Job action taken by the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) in its contract dispute with the city is over after 36 days.
During this time, the union asked drivers to refuse overtime work – leading to several buses a day being cancelled.
On Tuesday evening, the ATU and city came to an agreement and the following day, Mayor Charlie Clark addressed the dispute at a city hall news conference.
“Christmas is coming and four years of back pay has been building up,” Clark said.
Jim Yakubowski, president of ATU Local 615, agreed with the Christmas bonus being a big factor.
According to the city, the average back pay for a transit employee will be around $8,000 to $10,000.
“A lot of members were motivated by the back pay,” he said.
Members also get another five cent raise when they take a driver certification program.
Only 56 per cent of union members voted in favour of the contract.
“I recognize it’s not a consensus,” Clark said. “It does mean we have work to do to turn the corner in terms of morale for our transit employees.”
Clark noted the last time there was a labour dispute with transit was in 1994.
Yakubowski said he’s somewhat satisfied with the democracy of their union membership.
“I’m looking forward to mending the wounds,” he said.
Following this decision, the union and city won’t be able to go back to the bargaining table until the spring – after a 100-day buffer. Other city unions are already in negotiations.