Edmonton, AB – Fed up with Edmonton Transit Service’s disrespect, poor pay, and mistreatment, Dedicated Accessible Transit Service (DATS) workers, represented by ATU Local 569-Edmonton, AB, are launching a campaign to end discrimination against workers and riders.
“Edmonton Transit Service’s DATS Operators provide an essential service to our community for people who depend on DATS every day,” says Local President Steve Bradshaw. “They have been fighting for fair and equal treatment for 30 years since they followed Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi’s leadership to join our Union.”
The DATS Operators are seeking wage parity with their Conventional Transit co-workers. In a cross-Canada survey of 17 Transit properties, only 6, including Edmonton pay their paratransit workers less than their Conventional Transit workers.
“Some properties actually pay these workers a premium to reflect the added caregiver role they provide, ETS does not. Management doesn’t believe DATS riders deserve the same kind of transit system with the same kind of high-wage low-turnover workforce that non-disabled people deserve, ” says Bradshaw. “Contract negotiations have been going on for almost a year with next to no progress. We need to get something going for these workers and we do not rule out job action.”
The Union’s campaign will ask DATS Operators, their co-workers, DATS patrons, and others to sign a petition and wear a button demanding equal treatment for DATS Operators.
“Our DATS members provide a critical lifeline to riders with disabilities and seniors to get to work, the grocery store, the doctor, and other important appointments,” said ATU International President John Costa. “Management doesn’t value their DATS workers and riders as much as their other workers and riders, that’s discrimination. It’s time for ETS to put a contract on the table with equal pay that recognizes these workers for their service to our community and provides DATS’ clients with the safe and reliable transportation they deserve.”