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Moncton latest city to turn to lockout pressure ploy

Will it ever end? As In Transit went to press, Local 1290 members in Moncton, NB, were entering the seventh week of a lockout that started on June 27.   Codiac Transpo locked out its employees at the direction of the city council whose members contend that they did it to bring both sides back to the bargaining table.

The lockout is the latest action taken by Codiac managers who have been reducing service because, they say, the agency doesn’t have sufficient staff to cover shifts. The service reductions have reduced the number of hours worked by Local 1290 members.


Lockouts latest anti-union tactic

Despite the Canadian economy doing well, lockouts have become a more frequent tactic employed by transit agencies to put pressure on locals trying to negotiate a fair contract.

One year ago negotiations resumed between Local 615 and Saskatoon (SK) Transit, after the local suspended a job action and the agency relented on its plans for a lockout.

Acadian Lines locked out its 59 Local 1229 members for five months before the parties arrived at a contract in nearby St. John’s, NB.

A threatened lockout was averted in January, when an agreement was reached between Local 107 and the Hamilton (ON) Street Railway.

Meanwhile in Moncton Local 1290 and Codiac Transpo returned to the bargaining table with a mediator on July 8, only to break off talks the following day.


Bad faith

Local President George Turple says the city offered even less than before, reinforcing the local’s labour board complaint charging that the city bargained in bad faith.

The local has even gone the extra mile offering to go to third-party binding arbitration, but the city won’t agree leaving more than 7,000 riders stranded.

The Moncton lockout is having a particularly bad effect on seniors, forcing some to cancel medical appointments, and even forego grocery shopping.

So far, however, their plight and the difficulties of other transit users have not been sufficient to move Moncton to come to an agreement with its employees.