A repeat of the disastrous 2008-2009 transit strike can be avoided, said the new head of Ottawa’s interim transit commission.
“It’s about setting a new course, a new tone, said Coun. Diane Deans shortly after her appointment yesterday. “I understand morale is low.”
Deans said she has experience working with unions and added her election campaign was endorsed by the Ottawa and District Labour Council.
“It starts with respect on both sides,” she said when asked how she would tackle relations with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), Local 279.
ATU, Local 279 acting president Mike Aldrich said contract talks slated to begin today would not go ahead unless the city made changes to its negotiating team, CBC news reported earlier this week. Aldrich did not respond to requests for comment.
Lise Marquis, of Greely, said she only recently started riding OC Transpo.
“A strike would suck. I’d have to drive and pay $200 a month for parking.”
OC rider Ahmed Fadil said the last strike forced him to drive his three children to school and meant a daily two-hour commute.
“It was hell, for me,” he said of the 52-day ordeal.