Mayor Peter Kelly says a critical agreement on rostering was changed after the union president and Metro Transit director shook hands on it – but says the union president knew about, and agreed to, the changes.

A document provided to News 95.7 shows Amalgamated Transit Union Local 508 president Ken Wilson and Metro Transit director Eddie Robar agreed to a deal that stipulated a union rep would work with the employer to find “mutually agreed upon” parameters to deal with the contentious issue of rostering.

The document is dated Feb. 22 and is initialled by both Robar and Wilson.

“I reviewed the language,” said Wilson. “The language said ‘discussed’ in the parameters around rostering. I said ‘Eddie, that’s not acceptable, it’s going to have to be ‘mutually agreed upon’ if you want me to bring it back to the membership.’ He scratched out ‘discussed’ and wrote in ‘mutually agreeable’. He initialled it and I initialled it.”

However, it is not the rostering agreement presented to council and the union membership for a vote. Wilson claims he wasn’t told about the changes until 3 a.m. Feb. 23 after a “blackout” on communication to the media, regional council and his membership had been imposed.

But Kelly says Wilson knew about the changes and agreed to them.  

“Yes, there was a change. Yes, he was aware and yes, it was all known at the onset,” Kelly told News 95.7 Thursday evening. “Maybe there was some element of confusion for Mr. Wilson. But certainly for us it was clear, there were concerns raised and it was expressed to them.”

Kelly says the city’s bargaining unit reviewed the offer agreed on by Robar and Wilson, and called Wilson on Feb. 22 to discuss the alternate proposal, which included three options for the scheduling issue, and nothing about having the two sides mutually agree on solution.

“Our bargaining team contacted Mr. Wilson and advised him that that is an element of concern and wouldn’t bring a conclusion,” said Kelly. “Mr. Wilson was aware and he agreed to the language and that would not be part of the MOU. So he was fully aware that was a concern that would need to be changed.”

Kelly says Wilson only raised a concern the next day, on Feb. 23, about the timeframe of the agreement – not the language.

The union voted on the revised document on Feb. 24. Seventy-eight per cent of the voting members rejected the offer.