April 2017 – News And Views Express

We want to provide you with an update on the ZBR process with respect to contracting out of the Outside Maintenance Area with Calgary Transit. The membership passed a motion to fund a campaign to educate the public on what the consultants have proposed. The initial campaign spawned an extension, which the membership directed us to proceed with. Currently that part of the campaign is in full swing with Facebook ads and radio spots. We are asking all of our members to check out the website and sign the petition at thetruthishere.com. We have had two meetings with Transit Management to date. At the first meeting Calgary Transit brought nothing other than the fact they need to achieve $2.7 million in savings. During the second meeting Calgary Transit told us that they were doing a market research and were sending the landscaping part out to Request For Proposals (RFP). During that second meeting, we asked the question, how did they arrive at the 2.7 million dollar number and they told us primarily it is wages and benefits for the most part. Work that has been contracted out in the past continues to be a problem. If the work isn’t done, then our members are called on to complete the task. When we asked Management, how much is the contractor being charged back for this work, we were told that it is none of our business.

We have asked the International ATU for financial assistance with the campaigns. We also asked for an International Vice President to assist and we are happy to report that IVP Michelle Sommers has been assigned to assist us. She will be arriving the second week of April for a couple of days to provide some ideas. We are hoping to talk with some Councilors prior to a report back to council. There has been significant movement of staff from that work area to vacant positions elsewhere within the bargaining unit since the council meeting last June (2016). Needless to say with all the movement from Outside Maintenance and NO back-filling of those vacated positions and the hiring slow down, the remaining staff have been challenged as far as completing all the tasks.
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We have a group of members that are working together with Management regarding the bus-only gates. On February 23, 2017 in the City Clips there was an article explaining how to open bus-only gates using Traffic Signal Priority and provided clarification on the procedures for activating bus-only gates. If you still experience problems with opening the gates through the CAD system, please call Control and provide them with the date, time, bus number, location and direction. Management is also planning to include this information with a Let’s Talk session.
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When there is a disagreement over the interpretation of a Clause in the Contract or a past practice, or a principle is at stake, Local 583 has the right to file a grievance. This is one of the services we offer our members. The grievance may be over an issue as specific as a job being awarded out of seniority to something much more wide sweeping, such as the Attendance Support Program. There are three official presentation levels at the City of Calgary once a grievance is filed. The steps are: 1) Manager, 2) Director and 3) General Manager of Transportation. A grievance may be upheld at any of these levels, which means Local 583 has won our case. If not it moves through the levels. The City has often changed the outcome of a grievance and at the same time say “there is no violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement”. Usually this award is deemed a victory. The final step in the grievance procedure is an arbitration. The Local would first get a legal opinion on the aggrieved issue from our Legal Counsel and then move forward to the membership for a final discussion on whether or not to go to arbitration. All the facts of the case are reviewed from the investigative meeting(s). These are deemed the only facts in play and no current information is usually relevant. The Arbitrator is agreed to by both the City and Local 583 and because arbitrations are based on Labour Law, the arbitrator will be well revered for their knowledge of Labour Law. The arbitration decisions are driven by the decisions of previous arbitrations with regard to the facts of the current case.

Our Legal Counsel also reviews the facts from previous cases (known as jurisprudence) and advises the Local of his suspected outcome. His opinion is read to the Executive Board and the aggrieved is invited to the Executive Board meeting to present their case. The Executive Board then makes their best decision based on the facts presented. More often than not, the Board’s decision is unanimous. The decision then goes to the Regular Union Meeting for the Membership’s decision. Occasionally at a membership meeting when the grievor is present the empathy flows, but the Arbitrator does not base his decision on empathy, it is based on the facts. Some may remember 2-3 years ago when a member tampered with some safety equipment on the CTrain. The floor wanted to give him a “chance” and overturned the legal opinion and the Executive Board’s decision forcing the arbitration to go ahead. The Arbitrator called the grievor’s credibility into question when the facts didn’t line up. Grievance denied! The issue at hand is that we must use our minds, not our hearts when deciding to pursue an Arbitration. Both the Arbitrator and our Legal Counsel know labour law, compassion is not a component of this law. The Local just dealt with a heartfelt situation at the March membership meeting and we are likely to deal with one in the coming months. Arbitration discussions are all heartfelt but it’s the facts and credibility that win arbitrations, not good will.

The average cost of an Arbitration runs into the tens of thousands of dollars, which is easily affordable to Local 583, but we must show responsibility when spending our membership’s money and use our best business sense to do a fiduciarily responsible job.
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It has been brought to our attention that frequently Supervisors will have what seems to be a casual conversation with Operators away from the workplace or outside of working hours and these conversations can still be used against the Operators. We want to make certain that the interests of our members are protected so please be very careful as to what you say to Supervisors, even if it seems to be off the record about any incidents. We also advise members to make sure they are taking a Union representative with them when they are called in.
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Please remember: document, document, document! Local 583 deals with many day to day issues likely upwards of 80 calls per day and we need all the particulars of each situation. It is so hard to act on “it’s happened three times this week” when Local 583 lacks the details. Please get the time, date, location, supervisor’s name and anything else that will help Local 583 resolve your concern. It is imperative for everyone’s success.
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Safety is an issue that is top of mind for all of us and we work hard to make our work-site safer. At the time of writing this newsletter, we are dealing with another vicious assault on one of our members. A Code Blue is an assault on one of our members, usually but not always, an Operator. On a monthly basis, during a meeting with Operations, we review footage of all Code Blues that occurred during the last month. This is not pleasant as we watch our members get spat on, punched in the head, coffee thrown on them etc. We also hear about the follow up of the assault, such things as if Supervisors, Police or PS attended and if the assailant has been caught or charged. We are surprised by the number of our members who don’t want any action that can lead to the assaulter being caught or charged. Please, if you have been assaulted, do not tell police you don’t want charges laid, because no investigation will happen. If you indicate you will be pressing charges, an investigation will happen and you still can change your mind at any time. Our members deserve to be protected and one way of doing that is ensuring those who assault us are brought to justice. This topic will be discussed more in the future, especially in light of what has happened to a brother in Winnipeg.
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The rules of the workplace are important to all of us. Sometimes things are fairly clear cut, such as how many weeks of vacation you are entitled to, while sometimes things are more difficult to understand, such as who is supposed to be doing a certain piece of work. Mostly we are governed by the Collective Agreement, but other things such as Human Rights Legislation, FOIP (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act), Health and Safety Legislation, and Labour Relations can also play a part in knowing what the rules are for the workplace. Knowledge of not only the Collective Agreement, but also many other acts, codes, legislations and precedents is vital to ensure all members are treated fairly. This Union is constantly educating our representatives so they can serve the members better. If you have questions about the workplace, ask one of the Union Representatives as they are educated about these things and have easier access to the answers when required. Our members get into trouble when they speak to the “cafeteria commandos” who think they know a lot, but usually hand out wrong or incomplete advice.
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It was Thank Your Operator Day on March 18th and so the Table Officers of Local 583 say a big “Thank You!” to all 2200+ Operators, thanks for the great job you do! We realize the customers on your bus are the ones who truly make your day when they say thank you for a job well done.
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Local 583 would once again like to remind our members that many of the washroom facilities are co-ed meaning it makes for a different ease of use for each member and as you can imagine not everyone can avoid a dirty seat. We get photos in the office of these washrooms and some look as through whoever is using them is standing on the toilet bowl to do their business. Washroom vandalism has become such a high concern issue that one particular washroom facility has been labelled by Calgary Transit as “abuse of this facility will result in termination” because of the mess left behind. Please show due respect for your fellow members and leave the facilities no worse than you found them.

Congratulations on their Retirement 2016/2017
Richard Archer – Office – 38 years – July
Dave Henningsen – Operator – 36 years – August
Gerald Lee – Operator – 10 years – September
Kevin Dellaire – Maintenance – 11 years – October
Robert Randall – Operator – 18 years – October
Arnold Scott – Maintenance – 26 years – October
Mark Smeaton – Operator – 39 years – October
Darryl Spenst – Operator – 36 years – October
Michael Harrison –Operator – 16 years – December
Nauman Khan – Operator – 25 years – December
Ted Zakowicz – Operator -6 years – December
William (Bill) Bishop – Operator – 35 years – January
Kenneth Rodgers – Maintenance – 32 years – January
Tom Sime – Operator – 27 years – January
Janet Neil – Operator – 16 years – February
Dawn Erath – Operator -37 years – March
Daniel Fung – Operator – 35 years – March
Mohamed Ladha – Operator – 16 years – March
Marshall Scott Wilson – Operator- 37 years – March


Thank You Cards Received:

ATU Support Group
Carol Blackstock
Arnold Cameron
Dave Collins
John Crouchman
George Dorn
Kenneth Johnston
Carl Morela
Warren Price
Robert Randall
Arnold Scott
the Family of William Kotanen
Women’s Center
Jacinda (Office Staff)
Shelley (Office Staff)

For Your Information:
-Next Regular Union Meeting: April 11th, 2017 at the Union Office (5325 1A Street SW) at 10:00 AM and 7:30 PM – Only signed up members of ATU Local 583 may attend
-Next Retiree’s Group Meeting: May 1st, 2017 at 7:00 PM (Spring Gardens Room 104)
-Next Retiree’s Luncheon: April 18th, 2017 at 1:00 PM at Starlight Restaurant (369 Heritage Drive SE)
-Retired Member George Dorn turned 80 years old. He is also undergoing chemotherapy. Happy belated birthday and a speedy recovery!
-Retired Member Jack Keats turned 100 years old on December 12 and is a 70 year Local 583 member as of June 1, 2016! Happy belated birthday Jack and congratulations on your membership feat!

Contibutors this month
Rick Ratcliff – President/Business Agent
Neil McKinnon – Executive Vice President/Assistant Business Agent
Zul Vira – Financial Secretary/Treasurer
Bill Johnson – Recording Secretary/Maintenance/Office

COPE 397 /jr

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