Transit union could pull service during Grey Cup

October 28, 2013 - 1:45pm

Getting around during Grey Cup week could be a lot more difficult if the city and the Amalgamated Transit Union can't resolve their differences.

After nine months of trying to reach a deal the union, which represents the City of Regina's transit workers, voted last night to authorize "job action." That could include any form of action from not wearing uniforms while working to refusing overtime to going on strike.

Don Baker is the union's local president. He said they're using the threat of disrupting Grey Cup week festivities in order to move the proceedings along. Talks have been stalled while the city has pursued an unfair labour practice complaint to the Labour Relations Board, insisting the union isn't bargaining in good faith.

The idea behind that Grey Cup threat, he continued, came from the union's interactions with the city in 2005 when the ATU agreed not to strike during the Canada Summer Games.

"They almost laughed in our faces that we didn't take that opportunity to use these events to get their attention," he explained.

"We wanted to get this in our back pocket. We wanted to keep things moving so hopefully this will be a big push."

Baker insisted the union wants to return to talks if the city will listen. But the ATU is insisting it won't come back to the table unless the city addresses all 15 of their demands, which the city says is too expensive.

"In our mind we haven't even had an opportunity to present our entire package. A number of our issues in our package address their outstanding items," insisted Brian LeGard, the city's manager of labour relations.

He explained that the 15 requirements the union is calling essential are simply too rich; they would add up to a 20 per cent increase in wages and benefits.

"It's still pretty rich," he said, adding that the city is still trying to figure out what its next step will be.