No deal between city and transit union, but strike notice not issued

The City of Windsor and the Amalgamated Transit Union could not agree to a new contract for workers this weekend. (Chris Ensing/CBC - image credit)
The City of Windsor and the Amalgamated Transit Union could not agree to a new contract for workers this weekend. (Chris Ensing/CBC - image credit)

Talks between the City of Windsor and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) have not led to a new deal, according to an international vice-president with the union.

However, Manny Sforza said workers will not be walking off the job at 12:01 a.m. Monday, as the union has not handed the city a 72-hour strike notice.

This comes after a federal mediator tried to "bring both sides together; to find some mutual ground", according to Sforza.

"But again, payment for the 10 federal sick days is the main sticking point," he said. "The city has just merely found some clever ways of getting us to pay it through other methods, other means for bargaining."

Sforza declined to provide specifics, but said the city was wanting the union to agree to concessions that would require workers to pay for the sick days, which he said they were not prepared to do.

The union representative also said there was a lot of emotion from both sides during bargaining. Sforza said the union was extremely disappointed in the way the talks turned out.

"The union moved significantly on a number of our proposals and we were hopeful we could get a deal reached yesterday, but unfortunately, that did not happen," he told CBC News on Sunday. "We had a membership meeting this morning and the vast majority of the membership showed up and showed overwhelming support for the executive board."

Sforza said the union will be meeting again on Sunday night and the union would provide an update on Monday mid-morning.

CBC News has requested interviews with Mark Winterton, the city's commissioner of infrastructure services and Tyson Cragg, Transit Windsor's executive director. Winterton said the city remains "committed to reaching a deal", but declined to comment further. Cragg has yet to respond.

A look back at the current stalemate

ATU previously issued a 72-hour strike notice on Jan. 11, 39 days after Sforza previously told CBC News that they have been in a legal strike position.

This was the first time the union issued a strike notice since 2020.

Riders told CBC News that in the event of a strike, ridesharing and taxis would have to be used to get around Windsor, both of which are more expensive than taking transit.

In the end, a strike was temporarily delayed and the union withdrew their strike notice just hours before the deadline.

As the city and ATU remain apart in talks, Windsor Councillors Fabio Costante and Kieran McKenzie outlined a plan on Friday they say will enhance transit service while keeping the municipal property tax hike below the rate of inflation.

They are also proposing a change to the currently proposed fare increases. Currently, if passed by Windsor City Council, adult cash fares would increase 15 per cent to $3.75. Fees for passes would climb 10 per cent.

Council will discuss these potential amendments to its 2024 budget on Monday.