City asks transit customers to prepare for possible disruption to service
HAMILTON, ON – The City of Hamilton has prepared contingency plans for potential disruption to transit service as early as Wednesday, October 25, and is asking bus patrons to do the same.
In late September, the City of Hamilton requested a no-board notice from the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development in hopes of expediting contract negotiations with the City’s transit union, which have been ongoing for approximately nine months with 26 negotiation days completed. The ATU and the City’s negotiating teams are scheduled to meet October 23rd and 24th.
As of Wednesday, October 25, 12:01 am, ATU Local 107 would be in a legal strike position and the City in a legal position to issue a lock-out notice, though neither action is triggered automatically.
At this time, the City is advising all transit customers to consider what alternative forms of transportation they may be able to use for their commuting needs if a labour disruption occurs and the City’s transit service becomes unavailable.
Although the union did indicate publicly that they would wait until November 5 to meet with their membership, the City believes alerting transit customers to the possibility of a disruption as of October 25 is a prudent step as a service disruption would mean transit customers would need to find alternative commuting arrangements.
To prepare the system for a possible disruption, the Hamilton Street Railway will take steps to ensure that all City buses can be returned to service as soon as possible following a possible disruption. The City’s communications staff has also prepared a protocol to provide timely and regular updates to transit riders through the City’s social media channels and at www.hamilton.ca/hsr.
In September, the City reached an agreement with CUPE Local 5167 after a no-board report was issued. A four-year agreement was reached before the 17-day deadline, which included a 3.75 per cent salary increase in year one and a 3 per cent increase in years two, three, and four.
The City will continue making updates available to the community as they become available with updates posted on the City's website at www.hamilton.ca/hsr.
We know how important transit is to the residents of Hamilton. While we are obligated to prepare for a labour disruption and the impacts that will have on public transit, we remain committed to reaching a negotiated settlement that is fair for workers and taxpayers. The City remains committed to continuing to build and improve upon its transit system and is hopeful it can avoid a service disruption and the challenging impacts it will have on staff, commuters and our goals of improving mobility for Hamiltonians through increased investment in and ridership on the transit service.Jason Thorne, Acting City Manager