June 2020 – News and Views

President/B.A – Mike Mahar

It is hard to imagine only five months ago, where we would be today. In fact, at the time of this writing it has only been fourteen weeks since Alberta declared a state of emergency. We knew it was going to be bad but few probably thought it would be this bad.

What Covid–19 has done is change our personal and work lives forever. This is not to say it has worsened our lives or that we won’t adjust just fine but for sure, like 9-11, some normal activities will likely change for ever.

Short term, our abilities to meet have been hindered to the point where we haven’t been able to hold Regular Membership meetings. We will continue to communicate via Telegram, Facebook and our own web page to close that gap as best possible. We’ve been holding our Steward’s Meetings through an internal video conference program which helped us identify where we need to improve to add this as a form of communication to the Members as well. In the coming weeks we will be re-equipping our meeting hall to allow for this going forward.

Aside from having to change how we do our regular business, the effect on our Local being able to gather socially was also immediately impacted. We have an annual Steward’s Appreciation night which allows the Officers an opportunity to thank the Stewards for all the front line work they do during the course of the year. This has been postponed until further notice.

Regrettably, we also had to cancel the annual Family Picnic and our 73rd Annual Retirees’ Banquet. Both of these events are a tremendous opportunity for the Members to re-establish old relationships and build on new ones. I don’t know if the Retiree’s Banquet has ever been cancelled before but it is regrettable and we do apologize for both of these.

Of course, as big as these items are, first and foremost, our biggest concerns are the health and safety of the Membership. In three short months we’ve gone from normal to; social distancing, sanitizers and masks, rear door boarding, not enough Operators, too many Operators, Office and Maintenance staff, working from home and now fitting buses to begin front door loading.

As we catch our breath, we will be dealing with many non-COVID items in the coming weeks as well. We are working with the employer to start up a portion of Ride on Demand with ATU Operators. We are in discussions with the employer trying to find the best way to staff work that is being outsourced in the Maintenance area as well. And just to make sure we have something to do, we are preparing to revisit the threat of contracting out the Servicelane and shortly we will begin preparing to exchange proposals for negotiations in September.

We will be providing much more detail on these items over the summer months.

Stay safe.

Executive Vice President/A.B.A – Neil McKinnon

Calgary Transit is planning to start front door loading for big bus on July 1st. For all Operators, this means passengers will be expected to produce a fare. For the Operators of 40 and 60 foot buses, this will result in a change of practice that has been in place since COVID raised its ugly head. For 40-foot and 60-foot buses, Transit has informed us they will have temporary shields in place for July 1 while they continue to search for a better, more permanent solution. Trying to find an inexpensive shield that provides protection while not restricting vision has proved to be difficult for Transit. The short-term plan, according to Transit, is to move as quickly as possible to a better shield that will provide better all-around COVID protection without compromising on vision or comfort. The longer-term plan will involve installing a shield that provides physical protection as well as COVID protection.

The other part to July 1 is the expectation of passengers paying fares. As always, do not enforce the paying of fares. Your employer does not want you to enforce fares, so please keep yourself safe and simply inform. If fare evasion happens on your bus, inform Control and let them deal with it – it is not your responsibility to collect fares.

Financial Secretary Treasurer – Harry Lew

During these unprecedented times and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Calgary Transit has made the decision to lay off approximately 440 of our Members. Every laid off Member will have recall rights for 12 months to the position that they were laid off from. During the recall period the laid off Member’s Union dues will be covered by the Local.

ATU Local 583 will be providing a COVID-19 Benefits Program for laid-off or under employed Members. This is a benefit program administered through ATU Local 583.

Option 1 is designed to provide direct prescription drug coverage to a maximum of $500.00 per Member for the year. To receive the reimbursement for prescription you must mail in or drop off the original receipt to the Union office.

Option 2 is a $50 subsidy for a private benefit plan through Greenshield Canada, Alberta Blue Cross or a similar benefit provider. To receive reimbursement for a private benefit plan up to $50 per month you will need to provide proof of payment by email, mail or by dropping off to the Union office. Emails can be sent to finsec@atu583.com.

All expenses submitted in one month will be reimbursed by cheque the following month. The coverage for these benefit plans will be provided between June 1st, 2020 and May 31st, 2021.

Recording Secretary-Maintenance/Office – Bill Johnson

Due to budget constraints during the pandemic, Management felt the need to address the budget shortfalls with layoffs in all 3 areas within Calgary Transit.

During the initial round of layoffs in the Maintenance area, only non-trades were affected. Local 583 filed a grievance due to the fact that there was no reduction of work, the work was going to be done by trades people. We met with Management and it was agreed that the positions in the facilities that were to close would be the ones affected. That is why the final draft affected 27 J1 Truck and Transport Technicians.

In the Maintenance area this resulted in the closure of Stoney Transit Facility and Anderson Garage bus side. This also created the need for a sign-up for the movement of personnel in the trades and non-trades positions. The sign-up was completed by Harvey Woo and myself on May 27th and 28th, 2020. A sign-up was also done for the Parts department on June 3rd, 2020 and we only lost 1 limited term position in Supply.

The Office area lost approximately 30 employees and the Maintenance area approximately 47 employees. Of the 47 employees we lost 27 J1 Truck and Transport Technicians and 4 Electro-Trainees.

I am very happy to report with the communication we had with Fleet Services, they have hired 6 of our laid-off Technicians.

I also have it on good authority that currently there is business case at ALT for J1 Heavy Equipment Technicians at Fleet Services. Although they are CUPE 37 positions, all of our Tradesman that have been laid-off may apply for them and possess recall rights when Stoney Transit Facility and Anderson Garage reopen on the bus side.

Regular Meeting
• Next Meeting TBD
• 10 AM and 7:30 PM
• Union Hall located at
5325 1A Street SW

Recent Retirements:
James Little – February
Operations – 23 years

John McCrea – February –
Operations – 10 years

Kelly Toole – February
Maintenance – 21 years

Richard Wilson – February
Operations – 14 years

Robert Gendron – March –
Operations – 10 years

Doug Lalonde – March –
Operations – 30 years

Joyce McDermott – March –
Office – 22 years

Andrzej Naprawski – March –
Maintenance – 29 years

Shamshad Velji – March –
Operations – 18 years

Michael Wong – March –
Operations – 21 years

Paul Becker – April –
CTAG – 29 years

Ray Braden – April –
Operations – 22 years

Garry Klusendorf – April –
Operations – 18 years

Kenneth Stratton – April –
Maintenance – 29 years

Edward Campbell – May –
Maintenance – 10 years

Jasbir Dhari – May –
Operations – 21 years

Norman Luyben – May –
Operations – 38 years

Shahid Bashir – June –
Operations – 16 years

Robert Gallant – June
Operations – 11 years

Rick Orr – June –
Operations – 9 years

Alex Sorensen – June –
Operations– 31 years

Cliff Strickler – June –
CTAG – 30 years

Geraldine Strickler – June –
CTAG – 25 years

Mark Tse – June –
Operations – 32 years

Charles Watch – June –
Operations – 11 years

Thank You Cards:
Nelson Dejos
Errol LaCroix
John Leese
George Leonzio
Rick Wilson
Women’s Centre

Contact Us:
Ph: (403) -258-1258
Fax: (403) 258-1355

Social Media:
-Website: atu583.com
-Facebook: ATULocal583
-Twitter: ATULocal583
-Telegram: Please text Harry Lew to be added to our Official ATU 583 Telegram Messaging Group 403-404-4564

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