Union says 110 Calgary Transit workers will lose jobs with outsourcing of vehicle cleaning

CALGARY — Amalgamated Transit Union Local 583 says more than 100 Calgary Transit positions will be terminated this fall as a direct result of the decision to award a vehicle cleaning contract to a private company.

According to the union, the outsourcing of the cleaning of Calgary Transit buses and CTrains will come into effect on Aug. 31 and lead to the loss of 110 maintenance jobs in mid-October.

“Is this how we thank our transit workers,” asked ATA Local 583 president Mike Mahar in a statement released Tuesday. “The City of Calgary is showing how ungrateful they are to the hard-working people who went over and above putting themselves in harm’s way — keeping our riders safe.

“It’s a slap in the face to them.”

Mahar adds that the company who won the contract has “a terrible track record with thousands of registered complaints about dirty, contaminated bus shelters and stations.

Stephen Tauro, a Calgary Transit spokesperson, says the decision to outsource will result in significant savings while the organization faces economic challenges.

“After extensive review, Calgary Transit identified their Service Lane as an area where a cost savings of $4 million could be achieved through the use of external contractors,” said Tauro in a statement to CTV News. “As part of our customer commitment, the cleanliness of our system and vehicles remains one of our top priorities and we are confident that this change will not negatively impact service quality.

“This was a difficult decision as there are impacts to our Calgary Transit family. This business decision is not based on the quality of work of our employees but the financial realities resulting from COVID-19.”

Calgary Transit removed its temporary seating restrictions on buses and CTrains in mid-August, allowing vehicles to operate with full capacity.

In May, Calgary Transit laid off 430 workers and suspended a number of routes in response to a drastic decline in ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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