ARE YOU IN? I’M NOT. Regarding the Calgary Transit “Employee Appreciation” Barbeque’s June 23 & 24, 2023

As our Members are acutely aware, we are currently in bargaining with The City of Calgary for our new contract. ATU Local 583 has been bargaining in good faith. The city however, it seems, has not.

ATU Local 583 has discovered that a Request for Proposals (RFP) to contract out some of our work has been completed and is open to private contractors for bidding. This RFP is regarding the Ride On Demand Program for which we negotiated the terms of service in good faith, for whatever that was worth. Although we exceeded every goal set for keeping this work in house, in the dark of night, without a word to us, they put out this RFP.

We have also been made aware that Calgary Transit has developed a Request for Information to see if any companies have the ability to do the heavy rebuild on our LRT trucks/bogies. They say we shouldn’t feel threatened because they are just looking to see if a company exists, it’s not an RFP. Well I can guarantee you this isn’t just a survey to measure the state of the workforce in Calgary. RFP’s cost a lot of money. Why go through the expense if no company exists. However, if one does, of course they will do the RFP.

When an employer throws an Employee Appreciation event, it is understood that the employee is in fact, appreciated. Their work is valued by the employer. ATU Local 583 believes this event is a sham given that work being contracted out denotes the exact opposite: unappreciation.

Our Members do a very difficult job. Each and every one of you works for a system that engages and transports the citizens of Calgary. As with any mass group of people, this includes extremely difficult personalities, violent people and the like. We have seen an unprecedented uprise in violence on Calgary Transit, on trains, on buses, at bus stops and on platforms. You, our Members, have handled these situations as best as anyone could possibly ask of you. With as much grace as a human being having someone wield a gun, or a knife, or an axe or bear mace, can possibly handle it. You worked through the pandemic, with ever-changing climates of worry and danger. The family of at least one of our members that lost his life to Covid confirm he contracted it on the job. At the same time, Calgary Transit contracted out the disinfecting of your work stations to a horrific company that under trained, under staffed and under paid employees. They didn’t just ignore Covid, they used Covid to do it.

In spite of all these challenges, You did all this with as much grace as anyone could possibly ask of you. We are deeply proud of the Membership we have. Is the City of Calgary proud of the people they employ to keep Calgary moving? We aren’t so sure.

We know there are many managers you work directly with that are that are decent people as individuals, but that doesn’t give the company the right to treat you with such disregard collectively. These are conscious decisions made by senior managers in the City of Calgary. You would have to void yourself of any empathy to do that. I had hoped we had turned the corner on this garbage.

That is why the Officers and the entire Executive Board have decided to boycott this event. We will not attend. We will not go to a barbecue that is being marketed as an employee appreciation while we do not feel that appreciation for you exists.

Members are free to make their own choices, however a boycott sends a message. Respect us. Respect our work.

We thought things were going pretty smooth but The City has really thrown a wrench into negotiations. Regardless, we will continue to bargain in good faith to obtain the very best collective agreement we can and will continue to update the Membership on the ongoing process when we are able.

In Solidarity,
Mike Mahar
President/Business Agent
ATU Local 583

COPE 397 MM/jw

One Response

  • Not going – mostly due to the fact that both events are in the NE. I think they forgot that they have employees that live all over the city.

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