Posted by: trashee | January 5, 2009

OC Transpo workers to vote on latest contract offer on Thursday!

So, on Thursday the ATU 279 members are going to vote on the City of Ottawa’s latest contract offerThe union president is telling the members, in his words, not to “bow down” to the City and accept the offer.

I’m thinking that many of the members will dutifully show solidarity with the President and the executive at a rally to be held today.  No one wants to publicly break ranks for fears of retaliation down the line. Any group, and especially those in organized labour, can be very threatening to some of its members and most are reluctant to express an opinion that is contrary to the “party line.  But, in a secret ballot vote, anonymity is preserved and the individual can express their desire with no fear of retribution.

I do truly believe that the vast majority of the members are sensible people who did not vote for a strike with the intention of actually going out on strike… they were told – and they believed – that such a vote was merely a bargaining chip that was part of the negotiating process.  Even if they did truly vote to actually walk off the job, surely only a few of the hard-core members were willing at the time to accept over a month without pay. And over the holiday season to boot!

I do believe there is a role for unions in the 21st century and I say again that the drivers, mechanics, etc., are good folks who really do want to be back on the job.  Let’s hope that the results of Thursday’s vote validates my optimism!



  1. I think the important lesson is in the fact that the 300 poeple who originally did vote, voted for the strike. The lesson is to the 1800 people who DID NOT vote: your apathy earned you a strike, so I hope it’s what you wanted.

    The price of not voting is that there is no chance for your voice to be heard.

    This is slightly different than our electoral system where your voice is most often heard and ignored.

    • This is slightly different than our electoral system where your voice is most often heard and ignored.


      However, is not the 1800 who didn’t vote reflective of the citizenry as a whole? A participation rate of 54% in the last municipal election in Ottawa shows a general disinterest in participatory democracy at the level where it really counts! This is the level that is closest to the people and we STILL don’t give a crap?

      As the saying goes – the electorate gets the government that it deserves…

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