Frustration mounts over Codiac Transpo lockout
Published Monday, August 20, 2012 7:37PM ADT
As the Codiac Transpo lockout enters its ninth week in Moncton, users are sharing their tales of transit hardships.
Sam Melanson says she is tired of living without public transit and decided to do something about it. She and some friends have created an online petition in the hopes it will bring the city and the Amalgamated Transit Union back to the bargaining table.
“They had been talking about having a rally here and I mentioned a petition might be an idea and we talked about it and we decided as a group it could help,” she says.
Melanson put the petition online and collected signatures on a hard copy to deliver to city council.
Transit user Yolande Mercure says people living on low incomes have been hit the hardest by the lockout.
“They are only making $10 an hour and they take a taxi, $12 for a taxi, so that is an hour of work right there,” says Mercure.
The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1920, representing Codiac Transpo workers, received a show of support from other unions today, including one at the national level.
Local union leader George Turple says union members agree binding arbitration is a solution to the lockout.
“These people are put in these positions because they deserve to be there, they are appointed there,” says Turple. “They are there because they come with a wealth of experience and education.”
However, officials with the city of Moncton say arbitrators don’t always have the experience to dig into issues like contract language.
“Council has already said ‘no’ to binding arbitration,” says city spokesperson Jacques Dube. “I fail to comprehend why the union keeps wanting to talk about that because we have already said no, that is off the table. We are not going to binding arbitration.”
The city says it can’t afford the pay raises the union is looking for, although the issue may not be entirely about money because Moncton has already spent upwards of $30,000 on a taxpayer subsidized taxi chit program.
Petition organizer Sam Melanson says she still hopes they two sides will meet soon.
“Some people have to walk and with the heat that we have had this summer, there has been a lot of people that have passed out and there has been a lot of health issues where people can’t walk.”
Roughly 90 bus drivers, mechanics and other workers have been without a collective agreement for two years. Codiac Transpo locked out its workers on June 26 after they threatened to strike.
With files from CTV Atlantic's David Bell