Approximately 130 unionized (ATU) transit workers are employed by The City of Red Deer, including transit drivers, dispatch, and maintenance workers.
City of Red Deer and ATU Bargaining
The City is working with the ATU to finalize the terms of arbitration and to select an arbitrator; a hearing will then be scheduled.
The current contract between the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 569 and The City of Red Deer expired on December 31, 2022. Since early 2023, The City of Red Deer and ATU have been negotiating a new collective agreement.
Collective bargaining is a process where an employer and a union, in this case ATU, negotiate a collective agreement for a bargaining unit.
A collective agreement is the contract between the employer (The City of Red Deer) and the union (ATU) that set the terms and conditions of employment, such as pay and leave, for employees in that bargaining unit, in this circumstance, ATU employees working for Red Deer transit.
The following steps are a general overview of the negotiating and bargaining process. These are the steps also underway between The City of Red Deer and ATU.
Step 1: Collective Bargaining:
The employer and union seek to negotiate a mutually satisfactory collective agreement between the parties.
Step 2: Mediation:
If parties cannot successfully negotiate a collective agreement either or both parties may file for mediation. It begins, following the Labour Relation's Board appointment of a mediator. The mediator works with the parties to try and reach a settlement. If the mediator is unable to get the parties to a mutually agreeable settlement, they may either write recommended terms of settlement for the parties to consider or cease mediation and report such to the Director of Mediation Services.
Step 3: Cooling Off:
If mediation is not successful, it is followed by a 14 day provincially mandated cooling off period. An official strike vote cannot occur until the cooling off period has finished.
Step 4A1: Strike Vote / Lockout Poll:
An application to the Board to supervise a strike vote can be brought during the 14-day cooling off period, but the actual strike vote cannot occur until after the expiry of the 14-day cooling off period. To succeed, a simple majority of the employees who vote must vote in support of strike. To lockout, the employer must complete a lockout poll and submit an application to the Board which includes a ballot of the employer in favour of taking lockout action. A legal strike or lockout mandate can be exercised anytime in a 120-day period following the declaration of the Labour Relations Board that the procedures of the Code have been satisfied.
Step 4A2: 72 Hours’ Notice:
One party must serve the other (as well as the mediator) with 72 hours’ notice before a strike or lockout begins.
Step 4B: Voluntary Interest Arbitration (option):
If a collective agreement cannot be achieved through negotiations, with or without the assistance of a mediator, Voluntary Interest Arbitration can be considered. This option is available at any time during the collective bargaining negotiation process but must be agreed to by both parties. The arbitration decision is binding.
Right now, we are unsure when a new collective agreement might be ratified. The City of Red Deer and ATU completed eight days of bargaining and one day of mediation. The City received notice on Friday, September 1, 2023, of ATU’s decision to cease mediation, triggering a provincially mandated 14 day “cooling off” period. The City of Red Deer and ATU have now moved to voluntary third-party interest arbitration as part of the current collective bargaining process, and The City is working with the ATU to finalize the terms of arbitration and to select an arbitrator; a hearing will then be scheduled.
The City of Red Deer will continue to update customers and citizens as we are able. Information will be posted to The City’s website at www.reddeer.ca.
More information about bargaining, strikes and lockouts can be found on the Alberta Labour Relations Board website at www.alrb.gov.ab.ca.
More information about the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 569 can be found at www.atu569.ca.
- September 29, 2023 - News Release: The City of Red Deer and ATU Local 569 move to arbitration