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Windsor city council endorses new deal with Transit Windsor workers

Transit Windsor riders board a bus at the downtown Windsor terminal. (CBC News - image credit)
Transit Windsor riders board a bus at the downtown Windsor terminal. (CBC News - image credit)

After weeks of being on the brink of strike action, Transit Windsor bus drivers and other workers have a new contract with the City of Windsor.

City council and the transit board endorsed the deal on Monday, following a ratification vote by union members on Sunday.

Mark Winterton, the city's acting commissioner of infrastructure services, said he's happy the issue has come to a satisfactory agreement.

"Providing this essential service is a top priority for the City of Windsor, and we are pleased that the bargaining units were able to reach an agreement without any disruption to transit operations," Winterton stated in a news release.

A sticker for the Amalgamated Transit Union on a Transit Windsor bus.
A sticker for the Amalgamated Transit Union on a Transit Windsor bus.

A sticker for the Amalgamated Transit Union on a Transit Windsor bus. (CBC News)

The municipality is not releasing details of the deal at this time.

But representatives of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 616 have said the agreement secures improvements in wages, benefits, and working conditions.

The 300 or so members of Local 616 voted 90 per cent in favour of the deal on Sunday.

A key issue in the negotiations was how to treat 10 paid sick days mandated by the federal government for transit workers.

The union maintains that the federal regulation applies to Transit Windsor workers due to the buses crossing an international border: The tunnel bus operates seven days a week.

According to ATU, the City of Windsor sought to cover the cost of those days by reduction of employee wages.

ATU international vice-president Manny Sforza was unavailable for comment on Monday.

A Transit Windsor rider prepares to board a bus at the downtown Windsor terminal.
A Transit Windsor rider prepares to board a bus at the downtown Windsor terminal.

A Transit Windsor rider prepares to board a bus at the downtown Windsor terminal. (CBC News)

The contract is set to last until the end of 2027.

A tentative agreement was reached on Feb. 4 just hours before a strike deadline.

Dragan Markovic, president of ATU Local 616, issued a statement at the time: "We want the public to know that we take great pride in serving our communities and we are extremely grateful to the riders and the public for their patience and support over the past few months of negotiations."

A woman and a child prepare to board a Transit Windsor bus.
A woman and a child prepare to board a Transit Windsor bus.

A woman and a child prepare to board a Transit Windsor bus. (CBC News)