After 44 days, most transit strikes in Canada would be resolved by now, but OC Transpo employees would have to stay on the picket lines for another seven months to challenge Quebec City for the longest transit strike ever in Canada.
That mark was set back in 1979, when bus drivers in Quebec walked off the job in February and didn’t return until November. Since then, Quebec City has had two more short transit strikes — one week in 1998 and 11 days in 2004.
In 2001, several transit unions spent long stretches on the picket lines.
In Vancouver, transit employees were out for 128 days between April 1 and Aug. 7 over wages and part-time workers.
Calgary transit workers were on strike for 50 days over wages and the growth of lower-paying community shuttle jobs.
According to the Canadian Urban Transit Association, transit employees in Whitehorse (46 days), Cape Breton (41 days) and Victoria (14) were also on strike during 2001.
Edmonton transit workers have managed to avoid going on strike since 1982 when they were out for 42 days.
Daniel Revega, vice-president for maintenance of ATU Local 569 in Edmonton, said the main issues in that strike were wages and hiring part-time workers.
You’d have to go back to 1970 to find a long strike in Toronto, when service was shut down for 42 days, starting May 28. Toronto had a 23-day strike in August 1974 and strikes in 1978, 1991, 1999 and finally last year, when the strike only lasted a few days.
Montreal’s longest strike was 43 days in 1974 when transit workers were on the picket line from Aug. 7 until Sept. 19. Most recently, they had a four-day strike beginning on May 22, 2007.