Dear Sisters and Brothers
The following text was sent to the City of Calgary and Calgary Transit this afternoon in responses to an unknown number of Operators being taken off their signed work contrary to the Collective Agreement and long established practices. Unfortunately, because this has happened on a Friday afternoon, we do not anticipate a resolution before Monday, when all of the changes are anticipated to take effect. Having said that, the Union will remain available to discuss a possible resolution throughout the weekend.
Director Calgary Transit
“Thank you for reaching out to me with this heads up. First, I want to acknowledge I realize you have come into your position during incredibly trying times and I can appreciate how difficult it must be inheriting a system that was left fragile due to layoffs, contracting out, under funding and massive resignations and retirements. Local 583 has been advocating for staffing improvements for over a year in anticipation of reaching a breaking point where service can no longer be provided at the required levels promised to the citizens of Calgary. Unfortunately, through no fault of your own, we are there now.
I wish we had more of an opportunity to discuss this issue earlier in the week but unfortunately, with this being implemented on a Friday afternoon, it is unlikely we can look for a mutual resolution, if one did exist this late in the next wave of Covid-19.
ATU Local 583 takes the position that the Employer can not arbitrarily change the work of signed up Operators unless those changes are of a permanent nature and the reason for the change is that the current signed on work is being eliminated from service. This practice has been in place for decades.
Absent of being able to peruse the changes in advance, we are apposed to these changes and reserve the right to grieve any violation of the Collective Agreement.
Again, I do recognise you may not be overly familiar with the environment of the Operations area at Calgary Transit but this decision is going to cause a tremendous amount of animosity towards the employer for a very long time.
As an example, I just got off the phone with a 32 year employee that has not driven his car to work in 15 years, has not been late or missed work in over 20 years and is an absolute model employee. He just received a call informing him he is off the signed up work he has been on for seven years. He is to report to SG on Monday for a 4 hour piece in the morning and then he is to check back for more work. I can’t express to you enough, the impact this is having on him at the moment.
Our Members have been going far above and beyond what could reasonable be asked of them the last two years while enduring an endless list of sacrifices to insure the citizens of Calgary continue to get the best service we can provide them in spite of some questionable decisions made by senior management. They are tired, they are frustrated and they are disillusioned.
Of all the things that have been asked of us during this pandemic and there have been many, this is the first one that has been imposed arbitrarily and the first one that completely ignores our seniority, the cornerstone of our Collective Agreement. I suspect it will generate a significant number of grievances.
I remain available to discuss this further if you wish.”