ATU 583 Monthly Insights – February 2022 – Issue #12

Black History Month

February marks Black History Month in Canada. This is an important time for reflection on the numerous important contributions Black people have made not only in Canada, but the world over. Equally important is the link between these contributions and how they helped shape to Canada’s heritage and identity as a wholly diverse nation.

We encourage our Members to seek to inform themselves on the many great things our Black Sisters and Brothers have achieved throughout the history of our country.

Some notable persons include:

John A. Robinson, J.W. Barber, B.F. Jones and P. White who were Black porters based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 1917 they formed their own labour Union (as they were unwelcome to join established ones at the time). Their organization was called the OSCP, the Order of Sleeping Car Porters. In 1919, they joined the OSCP with the Canadian Brotherhood of Railway Employees (CBRE). This amalgamation forced the removal of the term “whites only” from the CBRE constitution. Though segregation persisted, this was a big step for the Black porters.

Keep an eye out for our February blog posts! Which contain more labour and civil rights contributions from Black people throughout Canada’s history.

ATU 583 Sign Up Telegram Group

We have recently started a group on Telegram specifically to meet the needs of our Members seeking any information regarding sign up. The group is administered through the Office and is mainly answered by our Chair of Sign Up – Michaela Hannem.

If you would like to be added, you can text 403-404-4564 with your full name, employee number and phone number.

This is a great group to ask any questions you may have about the process and get all the facts.

Vaccination Policy – Still Effective

We have had many questions both called into the Office and via our Vaccination Telegram Group about what the lifting of Provincial restrictions means for the Calgary Transit Vaccination Policy.

The CT Policy is still in effect. Provincial guidelines do not alter City policy. This means if you are currently testing – you will continue to test.

When and if there are updates to the City policy, we will let our Members know.

Life Insurance Open Window

At the most recent Executive Board Meeting, ATU Local 583 Executives discussed the possibility of an open-window for the Union life insurance. The motion was made to go ahead with the open-window and subsequently brought to the Regular Membership Meeting for approval. That approval was received and we are currently in the process of setting the open-window up.

For those that may not be aware, when you join ATU Local 583 there is an opportunity to sign up for the Union life insurance. There is a 60-day period where you can sign up without any medical evidence. After that a medical long form is required to obtain the life insurance. What an open-window will do is negate the need for a medical long form and anyone wishing to partake in the Union life insurance will be allowed to sign up.

We will let the Members know more information as soon as it is available.

Vacation Match – Retirement

We have included this information in a past newsletter but as we continue to get numerous calls and emails on the subject, we will go over it again.

The vacation match for retirement is still ongoing. Originally, it was stated that the match would end either December 31, 2021 (if we had a signed agreement) or when a new agreement is signed, whichever came later. As December 31, 2021 has passed by, the signing of the agreement will now be what decides whether the match ends or not.

We will be looking to keep it, of course. This is a benefit we feel our Members have earned. This is an item we will absolutely be bringing to the table and looking to insert language into the Collective Agreement on.

Anyone advising Members of the contrary is incorrect on the matter. We welcome Members to check in with the Office for any questions or concerns you may have on this or any other Union topic.

Did you know? – The Canadian Flag as we know it today was flown for the first time on February 15, 1965 in Ottawa. Previous to the now well-known Maple Leaf Flag – the flag of Canada was the “Canadian Red Ensign”.

Labour Board Complaint – Update

In our November 2021 Monthly Insights, we talked a bit about the Labour Board Complaint that was filed against the City for their Vaccination Policy.

Our hearing was February 7, 2022 and we now await the decision from the Labour Board.

It is of interest to note, that the hearing Board is made up of three individuals: a neutral chair, a labour friendly candidate and a management friendly candidate. They will discuss what was brought to them and rule on the matter. When we have an update, we will of course share it.

Pink Shirt Day

February 23, 2022 is Pink Shirt Day. As many of you will already be aware, Pink Shirt Day (or Anti-Bullying Day) is a notable date in February that brings attention the issue of bullying. It was originally started by two high school students (David Shepherd and Travis Price) who stood up for another student that was being bullied for the colour of their shirt. Now it is an annually recognized day.

Our differences are what make us who we are. We shouldn’t have to fear that our diversity will make us a target. To that end, we need to lift each other up. The very least we can do is not draw negative attention to others with barbed comments. Even better, we can actively seek to elevate our friends, family and peers. If we encounter bullying, we can and should stand up to it.

We are all able to recognize the good that these two high school students did and the far-reaching effects their actions had. Even if our own actions don’t bring forth an annual day of recognition, small acts of kindness can go a long way In a world where many of us face difficulties and challenges, let’s do our part to make it a more empathetic place to be.

Calgary Transit has announced a relaxation of the dress code for February 23 and it is as follows:

“The shirt must be in good condition, have sleeves, be the solid color pink, without any graphics or logos and must work with regular transit issued trousers along with approved footwear. Operator badge numbers and Calgary Transit ID must be worn at all times while on duty.”

If you wear a pink shirt on February 23, please feel free to email a photo of yourself to and we will do our best to share some of these wonderful photos in a future blog or social media post.

You can learn more at


COPE 397 /jw

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