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Viva members ratify deal by 77%

Thursday, Jan 26

The longest-ever strike by Local 113 members ended today with a ratification of the recently-negotiated settlement. Viva workers had previously rejected the company’s “final offer” in a labour board-supervised vote on January 17. The parties returned to the bargaining table a few days later and hammered out a compromise that addressed the major issue of the cost of health care benefits. The company will now pay 75 per cent of the current premiums for the benefits plan. Wage increases will total 10.8 per cent over the life of the four-year agreement. The new settlement also includes improvements in a number of areas of working conditions.

“We stood up for our rights and we won,” Bob Kinnear told a crowded room of Viva workers who awaited the results of the vote. Kinnear blamed York Regional Chairman Bill Fisch for the long strike, reminding the media that Fisch had spurned the union’s offer to end the strike in its second week by referring the dispute to operation.

Click here to see Kinnear’s media statement.

An hour after the Viva announcement, ATU Local 1587 reached a tentative settlement with Miller Transit. If the settlement is ratified, the York Region transit strike will be officially over. Still outstanding, however, is the fate of the 92 member of Local 1587 who were employed by First Student. York Region prematurely cancelled the First contract on January 16, in an attempt to influence the Viva vote the next day. That ploy was unsuccessful. The union is demanding that the successor contractor hire the displaced First Student workers.