Ottawa in deep freeze (not the political kind) and without transit service

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

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Ottawa transit pickets (courtesy CBC)The wonderful citizens of Ottawa, the coldest capital city in the world, got to experience what life is like without transit service yesterday as talks failed and 2,200 workers hit the picket line.

Having lived through a lengthy, bitter and needless labour dispute in the City of Vancouver last summer, I do sympathize with both city officials and the unionized workers who have no pay cheques heading into the Christmas holidays. [Disclaimer: My dad has been a union man for over 35 years]

It would appear that city council is trying everything to get the workers back to work. However, even a motion to declare public transit an essential service didn't cut the mustard. So we're into day two and the gridlock on Ottawa streets continues.

If you live in Ottawa, you must think this is a perfect storm (excuse the pun). Parliament is in chaos. The streets are in chaos. Economy is in collapse. And it's freakin 30 below outside, and winter hasn't even started officially yet.

According to CBC News, "Andre Cornellier, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union local that represents the striking workers, said Wednesday that the main bargaining issue is a move by the city to take away senior drivers' right to choose their own shifts. They city says it is trying to stop scheduling practices that rack up unnecessary overtime costs."

This dispute sounds like it could go a while...ugh! For more on this story, check out CBC Online:

http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2008/12/09/transit-strike.html

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