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January 8th, 2009:

OC Transpo – outcome of the vote

So, who wants to handicap this thing? I love to try and predict the outcomes of elections, so why not this vote?

Sadly, I believe that tomorrow’s headline will read as follows:

Drivers narrowly reject City’s latest contract offer

Deal goes down by a 55-45 margin

Larry O’Brien is reportedly “beside himself…”

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OC Transpo strike – last chance to end this thing… let’s hope they vote with their heads!

The 2100 OC Transpo bus operators, dispatchers and mechanics are voting today on the City’s latest contract offer.

The outcome will determine whether Ottawa will soon have its public transit system back up and running or not.

If the strikers vote no, this may turn out to be a strike that lasts a very, very long time. Or, they may be ordered back to work if the the Industrial relations Board finds that the continuation of the job action with pose a threat the the health and safety of the citizens of Ottawa.

Notice To The Public

In the matter of the Canada Labour Code (Part I – Industrial Relations) and a referral by the Minister of Labour to the Canada Industrial Relations Board pursuant to section 87.4(7) involving the City of Ottawa (OC Transpo) and the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 279.

The Minister of Labour, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, has requested that the Canada Industrial Relations Board determine the action, if any, that is required in order for the employer, the union and the employees in the bargaining unit to comply with section 87.4(1) during a work stoppage.

Section 87.4(1) of the Canada Labour Code provides that: “During a strike or lockout not prohibited by this Part, the employer, the trade union and the employees in the bargaining unit must continue the supply of services, operation of facilities or production of goods to the extent necessary to prevent an immediate and serious danger to the safety or health of the public.”

Keeping this criterion in mind, members of the public have an opportunity to provide a written explanation as to why they think this obligation is or is not being met during the current work stoppage involving the City of Ottawa (OC Transpo) and the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 279.

Submissions must provide specific details in support of the statements being made and must be limited to the issue raised in this notice. They must also include the name and contact information of the person making the submission. Please note that all submissions received will be transmitted to the employer and the trade union for their review and comment.

Submissions may be sent to the Canada Industrial Relations Board as follows:

Canada Industrial Relations Board, Regional Director
C.D. Howe Building, 4th Floor West, 240 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0X8

Please note that all written submissions must be received at the Canada Industrial Relations Board no later than 5:00 p.m. on January 9, 2009.

Ginette Brazeau
Executive Director and Senior Registrar

My plea to the strikers: vote with your heads and do NOT be intimidated by your colleagues. I predict that there will be a sharp downturn in ridership if this carries on much longer and this will impact the number of drivers needed for the then reduced routes or schedules.  I am an OC Transpo user and a damned faithful one at that! Since moving to Ottawa 11 1/2 years ago I have commuted to work in my vehicle a grand total of 20 or 30 times.

BUT. If you extend this strike, both my wife and I will turn in our EcoPasses and drive to work! We will never again be held hostage in the name of political one-upmanship!

Oh, and Larry and Council? You had better start making plans for your post-political lives because you ar equally at fault here!

Good luck to all!

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