You are here

CITY OF SASKATOON DISAPPOINTED IN ATU 615 VOTE TO REJECT FINAL OFFER

For immediate release: February 1, 2015 - 2:04pm

 

In accordance with Section 6-62(2) of the Saskatchewan Employment Act, the Employer can communicate facts and its opinion to the employees. The Employer feels it is necessary to provide details to its staff and to the public on the state of negotiations and the final offer to ATU 615. 

 

The following overview presents a summary of facts, for your information:

Wages

 

The following wage adjustments will be applied.

 

January 1, 2013     2.50%

January 1, 2014     2.20%

January 1, 2015     2.65%

January 1, 2016     2.65 %

 

This increase is the same wage adjustments agreed to by 8 other civic collective bargaining units.  This wage increase will provide a 10.38% wage increase (compounded) over a four year term.

 

This wage structure stays ahead of the Consumer Price Index and is a fair offer.

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

 

Saskatoon (Sask.)

3.9

0.9

1.2

2.5

1.5

1.0

 

Amalgamated Transit Union 615

4.0

4.0

2.0

2.0

3.0

2.5

 

Consumer Price Index

 

“Western Canadian Average”

 

Overall, the transit union leadership has proposed a wage adjustment based on a formula it calls a western Canadian average.  This formula includes Winnipeg, Regina and four transit operations in Alberta, including Calgary and Edmonton, which serve populations of about a million people each and both cities operate light rail systems.

 

The ATU proposal to set wages based on a western Canadian average formula does not achieve our needs.

In comparison to Regina and Winnipeg, Saskatoon offers a very competitive wage package.  The City wage offer to ATU will result in a bus operator (top rate) as of January 1, 2015 being paid $25.65.  As of January 1, 2015 Winnipeg will be paying $25.64 and Regina will be paying $25.88. 

Other facts include:

·     Transit workers are recruited not regionally but largely from the local area

·     Labour market wage and benefit competitiveness is driven by local market conditions and Saskatoon’s micro economy.

·     The amount of money the City has for collective bargaining needs to be determined based on factors important to Saskatoon taxpayers such as: wise spending, what citizens want, sound business planning, and local economic conditions.

Saskatoon and Winnipeg wages are essentially the same and our wage is very close to the wages paid by Regina; we consider this to be a fairer comparison in terms of service and population.

 

In short, the proposed western Canadian average is not an oranges to oranges comparison.

 

Garbage truck drivers are paid better?

 

The transit union leadership has publicly highlighted a difference between garbage truck operators and transit operators with transit divers receiving less; this is true.  However, Saskatoon Transit operators receive a more generous health and dental plan than do Saskatoon garbage truck drivers.

 

·     A CUPE 859 Operator (garbage truck driver) is paid $25.92/hr (2015);  an ATU Operator (2015) is paid $25.65/hr

·     The City provides 3.5% towards Extended Health and Dental for ATU: The City provides 2.0% towards Extended Health and Dental for CUPE 859:

So, there are always trade-offs according to what the bargaining unit decides and negotiates for its members.

Regina Transit wages

 

The transit union leadership has also pointed to a better wage schedule for Regina transit operators.  The Regina transit union gave up its provision for severance pay to get a higher wage scale.

 

Pension

 

ATU 615 is the only city collective bargaining unit that has not signed on to important pension contribution changes.  Ten other unions and professional associations (the Fire union included) have reached an agreement in principle regarding changes to the benefit structure of the pension plan.  The parties believe these changes set out a framework for the long term sustainability of the Plan.

Without these changes a significant portion of the money that the City has set aside for wage increases will have to be redirected to pay for the cost of the pension plans unfunded liability.

 

TERM

 

The term of the Agreement is for 4 years.  The term is for the period of January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2016.

 

Saskatoon Transit continues to operate as usual.

At this time, Saskatoon Transit thanks the public for its patience and understanding.

-30-