Ottawa Transit Strike – Mayor's Memo

OS has acquired a copy of the memo from Mayor Larry O’Brien to the rest of City Council. And in reading this, it is quite clear that the Mayor is very much on the side of sanity. I have posted the whole memo below in pieces with commentary.

Earlier today I spoke to the media about the transit strike and I wanted to provide you with an update.

Scheduling is an important part of the discussions with the ATU and I wanted to clarify why we continue to stress how important management control of the schedule is for the future of OC Transpo.

The city’s offer includes wage increases of 3% for 2008 and 2% for 2009 and 2% for 2010. We also offered a productivity bonus of $2,000 per operator to share in the operating efficiencies that will come from changes to the scheduling.

So they have not only offered raises far in excess of the rate of inflation, but they have added $2000 bonus per operator. I was under the impression that the increase in wages amounted to about $2000. This means that the average driver earning $50,000 would be making $53,500 in his first year under the current offer. That’s no chump change!!!


Scheduling changes will also improve the operator’s quality of life; under the current union controlled scheduling system drivers could choose to work up to 22 hours in a 24 hour period without rest.

We do not fall under new federal hours of service legislation, which would prevent this from happening.

That’s why management wants the ability to set schedules that are safe for our drivers, our passengers and the general public.

In a 24-hour period, we want to see a minimum rest period of eight consecutive hours to ensure all drivers are well-rested and guarantee rest and recovery times at the end of each run.

That is why scheduling is so important and was the message that I communicated to the media today.

Unbelievable!! I don’t know about you, but the Mayor and others fighting the union clearly have our safety in mind. It is simply not acceptable that truck drivers have limitations on the number of hours they can drive in a 24 hour period when they are hauling cargo, yet Ottawa bus drivers are able to drive 22 hours in a 24 hour period carrying the most precious of cargo, human lives, and people are not as concerned. Bravo Mayor O’Brien for looking out after the citizens of Ottawa and the visitors who use our public transit to get around our great city.


We remain committed to achieving a negotiated settlement to the strike and our bargaining team is ready to listen to any proposals from the union leadership when they choose to return to the table

So there you have it. The embattled Mayor has it dead on correct with regards to this strike. We cannot let seniority supersede safety. Seniority has it’s place and will be respected under the offer from the city. It just should not be allowed to risk the safety of our ridership.