O’Brien said when the federal government began to move forward with the legislation it was obvious that the strike was over. (CBC story)
So, it seems that with the very real threat of being legislated back to work, both the city and the ATU 279 decided to send the dispute to binding arbitration. Of course, the strike isn’t officially over until both sides ratify the agreement, but it’s probably not in the interest of either side to not accept it.
Assuming they do, an arbitrator will come up with a three-year contract that covers wages, benefits, sick leave and contracting out. CBC reports that the mayor said “the city and the union are still very far apart on scheduling, raises, bonuses and benefits.” Hopefully the arbitrator will recognize the principle that management has the right to manage and return control of the schedule to the city where it should be.
In any event, it’s probably going to take people a long time to get over the strike. Other transit strikes have resulted in significant drops in ridership levels that can take months or years to return to pre-strike levels. I wonder how long it’ll take for ridership levels to return to “normal” this time.
Hopefully, there won’t be any incidents of violence towards the drivers when the buses get back on the road.