December 10, 2023

Hamilton’s transit workers say there will be a legal strike of the HSR transit system effective Thursday if the city doesn’t come back with a new and better offer before then.

ATU Local 107 members agreed with union negotiators Sunday who recommended the rejection of the city’s last contract offer from Oct. 24.

Union president Eric Tuck says the biggest issue is obtaining wages that keep pace with inflation, which he claims the latest offer doesn’t do.

“Our members were infuriated with the latest proposal as it falls short of inflationary pressures and the cost of living,” Tuck said Sunday night.

Transit workers voted 94 per cent to reject the city’s last offer.

The Union contests that other GTA transit agencies have better packages for their workers, and that creates difficulty in hiring and retaining new workers.

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Last week, the city alerted residents to seek “alternative forms of transportation” for commuting, confirming receipt of a formal no-board notice on Oct. 8 and opening the door for labour action from either the city or ATU members.

“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,” acting city manager Jason Thorne said.

The city’s director of communications Matthew Grant echoed those sentiments in a Global News interview in late October and added that the city has no intention of locking out workers.

He went on to say there are not enough managers or alternate staff to continue any service, resulting in vehicles off the road and in storage at the Mountain Transit Centre.

The ATU says their strike deadline is November 9th, 2023 at 12:01 a.m.

The city’s DARTS program will not be affected since those drivers belong to a different union.

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