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ATU Local 1587-Toronto, ON, Members ratify new deal that addresses the Union’s safety concerns and contracting out issues

Toronto, ON - After half a year of bargaining and a four-day strike that stalled GO Transit bus service throughout Ontario, the 2,200 members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1587 have ratified a strong tentative agreement that addresses the Union’s safety concerns and contracting out issues.

In a vote that concluded on Thursday night, the Union’s membership passed the deal by 77%. It had been endorsed unanimously by the Local’s Executive Board.

 “Our members proved that they were willing to go to the mat to protect good union jobs for themselves and future generations of GO Transit workers,” said Rob Cormier, President of Local 1587. “We are hopeful that in future rounds of contract negotiations, Metrolinx will no longer stall for months and will instead negotiate a fair deal because it’s the right thing to do, instead of needing to be forced through a massive labour stoppage that disrupts commutes for tens of thousands of Ontarians.”    

The Union stated that before the strike, Metrolinx had not offered a single proposal that contained binding protections against contracting out, even though that had been identified as a priority issue from the beginning. This changed three days after the strike began when the company came to negotiations with multiple proposals addressing not only contracting out but also work-life balance for multiple departments and an offer of full-time employment for all part-time Station Attendants.

 Key among the contracting out protections won by the Union was a provision for job security for all workers at Metrolinx’s Willowbrook rail facility, which was slated to be taken over by a private firm as part of the public-private partnership implementing GO Transit’s expansion project.

“I am proud of our GO Transit members. When I stood on the picket lines and attended rallies, I saw firsthand their strength, unity, and solidarity. Before their strike, our members did not know where they would be working in a few years. They had no assurances as to their wages, safety on the job, or anything else,” said ATU International President John Costa.  “Now they have job security and the guarantee that their new roles after the transfer would pay them wages equivalent to or greater than their current pay. It was an honor to hold the line with our members. We are stronger together.”