Transit union negotiations – progress to date

The City and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1189 have ratified an agreement and Guelph Transit Service resumed August 8, 2014.

The following is an accurate account of the negotiation timeline. For more information about transit service visit  or get the latest updates on Facebook or Twitter.

August 5

The City and ATU Local 1189 vote to ratify a collective agreement to serve until April 2017.

July 31

After two days of negotiations, the City of Guelph and Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1189 negotiating teams reached a second tentative agreement. The agreement was subject to ratification by the ATU Local 1189 membership and Guelph City Council.

July 25

City invites union to provide counter-offer.

City shares explanation of the process to-date and why the lockout was necessary.

July 21

City of Guelph representatives met with the ATU Local 1189 executive and Guelph Police Services to agree on a picket line protocol, which includes picket line locations and rules and expectations to govern picket line conduct. The City and ATU agree to act in a respectful and responsible manner throughout the lockout.

Picketing was to be limited to three locations: City Hall, Guelph Central Station and the Guelph Transit offices.

July 20

Members of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1189 voted to reject a tentative agreement ratified by Guelph City Council and endorsed by their own union executive.

With the tentative agreement defeated, the City reinstituted the lockout originally set to begin Monday, July 14. Guelph Transit services are halted indefinitely until such time as the members of ATU Local 1189 reconsider the City’s offer.

July 14, 2014

Guelph City Council voted to ratify the tentative agreement reached with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1189.

The agreement was taken before members of ATU Local 1189 for ratification on the evening of Sunday, July 20.

July 13, 2014

City negotiators and ATU Locall 1189 executive reach a tentative agreement and the lockout is called off. Guelph Transit services continue to run uninterrupted.

July 12, 2014

City announces intention to lock out members of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1189 effective July 14 at 12:01 a.m.

July 11, 2014

Today, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1189 members voted to reject the City of Guelph’s final contract offer.

The City believes it has exhausted all traditional negotiation options and, with the support of Guelph City Council, made the difficult decision to lock out the 205 members of ATU Local 1189 and suspend traditional Guelph Transit service as of 12:01 a.m. July 14. Guelph Transit Mobility Service for pre-booked medical appointments will continue during the labour disruption.

July 7, 2014

The City of Guelph received confirmation from the Ontario Labour Relations Board that the “Notice of Taking of Vote” has been issued. The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1189 will vote on the City’s final offer on Friday, July 11 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Results from the Ministry of Labour monitored vote are expected later in the evening of July 11 and will be announced at that time.

June 26, 2014

The City of Guelph presented a final offer to ATU Local 1189, having reached an impasse after 22 days of bargaining. That final offer represents the mandate provided to staff by City Council.

Presenting the union with a final offer allows all ATU members with a stake in the negotiations to view the City’s proposal and decide whether to accept or reject it. The City has requested a provincially monitored vote, which will take place in July.

June 12, 2014

The City has met with ATU’s negotiating team on three separate occasions during the week of June 9 to 13 – on June 10 without the conciliator and on June 11 and 12 with the conciliator. Both parties have agreed to further meetings with the conciliator on June 25, 26 and 30.

June 2, 2014

A no board report dated May 30, 2014 is issued by the Ministry of Labour and received by the City.

The City and ATU 1189 are scheduled to continue negotiations. After June 16, 2014 the City could choose to lock out employees, and ATU Local 1189 could vote to strike.

May 23, 2014

Several members of the ATU 1189 bargaining team are not present for the first scheduled meeting with a conciliator. As such, the group is not able to make decisions on behalf of union members.

This action reinforces the City’s belief that the union is not prepared to negotiate towards a positive settlement at this time.

The City asks the conciliator to request a ‘no board report’ from the Ministry of Labour

Further negotiation meetings between the City, ATU 1189 and the conciliator were scheduled for June 11, 12, 25, 26 and 30.

May 19, 2014

Despite the City’s full attendance and cooperation in all meetings, ATU 1189 issues a public statement accusing the City of delaying negotiations. The facts do not support the following remarks made by ATU Officials:

  • “We feel that the City is tremendously slowing down the process of negotiation,” said Andy Cleary, president ATU Local 1189
  • “It appears to be that the Mayor and Council are looking to start a war…” said Larry Kinnear, vice-president, ATU International. “It looks like the City is preparing to shut the transit system down…”

May 13, 2014

Several members of the ATU 1189 bargaining team are not present. As such, the group is unable to make decisions on behalf of union members.

ATU 1189 asks the City’s bargaining team to wait while it finalizes three proposals to be discussed that day.

At mid-day, the remaining members of the union’s bargaining team arrive including the vice-president of ATU International. Had the City been informed of the vice-president’s plan to attend, the two parties could have received assistance from the conciliator.

The City believes ATU 1189’s actions are deliberate attempts to disrupt the agreed-upon negotiation process, and asks to reschedule all meetings until the conciliator and all members of the union’s bargaining team are available on May 23.

April 23, 2014

A conciliator is appointed.

ATU 1189 refuses to participate in negotiations involving a conciliator unless the vice-president of ATU International is present. ATU 1189 informs the City and the conciliator that the vice-president of ATU International is unable to attend the scheduled meeting on May 13.

March 27, 2014

The City asks the Ontario Ministry of Labour to appoint a conciliator to help the two parties come to an agreement. What is conciliation?

February, 2014

Negotiation meetings are scheduled for May 13, 14, 21 and 22.

October 30, 2013 to March 28, 2014

Sixteen days of negotiations have not achieved the progress the City expects.


The City is hoping to avoid any potential disruption to transit service, and will keep the community informed about the situation as negotiations continue.

The City hopes to reach an agreement that offers reasonable compensation for Guelph Transit employees, fair prices for transit users, and affordability for taxpayers.

Ongoing updates will be posted at and twitter.