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Transit Windsor and its union ratify new collective agreement with wage hikes, benefit improvements

The ballot box used during the ratification vote on Feb. 11, 2024, which saw 90 per cent of the voting membership for Transit Windsor approve the tentative agreement reached one week prior between the union and City of Windsor. (Sanjay Maru/CTV News Windsor) The ballot box used during the ratification vote on Feb. 11, 2024, which saw 90 per cent of the voting membership for Transit Windsor approve the tentative agreement reached one week prior between the union and City of Windsor. (Sanjay Maru/CTV News Windsor)
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Transit Windsor workers have ratified a new collective agreement which includes wage increases and improvements to benefits, according to their union.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 616 reached a tentative deal with the City of Windsor on Feb. 4, about three hours before Transit Windsor workers were set to begin strike action.

ATU Local 616 members met Sunday to ratify the agreement. The deal, which expires at the end of 2027, was approved by 90 per cent of the voting membership.

"It's very rewarding. It was a long battle, probably longer than it needed to be. But we got there," said ATU international vice president Manny Sforza.

The two biggest improvements in this contract, according to Sforza, are increases to benefits and wages.

"I don't want to get into the exact numbers since there may have been some members who didn't attend today. But they're good wages," said Sforza. "When it comes to wages, Windsor has set the bar for the province."

A major sticking point in negotiations between Transit Windsor and the union were the federally-mandated 10 paid sick days for workers.

Despite those 10 paid sick days being accounted for in Windsor's 2024 budget, Sforza previously said the city was expecting transit workers to bear the costs of these sick days.

"Why they were coming after ATU at the bargaining table to offset the cost was rather confusing. But we pushed back on that and made great strides," Sforza said Sunday.

ATU Local 616 represents almost 300 members, including operators, customer service, administration, maintenance and skilled trades, providing transit throughout Windsor and Essex County — along with tunnel bus service to Detroit.

Windsor city council, along with the board of directors for Transit Windsor, endorsed the deal Monday.

“After a lot of hard work by the negotiating committee, we’re very happy to have come to a satisfactory collective agreement,” said the city's acting commissioner of infrastructure services Mark Winterton.

“Providing this essential service is a top priority for the City of Windsor, and we are pleased that the bargaining units were able to reach an agreement without any disruption to transit operations.”

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