ATU Local 583 – Monthly Insights – November/December 2023, Issue #31

2023 Milestone Pins

We are delighted to let you know that if you have reached a milestone this year (5-year, 10-year, etc.) your pin has been sent to the address we have on file.

A big congratulations to everyone reaching a milestone this year!


It’s no secret that we are dubious of the Employer and their “respect” towards our Members. It is very easy for the Employer to say how much they value you and offer a latte or a BBQ a couple of times a year, but the real measure is in how you are treated in the workplace. We could likely write numerous newsletters on this topic alone. Below we are going to delve into a few of the more questionable actions that cause us to raise our eyebrows at the level of respect our Members are actually receiving and let you decide for yourself.

Let’s Talk Contracting Out: Not only have we had three areas contracted out in recent years, to add insult to injury, their contract work is utterly dismal.

LRT platforms are basically the ice capades anytime it snows. The Calgary Transit Twitter (now called X) is rife with complaints about how slippery and dangerous the platforms are during and after snowfall. One would wonder how much supposed “monetary savings” can explain away the lack of safety. Not only that, but platforms have become a place where almost every kind of bodily fluid imaginable is deposited and not cleaned even remotely promptly.

The cleaning of buses has also taken a massive downward spiral. Not only are buses not being cleaned properly, standing water is just being left on the interiors. This has caused so much rot that a good portion of the Community Shuttle fleet is no longer operable. For several months now, we have not been able to see clearly out of the windshields of the entire fleet and the contractor is unable to resolve the problem. I suspect they are still cashing the cheques though. We send pictures almost daily of Operators work stations that are so filthy with built up grime I think its safe to say no manager at Calgary Transit would sit in one for any length of time.

As you may know, shelter cleaning has been contracted out for a few decades and the state they are in speaks to how well that venture was/is. Trash piled up (if there even IS a trash can available), numerous substances (including human excrement) on every surface, broken doors, broken glass, the list goes on. And it isn’t as though these things are dealt with in a timely manner. We have service reports that go back months for some things.

When the system looks like garbage, it is the front-line workers that get treated the same way.

Then comes the Request for Proposals for Ride on Demand. The Company says we should not be worried because the contractor will be doing work we’ve never done and if and when ridership gets heavy enough, it will be brought in house. This would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious.

Let’s Talk Union Discrimination: We have also had issues with management trying to undermine ATU Local 583 and the work we do to protect our Members.

Firstly, in June of 2022, an anonymous person contacted the General Manager of Operational Services to disclose false information from our Regular Membership Meeting. This led to the knee jerk decision by City Management to ban Union Officer, Bill Johnson from the garages. They did this with zero investigation, with complete disregard for first hand testimony from Local 583 Officers and with no urgency what so ever. And if you are wondering why, our opinion is that some Management and Labour Relations are seeking to cripple our ability to represent our Members. Under the Labour Code, we have both exclusive jurisdiction AND an obligation to represent our Members IN the workplace. Legal Counsel was sought, we filed a Labour Board complaint and in the end the City realized their error (aka: their own lawyers told them they messed up) and Bill was rightfully once again allowed in the garages to do Union business.

However, the attack continues. This time in the form of an attempt to railroad one of our Executive Board Members to prevent him from even being able to speak about our Local or to the Members we have an absolute duty to represent. This attack is cruel, heartless and without any basis. It is a self-serving, blatant abuse of City resources and of the duties this manager and the Human Resources person aiding him have been entrusted with. The manager was actually caught lying during the grievance procedure. It is the definition of malfeasance.

Unfortunately, by design the Employer/Employee relationship leans highly in favour of the Employer. If the Employer is not willing to act in good faith our only recourse is to have an independent third party intervene.

We will not abandon our Union Representatives and with the blessings of the Membership, we will be taking this matter to the Labour Board once again.

We had a similar manager fire one of our Representatives a few years back. He too was caught lying during the grievance procedure. We filed for arbitration and the City settled prior to the hearing. Our Member was a two-year employee that was reinstated and paid well over a year’s wages because of the managers abuse of power and malfeasance. Unfortunately, Mr. Edwards did not get terminated for this, however he was eventually fired for stealing equipment and falsifying time cards, two other forms of malfeasance.

Let’s Talk Reputational Harm: Often when our Members are under investigation for a Customer Service Report the Employer will raise the issue of “what do you think the complainant will think of The City based on what you’ve done”? Then in part, you may be disciplined because of this factor. Ok. So what if the Employer does something that may cause the City reputational harm?

Well, this month the answer was that they will disregard your rights or needs and instead protect themselves.

When Calgary Transit decided to close the south LRT line for the Erlton Station track work, they had two choices, honour the Collective Agreement and use the spare board and volunteer Operators to cover the shuttle work required to serve the closure or cut signed up Operators work and ignore their seniority and personal needs.

The first choice would cost a little more but use the system exactly as it was designed for while respecting the signed-up operator’s seniority choices. The downside, they would have to cut different work and they felt that may reflect badly on them. The reputational harm thing again, but this time it would be on them and not you.

The second choice was ignoring the Collective Agreement, ignoring seniority and totally disregarding your personal needs and obligations. The upside, their reputation takes less of a hit.

Well, we don’t need to advise the affected Operators which choice they made.

We have filed a grievance.

True respect is shown in the actions of progressive employers.

Children’s Gift Pick Up

Dates when gifts will be available in December:

Second Week: December 11th, 13th, 14th and 15th from 9 am to 3 pm
Third Week: December 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st from 9 am to 3 pm
Final Day for December: December 22nd from 9 am to 12 pm
Dates when gifts will be available in January:

January 2nd, 3rd and 5th, 2024 from 9 am to 3 pm
Some things to keep in mind:

• At least 30 minutes ahead of when you intend to arrive, please call 403-630-3998 so we can get your gift(s) ready.
• Please use either the SIDE or BACK DOOR when picking up your gifts. The side door is the same door Members use to attend Regular Membership Meetings when they are held at the hall. The back door is accessible through the back alley.
• If you intend to have a friend pick up for you, please email and let us know your full name, payroll number and number of gifts being picked up. Your designate will also have to sign a form noting they are authorized to pick up on your behalf.

Holiday Wishes from ATU Local 583

2023 has been quite the year!

We are wishing you and your families a joyful, safe and happy holiday season. We hope you get a chance to relax and spend time with loved ones.

Stay warm, everyone! 🎄🎄🎄

ATU Local 583 Office Closure

Our office will be closed December 22nd at Noon and we will reopen January 2nd, 2024 at 8:00 AM. During this time if you have an urgent workplace matter, please see the roster posted on both our website or on Union posting boards in the workplace.

Wishing you all a wonderful 2024 to come!

COPE 397 /jw

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