR workers a two-year sweetheart deal.
The union got nearly everything they wanted and a $1000 signing bonus to get buses back on the road. [$1717 inflation-adjusted to today]
The signing bonus was greater than a week’s salary. The top-paid bus operators made around $800 per week at the time.
Two years later, in 1998, the Region held the line on HSR wages and benefits, offering three percent on wages, and no concessions on other union demands.
A 12-week strike followed.”
There has not been an HSR strike since that 12-week shutdown in 1998/99.
In September, the City of Hamilton asked Ontario’s Ministry of Labour for a no-board notice to enable the City to lock out HSR employees.
The no-board notice was issued on October 25, allowing for a strike or lock-out to begin on October 25.
The ATU states it will not strike before its members vote on November 5th. The City states it has no intention of locking out HSR workers, but is declining to commit to any timeline not to do so.
An HSR strike will not affect DARTS service.
CORRECTED VERSION: The original version stated Hamilton last hosted the Grey Cup in 1996. This was wrong. Hamilton hosted in 2021.
Production Details v. 1.1.0 Published: October 24, 2023 Last edited: October 24, 2023 Author: Joey Coleman Edit Record v. 1.0.0 original version v. 1.1.0 correction - Hamilton last hosted the Grey Cup in 2021