100 jobs saved after city halts privatization of bus cleaning staff

EDMONTON –

The City of Edmonton has decided to keep transit cleaning and refuelling services employees in-house, saving more than 100 jobs from being contracted out.

The city and Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 569 announced in a joint statement Thursday that the requests for proposals (RFP) to privatize the positions would not proceed. According to the city, it managed to find “other ways to accomplish the same budget savings.”

“The City has decided not to move forward with a contract for bus cleaning and refuelling,” the statement read. “Transit Fleet Maintenance employees will continue to do this important work.

“The City recognizes that staff have shown their value again and again,” it added. “This RFP has undoubtedly caused a lot of tension within the workplace, and a lot of personal stress for those of you who may have been impacted.”

Signed by City Manager Andre Corbould and Steve Bradshaw, ATU Local 569 president, the statement said that both parties hope that “a culture where everyone feels secure and respected” can be rebuilt.

The city first proposed privatizing the positions last December during budget deliberations to help save $1.2 million by completing a review of transit cleaning processes “to identify efficiencies.”

Last summer, the ATU held rallies and collected a 1,500 photo petition to challenge the city’s decision. 

“I am very, very proud of our membership for standing up and standing proud and together. They did the job,” Bradshaw told CTV News.

“The cancelling of the requests for proposals and the idea of contracting out that work is a win-win for everybody,” he added. “It’s good for the city, good for the workers, good for the union.”

The city is still in the process of ratifying a new collective agreement with transit workers that expired last year. Bradshaw said the last offer the city brought to workers was voted down by a 93 per cent margin.

“The membership turned it down, rejected that,” Bradshaw said. “Going forward we are looking to getting back to the table and starting to hammer out a deal. We can get one fairly quickly, we just have to be prepared to do a little negotiating.”

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