ATU Local 583 – Monthly Insights – September 2023, Issue #29

ATU Local 583 – 75th Annual Retirement Banquet

Our annual banquet honouring ATU Local 583’s Retirees was held September 23, 2023 at the Grey Eagle Resort and Casino.

We had approximately 700 people in attendance. It was a wonderful evening spent reminiscing about the past and honouring our Retirees and their contributions to the workplace over their careers.

We are already looking forward to next year!

The Proposed Memorandum of Settlement

On Monday September 25th, 2023, the Membership voted in favour of the proposed Memorandum of Settlement by 56.6%.

The Negotiations Committee is pleased that the contract has been accepted, but understands that the Members have pressing items they want to see negotiated in the next round.

We thank those of you who turned out to vote, either way, and helped complete this democratic process.

Improper Pay Step Counting Grievance – Resolved

Regarding the Improper Pay Step Counting grievance we have had ongoing for Members who were rehired after COVID layoffs, we are please to advise you that we have just reached a resolve with Doug Morgan, the General Manager of Transportation.

Under the resolve, each Member rehired will now receive credit for those same hours you had accrued at either step one or step two of the pay grade you were in when laid off.

This means that as an example, if you had 500 hours in step one, then those hours worked since coming back would begin to accumulate at hour 501 and so on. The same would be applicable for step two, allowing each of you to move to the next higher rate of pay based on all qualifying hours worked.

We will update you when we have information on when the calculations will be completed and the back pay processed.

With respect to our recalled Members, which is a separate matter, we are still working on the position that your seniority date should be bridged for vacation and service entitlements. As soon as we have an update on that particular issue, we will let the Members know.

Thank you for your patience while we work to resolve these issues. We know it’s been a contentious issue and we greatly appreciate your support.

Weekly Polls and the Negotiations Surveys

We have launched a new feature for our website – polls! At the time of publishing this newsletter we have had five weekly polls. They can be found at and each poll will last one full week before we post the next one.

Currently we are polling on a variety of topics ranging anywhere from whether you have experienced a bus that required booking recently, to which of our social media platforms you utilize the most.

Not only do these polls offer Members the ability to express their (anonymous) opinions on these topics, they are allowing us to get Members used to doing so. As we look ahead to the next round of bargaining, we hope that a much higher rate of Members will participate in the survey that is historically given out prior to exchanging proposals with the City bargaining team. It may be of interest to you to know that only about 10% of Members filled out the last survey and even fewer came to the Special Called Meeting to approve the items for bargaining. The numbers were even lower for returned surveys when we used to do paper copies that were sent back through internal mail. Having the survey available online certainly increased the number of Members participating but not to the extent we would like to see.

For the upcoming round of bargaining, we will launch a survey that Members will have plenty of time to fill out.

In the meantime, get involved in our weekly polls! They aren’t always the direst of questions but they do help us see what things the Members experience and care about.

Allstate Insurance

Our Officers have been hard at work finding a new insurance partnership for Members since our last one ended and we are happy to announce we have a new partnership. As always, you need to do your homework but for those of us that have researched our own personal rates Allstate has been a great match for our Members (both still working and retired).

They are offering preferred group rates on home and auto insurance. They also have 24-hour claims service, road side assistance and more! Members of ATU Local 583 will be able to enjoy these preferred discounts by using the QR Code below or by calling/emailing our representative Steve Watmough at 403 879 1810

Mental Health Tips

As we move into Autumn and the days get shorter, we wanted to take some time to remind Members that your mental health matters. Here are some tried and true things you can do if experiencing a flare up of anxiety.

Look around you and find:

5 things you can see
4 things you can touch
3 things you can hear
2 things you can smell &
1 thing you can taste.

This is called “grounding” and it can help when you feel like you’ve lost control of your surroundings. This is common for anxiety and panic attacks. Try and focus on small details you might usually block out as part of everyday sight or noise, such as flecks of colour in carpet or flooring, the hum of your computer, the way your phone feels in your hand, or the scent of your own skin.

Other things that are suggested are:

-Touching ice or water. Focus on how it feels.
-Doing a multiplication table in your head. Start with an easier one like 5’s or 10’s and move onto harder ones if needed.
-Make a list in your head of a specific category. For example, how many kinds of flower can you name?

Grounding techniques use tools such as visualization and senses including sight, hearing, and smell to help distract you from a variety of possible feelings and thoughts. During a panic attack or traumatic flashback, your emotions can take over your thoughts and physical responses. Focusing on the present, through grounding techniques can help interrupt your body’s response and return your brain and feelings to a place of safety.

Grounding yourself isn’t always easy. It may take some time to find the techniques that work best for you in different situations.

Here are some additional tips to help you get the most out of these techniques:

Practice: It can help to practice grounding even when you aren’t dissociating or experiencing distress. If you get used to an exercise before you need to use it, it may take less effort when you want to use it to cope in the moment.

Avoid assigning values: For example, if you’re grounding yourself by describing your environment, concentrate on the basics of your surroundings rather than how you feel about them.

Check in with yourself: Before and after a grounding exercise, rate your distress as a number between 1 and 10. What level is your distress when you begin? How much did it decrease after the exercise? This can help you get a better idea of whether a particular technique is working for you.

Membership Pins

It’s that time of year again where we send out Membership Pins. A reminder that these are done in milestone increments of 5 yrs. so if you have reached an anniversary, you will receive a pin within the next couple of months.

Now is a great time to ensure your address is up to date with us so you don’t miss out on your pin!

COPE 397 /jw

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