So you might think that the reluctant LRB ruling both the transit lockout and the pension bylaw illegal would have provided the Saskatoon civic administration with a great opportunity to rethink their whole strategy with this labour dispute, and come up with something that would work better.
But you would be wrong!
The city strategy of trying to starve the bus drivers into an agreement was never going to work, and now it is in tatters -- the drivers know they will eventually get their back pay for the 27 days the strike has lasted so far. But the union was so happy about the LRB ruling, that the drivers would have cheerfully gone back to work without an agreement, and they would not have dared to go on strike.
So the city could have jumped at the opportunity to get everyone on board with the obvious way to end this dispute -- the same pension changes as everyone else, a slightly higher percentage increase than the rest of the city unions got, but with a longer contract to justify the difference. There, done!
Clearly, the city was in the wrong with this lockout, and that what the LRB ruled, but the powers that be in the city administration just couldn't accept "losing".
They doubled down
by immediately issuing a new lockout notice to the transit union.
“My first thought is ‘Oh my goodness, they’re going to do this to the citizens of Saskatoon again,’ ” ATU local 615 president Jim Yakubowski told reporters outside City Hall Saturday morning. “They don’t deserve that, nor do our members deserve this.” And the people are furious:
I am profoundly disappointed in @cityofsaskatoon
. They missed an opportunity to fix this mess: http://t.co/0021cbEILX #yxetransit #yxecc
— Tracey Mitchell (@TMitchSK) October 18, 2014
The City of Saskatoon's actions toward their employees and citizens have reached indefensible levels. I am ashamed. #yxe #yxetransit
— Paul Thompson (@paulbthompson) October 18, 2014#yxecc
, the students at #uSask
deserve much better leadership from you. This has cost #yxe
enough. End this nonsense. #yxetransit
— USSU Executive (@USSUExec) October 18, 2014@cityofsaskatoon
have issued another lockout on #yxetransit
, this isn't leadership. It's politics at the expense of the people.
— Jordan Sherbino (@JordanSherbino) October 18, 2014
I don't know how this will end now, but it isn't going to be pretty.