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Local 616-Windsor, ON, Fights Back and Wins

After months of fruitless contract talks with Transit Windsor, our nearly 300 members at Local 616-Windsor, ON, held a strike mandate vote on November 19, 2023, with 97% voting in favor of strike action, if necessary. Our members were seeking better wages to keep up with inflation, improved working conditions, and for Transit Windsor to pay for their 10 federally mandated sick days.


Local Issues Strike Notice

While talks continued to falter when the Local was in a legal strike position on December 3, 2023, the Local did not want to inconvenience their riders throughout the holidays. However, 2024 brought continued stall tactics and bad-faith bargaining by Transit Windsor, so the Local issued a 72-hour strike notice for Monday, January 15, to give the public notice to find alternate transportation.  After a weekend of intense negotiations, the Local decided to put the strike on hold for the sake of Transit Windsor riders and the community and was committed to continue meeting with the federal Mediator in hopes of reaching a deal.

“We are committed to remaining at the bargaining table for a few more days to negotiate a fair deal – but Transit Windsor management has been unfair and will have to significantly improve their offer,” said Local 616 President Dragan Markovic.    

“We care about our riders who rely on Transit Windsor to safely get to work, school, the doctor, and other destinations on time, but our members deserve a fair contract that allows them to provide for their families and keeps up with the cost of inflation,” said International President John Costa in pledging the International’s support for our members at Local 616.

Despite the continuing contract talks, it was clear that Transit Windsor was not prepared to resolve the conflict. Our members expressed bitterness and anger at the disrespect Transit Windsor was demonstrating, leaving our Local no other choice but to issue another strike notice for February 5, 2024, giving riders a week’s notice.

“The lack of interest in working out a fair deal for transit workers – and keeping the city moving was clearly demonstrated by Transit Windsor,” said International Vice President Manny Sforza, who assisted the Local in negotiations.


Last-Minute Tentative Agreement Reached

Despite the strike notice, the Local remained committed to continuing to bargain in hopes of reaching a fair deal with the main issue on the table, the payment of 10 federally mandated sick days. Then, hours before the strike deadline, the Local was able to secure a last-minute tentative agreement. 

“Our commitment to Transit riders and Windsorites was front and center, as we stated from the beginning, keeping the service running while balancing the needs of transit workers,” said Markovic. “We want the public to know that we take great pride in serving our communities, and we are extremely grateful to the riders and the public for their patience and support over the past few months of negotiations,” concluded Markovic.

Less than a week later, the Local membership overwhelmingly ratified the contract.

“I am proud of our Transit Windsor members for their strength, unity, and solidarity throughout these protracted contract talks,” said Costa. “The result was a strong contract that recognizes the commitment and dedication of these frontline heroes to provide safe and reliable transportation for our riders who rely on Transit Windsor each day. Our members now have a pathway to the middle class and the federally mandated sick days they deserve for the essential public service they provide. We are Stronger Together!”