Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 107

Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 107

March 09, 2012 11:03 ET

Union President Appalled at Excuses for Foot Dragging on New Hires

HAMILTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 9, 2012) - Hamilton Street Railway management ignored a consultant's report on the deteriorating state of the City's transit system, says Budh Dhillon, President of ATU Local 107. The Union represents the drivers, mechanics and support staff working for HSR.

"We have been raising the issue of unsatisfactory levels of service for at least the last eight years", says Dhillon. "HSR management continued to dismiss our concerns, until we finally negotiated a clause in our collective agreement requiring them to get serious about it." Dhillon says the collective agreement signed by the parties in 2007, required HSR to hire an outside consultant to examine the state of the transit system. HSR hired IBL Consulting Group who conducted a study in 2009. The consultants recommended an injection of an additional $30 million, just to bring the transit system to an acceptable level.

In 2010, City Council approved only $3 million for transit improvements. Dhillon states "Not only is the amount woefully inadequate, but management has not spent a penny of the $3 million until now." HSR is attempting to improve service levels at the end of this month. "But even that will only account for $1 million of the amount allocated to improve the transit system."

Bus drivers are being verbally and physically assaulted by passengers who are frustrated by the lack of adequate service, Dhillon says. HSR and the City need to explain to commuters why they have failed to approve sufficient funds to improve service levels and why the small amount approved was not spent for two years.

Don Hull, Transit Director, says HSR couldn't hire drivers fast enough to replace retiring baby boomers. Dhillon points out the impending retirements of a large part of the work force have been no secret. "HSR management has been fully aware of the need to hire new drivers," he says. "They could have been proactive in hiring new drivers, but instead, they dragged their feet and did nothing. We were down to two trainers from mid-2010 to mid-2011 because one was away on maternity leave. Had management even bothered to fill her position temporarily, badly needed drivers could have been hired and trained."

Dhillon suspects HSR management is making these public excuses because the Union has notified them it is taking the issue to arbitration. "We put HSR on notice that we want the arbitration hearing to be open to the public, so that the community is aware of this issue," says Dhillon. "Suddenly, HSR is making public excuses for their lack of action. It's appalling."

Management is accountable for the current state of the transit system, says Dhillon. Their failure to act in a timely fashion has caused a lot of hardship for employees and commuters alike. "The very least they could do, is admit they have been delinquent in dealing with this issue," says Dhillon. "Management shouldn't be making up excuses for their lack of action. They should be doing everything in their power to improve the City's vital transit system."

The Amalgamated Transit Union is the largest labour union for transit workers in North America with over 180,000 members. The ATU membership includes bus, subway, light rail and ferry operators, clerks, baggage handlers, mechanics and others in public transit, inter-city and school bus industries. Local 107 is Canada's oldest ATU local.

Contact Information

  • For more information or to schedule an interview with
    Budh Dhillon
    President, ATU Local 107
    please contact him at
    905-902-4107