The citizens of Ottawa are eagerly awaiting the results of a vote by the transit union on the City's latest offer now that Minister Ambrose has ruled it must take place before January 9th.
Ms. Ambrose is quoted as saying, "I am concerned about the impacts that this work stoppage is having on the travelling public who have no other readily available mode of transport, particularly the elderly and people who are dependent on this service."
Mayor Larry was ecstatic the rank and file union members will now have the opportunity to vote on his latest offer. However, if past experience with these types of forced votes is any indicator, Mayor Larry may be suffering from a case of premature reconciliation.
I hate to burst everyone's bubble in Ottawa, but there is a good likelihood that the union members will reject the City's offer and support their leadership who have asked them the vote no. Union leaders rarely take their brothers and sisters on the picket line unless there is support for the cause. Remember, these folks are politicians, they need to get re-elected by the union membership.
If the vote does fail, it sets the stage for what could be Ottawa's longest transit strike in history. The strike started about a month ago and has been quite acrimonious.
The City of Ottawa like everywhere else will return from the holiday break on Monday. Schools will be re-opened and children will also be heading back to class. This means thousands more vehicles will be hitting the road and Ottawa will likely return to the traffic chaos they experienced before the holidays. I'm heading back there again this week, so I should be able to provide a "live" report.
Ambrose did encourage Mayor Larry to get back to the bargaining table and settle this strike. In response he said "I think now that the vote is on the table, there will be no bargaining." Let's hope this strike is over before the tulips pop up in the spring.