Located in Mississauga, Ontario, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1624 is a chapter of the Amalgamated Transit Union. ATU 1624 has over 300 members and proudly serves the men and women who drive for Coach Canada/Megabus in Toronto, Montreal, Kingston, Peterborough, Toronto (Mississauga), Niagara Falls, Cobourg, and the maintenance department in Mississauga.
The roots of ATU 1624 began in 1980. The voluntary recognition and certified registration of Trentway-Wagar Employees Association (TWEA) paved the way for eventual membership with the ATU. Under the guidance of influential leaders such as Calvin Rouse, Ray (Butch) Frost, and Stephen Byrne, the first TWEA collective agreements were drafted. At the time, the TWEA represented members in two districts 150 km apart: Trentway in Peterborough and Wagar in Napanee.
Autumn 1985 saw a third district added: the Mississauga Airport division, which made up of mostly Charterways employees. This addition of members in the greater Toronto area, along with the sale of the company in 1987 to Gray Coach Lines (a division of the Toronto Transit Commission) inspired members in TWEA to see association with a larger, international union.
In 1989, an amendment to the bylaws was done and a special weighted vote was held to reflect the best interest of the operators. The weighted vote was based on a complex mathematical formula that balanced the majority part-time members with the minority full-time members that included valuing the total full-time members’ vote at 51% no matter how many members voted. This event would prove to be the most significant factor of the formation of Local 1624. The motion to join the ATU was defeated when counting the ballots at face value on a one-to-one basis, but when the weighted ratio was applied, the motion was passed and a meeting was set up with the ATU. The TWEA, already a certified trade union, did not need ATU cards to advance and, shortly thereafter, the paperwork was filed and registered with the Canadian Labour Relations Board.
A year later, the transfer from the TWEA to the ATU began. The process was met with resistance, however, from some members—they challenged the validity of the weighted vote and filed a complaint with the Canada Labour Relations Board (CLRB). During this appeal process, newly elected ATU Officers could not be recognized by the company and procedures were suspended until late summer. By October, the appeal was defeated and ATU Local 1624 was formally recognized by the Canadian Government, the ATU, and the former TWEA membership. Ten chartered members were then listed as the official founding members of ATU Local 1624 and the first ATU union cards were issued to the first ten founding members back dated to April 1990. The first elected officers were Brian Jameson (President), Scott Miller (Vice President), Bill Smith (Financial Secretary/Treasurer), Marie Devlin (Recording Secretary), and John Vanderkeemel (Grievance Chairperson).
In the summer of 1993, discussions were entered between the company and Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) for the purchase of Canada Coach/Funtrek – one of Canada’s oldest coach companies. Successful negotiations between HSR’s ATU Local 107 and Local 1624 resulted in new members now in the Hamilton, Kitchener, Guelph, Niagara, and Buffalo regions.
In 1996, the company acquired the Montreal-Toronto scheduled service from Voyageur Colonial through negotiations with the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) and this added over 40 new members to ATU Local 1624.
In the late 1990’s, employees at the Mississauga maintenance facility voted to join Local 1624.
In 2005, employees operating the company’s Pearson Airport contracts also became brothers and sisters of ATU Local 1624.
And in 2009, ATU Local 1624 was incorporated.
The Amalgamated Transit Union – the largest labor union representing transit and allied workers in the U.S. and Canada – fights for the interests of its hard-working members and promotes mass transit.
Founded in 1892, the ATU today is comprised of over 190,000 members, including: metropolitan, interstate, and school bus drivers; paratransit, light rail, subway, streetcar, and ferry boat operators; mechanics and other maintenance workers; clerks, baggage handlers, municipal employees, and others. ATU can be found in 44 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and nine Canadian provinces.
The Union fights for transit workers by helping them organize local unions, negotiating collective bargaining contracts between its members and their employers, representing members in disputes with management, and making sure that employers adhere to the provisions of their collective bargaining agreement.
The Union also represents the interests of its members at all levels of government, in courts, and in legislatures. ATU is a member the AFL-CIO, and the CLC – the national labor organizations of the United States and Canada, respectively.
The Union is governed by an international president, international executive vice president, international secretary treasurer, and 18 international vice presidents who are elected every three years at the ATU’s International Convention. The 18 international vice presidents form the Union’s General Executive Board.
ATU international headquarters is located in Washington, DC. The offices of the Union’s Canadian Council are located near Ottawa, in Rexdale, ON.