July 2017 – News and Views Express

Sadly, June 24, 2017 was the last day of work for 55 of our Outside Maintenance staff. In brief, the ZBR which was presented to Council in June was endorsed by the majority of City Council. Council did direct administration to meet with Local 583 but because the report had remained redacted until the 11th hour, there appeared to be little interest by Management in coming to terms in hope of saving jobs.

As Local 583 met with Labour Relations to work out the final details there was a realization we may be able to save a few jobs. Redeployment was an option in Maintenance, but it meant junior members of the job function would be laid off as per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, still resulting in job loss. A hybrid type sign up scenario was suggested and with a little ingenuity the process went ahead and two jobs were saved. It was so rewarding to see Service Lane members who were facing two job losses, if redeployment was used, stand together to save these two positions and get vacancies filled in their work area.

There was also one long service member that was identified as being unable to retire (due to age) having had come from operations nine years ago. The member had worked for Utilities for 2 ½ years and then as a Transit Operator for 19 years before being accommodated in the Outside Maintenance area in 2008. When a permanent position became available, the member bid into it to protect his health. The member remained in Outside Maintenance for the last nine years. He was a 29 year Calgary Transit employee. Although redeployment doesn’t speak to blending work areas, nobody was to be laid off in operations. We probably should have attempted to use the redeployment language to slot the member in as a 19 year Transit Operator seniority. The Full Time Officers hoped the membership would have compassion for this member and make the one badge number sacrifice because the impact to the work and vacation selection was minimal. The member represented 0.066% seniority loss for 1,538 members. The small impact can be seen by doing some comparisons of sign on and vacation selections. [Picking the last day straight and day splits for example shows how the Operator choices have differed for the spring sign up over the last five years.]

(Please see attached photo for the table – click for full photo)

Similar scenarios can be observed when we look at the last member to get summer vacation over similar years

(Please see attached photo for the table – click for full photo)

Operator choices are ever-changing to some degree as member’s lifestyles change so the Full Time Officers felt the impact would be almost unnoticeable. We cannot overlook the times when badges are removed for supernumeration or termination and then reinstated when the impacted employee returns. Both of the mentioned procedures could take years to reconcile and it is a more regular occurrence than the ZBR mandate.

The Full Time Officers of this Local do recognize seniority as one of our founding cornerstones but we also recognize our mandate to save jobs without impunity. It was a tough decision, we all stood together on doing what we thought was the best result with a limited time frame. We are certainly not perfect and were judged on our actions at the June 13 Charter Membership Meeting. There were lessons learned that won’t soon be forgotten on this issue.

As this situation comes to a close the member could not meet the conditions attached to his return to the workplace and will NOT be placed as a Transit Operator. The good news is despite the member’s current unemployed status we are proceeding on a grievance on the member’s right to be placed in a job through the accommodation process.

Our office has received a few calls about the possibility of layoffs for Operators. First off, thank you to those who took the time to call, email or text one of the Full Time Officers or had a conversation with a Steward/Executive Board Member. Engaging in a conversation is much better than simply passing on rumors. It is important to realize, in broad terms, Transit uses a Capital Budget to build or improve structures, while an Operations Budget is used to fund ongoing operations of the business.

The information you are reading now is as up to date as possible and is subject to change on a daily basis. In September, Transit will be reducing service of conventional bus. This is due to the decrease in ridership and the resulting decrease in funding. Ridership simply has been declining since the recession started, and it is impossible to know when the numbers will increase. In early June, Transit Management met with us to discuss the possibility of layoffs and if, working together, we could come up with a plan to avoid layoffs. At that time, Transit was talking of the possibility of up to 60 positions being laid off. Their projections take into account future retirements, resignations, members on LTD, etc.

We met again in July and they told us the number they are looking at is about 40 Operators. We discussed possibilities such as encouraging members to take leave of absences for periods of time longer than 30 days, allowing members to work reduced days in a week, offering incentives for members to retire and voluntary layoffs. Transit was firmly against and ruled out having members work a reduced work week or offering any enticements to encourage members to retire or resign. At the time of writing this we are still discussing other possibilities. If discussions lead us to a position where “relaxation” of the Collective Agreement is warranted in order to save jobs, a Special Called Meeting will be announced and members will receive all relevant information.
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ATU Local 583 has once again supported a motion to renew BOOM cards. This is the Local’s third subscription with BOOM. While not all members go online to register them over 60% of the membership uses them. It is imperative that the Local 583 office has your correct address for you to receive one. We hope the cards will be in the mail before the end of August 2017, so if you have moved in the last while or are not receiving correspondence from Local 583, please call to confirm your address.
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Invitations for the Annual Fall Banquet will be mailed out within two weeks so please watch your mailbox for its arrival. Please remember to RSVP whether you are attending or not. The staff appreciate the response to save them some work.
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The Local 583 Social Committee hopes to see everyone at our Annual Family Picnic to be held at Sandy Beach Park (4500 14A Street SW) this Sunday July 23, starting at 10:00 AM. Please check our poster for all the details in the usual posting locations.

    Congratulations on their Retirement 2016/2017

Radi Al-Kadri – Maintenance – 29 years – April
Daniel Fung – Operator – 35 years – April
Conrad Klassen –Operator – 36 years – April
Bill Lister – Operator – 38 years – April
Ronald Mah – Maintenance– 14 years – April
Dennis Nedohin – Maintenance – 17 years – April
Mahebub Rhemtulla – Operator – 12 years – April
Keith Carter – Operator – 12 years – May
April Holland – Office – 37 years – May
Dale Martin – Operator – 15 years – May
Bruce Miller – Operator – 8 years – May
Robert Tinevez – Operator – 27 years – May
Marcel Bedard – Exempt – 35 years – May
Robert Brewster – Maintenance – 36 years – May
Wayne Boyle – Operator – 15 years – June
Richard Gesinghaus – Fleet Maintenance – 28 years – June
Moez Hassam – Operator -2 years – June
John Jabs – Fleet Maintenance – 29 years – June

    Thank You Cards Received:

Joe Clarke
Gene & Deb
James Cooper
BJ Hansen

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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