by Scott Price
On Friday May 22nd during rush hour a group of people were in front of the MTS Center in Downtown Winnipeg handing out homemade donuts and Tim Horton’s gift cards to transit drivers as a show of support for members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505 who have been in contract negotiations with the city over the last several weeks.
The event was organized by concerned citizens who wanted to show solidarity with ATU 1505 members and who they felt have been taking unfair criticism.
“I read on CBC online about three days ago where they were interviewing transit users. Universally people were were just incredibly short sighted and unempathetic in their response to the delays in transit service and ATU’s negotiations with the city,” said Jacquie Nicholson, a Winnipeg resident participating in the rally. “People were like: they shouldn’t be doing this; we should legislate them back to work. People were really just focusing their frustration in the wrong direction.”
Jacquie said that even with the short time frame for the solidarity event they were able to collect around eighty $5 Tim Horton’s gift cards to give to transit drivers. The gift cards also had a short note on them thanking ATU 1505 members for the hard work that they do and that they hope they get a fair contract.
One of the other organizers of the event, Robert McGregor, said that the response from ATU 1505 members was overwhelmingly positive and a few people from the general public were also supportive. “One lady didn’t want to get on the bus because she thought it was a picket line that was established.”
Tentative Deal Reached
ATU 1505 and the City both announced that a tentative deal was reached between the union and city late Friday night. ATU 1505 has lifted the voluntary ban on overtime.
The Winnipeg Free Press reported that this Monday morning there were no announcements of delays and cancellations in bus service. ATU 1505 still has to vote to ratify the agreement and city council has to approve it as well.