The Fountain Pen, Guelph's On-Line News

Get the Buses Rolling

Web posted on July 26, 2014

scribbled notes from the editor

So. For the first time in Guelph's history, the city government has locked out transit workers. No buses are running in the city right now, which is negatively impacting a large number of people. People who need to get to work. People who need to go to medical appointments. People who need to go to school. People who need to buy their groceries. People who need to take their kids to daycare.

People like me. I don't own a car, and have used Guelph Transit for over a decade now.

Now, I'm fortunate in that I can walk to get most of what I'll need to get me through this period of extreme inconvenience. Anything not within a simple walk will be ordered online or done without for now. I feel badly that the local shops I usually frequent will be without my dollars -- sorry, can't be helped right now. Talk to those who have the transit door keys in their grubby little hands.

We, in the media, are getting one story from city government sources, and a different story from ATU Local 1189. From my previous experiences with union negotiations, this doesn't surprise me in the least. Honestly, I don't care what they say: I care what the negotiation papers contain, or don't contain. Give me the facts, and skip the rhetoric, thank you very much. And while you're at it, keep the discussion points limited to what the collective bargaining contract actually covers: do your internal labour/management bickering once the buses are running.

A press release received by The Fountain Pen on Thursday, July 24, from ATU 1189 President Andrew Cleary, included the following doom-laden sentence, "The lockout will most likely last until the new councillors take their seats in November." Now, honestly, I think this is scare-mongering.

Can anyone with any sense at all see the city keeping those doors locked when the University of Guelph students return? Give up that lucrative guaranteed pile of cash coming in September? The city will already be losing half the money received for July bus passes due to refunds, and losing more money they've budgeted on having each and every day the lockout continues.

Some other people seem to be thinking that the union is getting ready to strike come the beginning of September, to force the hand of the city. Honestly, I don't see this happening.

Frankly, I see this getting resolved sometime during the last week or so of August. At least, I certainly hope so. If it extends into September I'll be surprised - and disheartened because the citizens of Guelph deserve better. Something tells me that if this lockout lasts very long at all, the citizens will hold their city councillors to account for it come October 27, 2014.

It's time for you to let your duly elected representatives know how you feel about this issue. Find your ward on the list below, and click on the names to bring up an e-mail window. Don't forget to include the mayor, I'm sure she loves getting mail from the citizens who elected her. It's that simple. Click here for a ward map of Guelph, if you're unsure which ward you are in.

Mayor Mayor Karen Farbridge
Ward 1 Councillor Jim J. Furfaro
Councillor Bob Bell
Ward 2 Councillor Ian Findlay
Councillor Andy Van Hellemond
Ward 3 Councillor Maggie Laidlaw
Councillor June Hofland
Ward 4 Councillor Gloria Kovach
Councillor Cam Guthrie
Ward 5 Councillor Lise Burcher
Councillor Leanne Piper
Ward 6 Councillor Todd Dennis
Councillor Karl Wettstein

The longer this nonsense continues, the more damage our city will experience. Our reputation as a city that cares about its' citizens will be under scrutiny.

Come on people, let's get this fixed.