OC Transpo Strike – Who Is To Blame

It is really easy to blame the drivers, mechanics and their union for the strike. However the facts do not support that.

The strike was called when the employer, the City of Ottawa and OC Transpo, presented a final offer and stated that they were not willing to negotiate any further (and they have not moved from their bottom line position since then). That left the workers with the choice of accepting an unsatisfactory offer or going on strike. Further negotiations were no longer an option (although the union indicated its willingness to accept the federal mediators proposal as a way of ending the strike within days of it's start).

We could still blame the workers and their union if the strike had been the result of unreasonable demands by them. But it was not.

The strike was precipitated by an attempt by the City of Ottawa and OC Transpo to rollback previously bargained for benefits relating to the scheduling system. This was a system that was proposed by the employer and negotiated in a non-confrontational interests-based bargaining process over an extended period of time. It was also a proposal that, despite the rhetoric (lies?) of Larry O'Brien and his cohorts, did not cost the City and OC Transpo anything because the workers took a reduced pay increase to pay for the extra costs.

The strike can be settled immediately if City of Ottawa and OC Transpo would accept the workers and their union's reasonable proposal to send the financial package to arbitration and the scheduling issue to a mediation process. The system was developed in a non-confrontational process over an extended period of time. If the city believes it has problems that need to be fixed that is the process to use, a process that may be able to find improvements that benefit both the workers and the employer.

The facts make it clear that it was the City and OC Transpo that that caused the strike and it is the City and OC Transpo that are responsible for it continuing.

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