Red Deer transit workers are staging a ‘practice picket’ this weekend to draw attention to the lack of progress on their contract talks.
Days after voting 99 per cent in favour of strike action in their contract dispute with the City of Red Deer, local transit workers will stage a practice strike picket at 11 Saturday at Sorenson Station.
“We are just practicing for now to send a strong message to the City that we mean business and will not stand for their continued refusal to bargain in good faith,” said Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 569, President Steve Bradshaw.
The contract between 130-plus Red Deer Transit workers and the City expired on Dec, 31, 2022, and the parties have been in negotiations, which have since stalled.
The mediator filed his report and a provincially mandated “cooling off” period is underway. This 14-day period during which no strike notice can be filed, started on Sept. 2.
The outstanding contract issues are: forcing workers into accepting part-time positions, some six-day work weeks, and wages. With inflation rates soaring and the City in a stronger financial position, the union is asking for more compensation and other improvements for members.
“If the City continues its stall tactics, we will take the necessary action to ensure our members are treated fairly,” said Bradshaw.
ATU International President John Costa said, “Our members at Red Deer Transit are the ones keeping the City of Red Deer moving… It’s time for the City of Red Deer to give these workers the fair and just contract they deserve.”