By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario – Being late for the bus may not be an issue soon - because the bus might be late for you.
A strike is looming with local bus drivers, unless an agreement can be made with the city about their contract demands by Sept. 30.
The union representing Cornwall Transit workers have laid an offer on the table and are giving the city until Sept. 30 to make a decision before they strike.
On Sept. 8, city transit drivers, who are represented by the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 946, voted overwhelmingly in favour of job action up to and including a strike.
Vice-president of ATU International Larry Kinnear said that Cornwall Transit operators are paid the lowest rate in Ontario.
"They do not have paid sick days from the first day of illness, or compensation for not receiving scheduled breaks like those of other public employees in the City of Cornwall," said Kinnear, who wants those provisions built into a future agreement.
Kinnear said Cornwall transit drivers receive the least amount of pay per hour in contrast to over a dozen transit unions he represents.
"I think city council has made a reasonable mandate in the aspect of wages, in offering a two per cent increase, the logic does not filter down to the employers' negotiating team," he said. "We've always had a reasonable relationship with council, but this time they have decided to bring in personnel from Ottawa to bargain on their behalf."
Kinnear said it’s been difficult to find common ground with the city.
"We're trying to make a reasonable proposal but it fell on deaf ears," said the union vice-president. Kinnear voiced that city drivers have their riders in mind and are hoping for their demands to be met. Cornwall Transit manager Len Tapp was unavailable for comment.