With the offer of binding arbitration by the union and the refusal by the city to go that route, it is easy to see that this transit issue could take a while to sort out.  Reports from the negotiating team indicate the city position is that they can wait till Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, neither option is something that appeals to me.

Because of the entrenched positions, and the obvious willingness of the Union to accept arbitration I have come up with a potential solution.

  1. Return the drivers to work immediately.
  2. Take the handshake deal and the April city offer.
  3. Use those combined deals as a starting point for a binding arbitration that meets at approx half way between the two.
  4. Then two union members and two COUNCIL MEMBERS (no more negotiating team) sit down with the arbitrator and a finance person to hammer out a deal that looks at the cost per driver.
  5. The final deal would be binding as long as the total cost per driver is half way between the two deals.
  6. Add to that perhaps that the empty mechanics slots be filled with qualified temps until they new ones can be hired (cap time of 6 months max)

I would even personally sit as the arbitrator for this deal. It is well known that I support the unions position, however I also have expressed interest in taking the position currently of managing Codiac Transpo when it becomes vacant, for the express reason that I feel there is a serious need for someone who is serious about improve the route structure currently in place to make it more efficient for riders and therefore more appealing to those who are looking to move to a greener form of transportation but are turned off by the inefficiencies involved in the present routes.

My first suggestion for dealing with this contract would be that we sit down and completely cost out item by item both starting points so we know how the deals look. We cost them out on a per employee basis and then find the center point between the two deals and identify that position (and 5% on either side) as the target end point for a binding agreement.

Next we compare the deals and find all common ground and consider them as settled.  The remaining items will be discussed each individually with the aim of finding a center point or trading off various positions until we reach a position that is best acceptable to both sides while still staying within the framework of the binding central area between the two deals.

Hopefully this particular technique can be used to make an effective deal that would allow both the union and the city to save face and position, reinvigorate the transit and start the process of improving relations between the city and the union.

It should also be noted, if we were to do this starting tomorrow we would still need to offer free transit till probably the middle of August to all riders and to the end of August for all Pass Holders.  We need to start the process of rebuilding trust with the ridership itself and that needs to start sooner rather then later. Now is the best and most optimum time.