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December 09, 2008

Transit union threatens school board over school bus plan

Here's another one for the "What is the transit union thinking?" file. The Ottawa Citizen reports (emphasis ours):
Ottawa’s school boards had planned to enlist yellow school buses to help bring students who rely on public transit to school in the event of an OC Transpo strike.

But the plan organized by a transportation consortium that represents all four school boards had to be abandoned when the companies that operate the yellow buses balked because the OC Transpo drivers’ union could not guarantee striking members would refrain from picketing schools and places where students would wait for yellow buses.

Roxanne Deevey, a spokeswoman for the French-language Catholic school board, said the consortium tried and failed to get a letter from the union with assurances that striking drivers would not interfere with yellow buses. A court injunction with the same intent also failed.

“Basically, our hands are tied,” she said. “The union said we could only use the yellow buses we normally use.”

All the boards say school will remain open, but students are responsible for finding their own ways to school.


Meanwhile, the consortium is continuing in its negotiations with the union in the hopes of getting some kind of agreement, said Ms. Deevey.

All the boards say the safety of students, staff and yellow bus drivers is a top priority.

Andrée Myette, a spokeswoman for the French-language public school board, said 4,000 students at her board rely on OC Transpo buses.

“We don’t want to risk the safety of our students,” she said.

Related: Ottawa OC Transpo Guide


  1. That's very, very sad

  2. I can't believe we've let OC Transpo hold this city hostage in the middle of winter year after year after year.

    I think the highest levels of authority should step in here and make sure that any negotiations with unions that could seriously disrupt societal order are not scheduled during times of crucial need.

    OC Transpo should be forced to change their negotiation dates to the summer so people could at least walk or cycle to work and so that this doesn't effect all of the schools. I wonder how many university students are going to miss their exams due to this fiasco.

    I blame both sides for getting us into this pathetic mess.


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