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Support and Solidarity for Transit Workers

Unifor and Coast Mountain Bus Company reach tentative agreement


VANCOUVER—Unifor Local 111 and 2200 have reached a tentative agreement with Coast Mountain Bus Company, ending a 26-day strike by nearly 5,000 transit workers.

“Transit workers stood up for one another and fought hard to get a fair contract,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Total service disruption was a last resort, so our members are relieved that they can return to serving the public.”

The tentative agreement, reached at 12:30 a.m., will avoid a three-day strike action during which no busses would have been on the road. Unifor members will report to work for their normal shifts on Wednesday. Details of the agreement will be made available following ratification votes happening in the coming days.

“This contract recognizes that Unifor members are the backbone of the Metro Vancouver transit system,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Western Regional Director and lead negotiator. “We look forward to being an integral part of an expanding system that keeps this region moving."

Transit strike to escalate to system stoppage


VANCOUVER—Unless progress can be made in contract talks between TransLink’s Coast Mountain Bus Company and Unifor, a three-day system-wide work stoppage will commence at Wednesday, November 27, 2019.

“Transit workers have been more than patient with TransLink but continued disrespect for our members has left them little choice but to escalate job action,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “We had hoped that overtime bans would demonstrate how essential transit workers are to the province’s most populous region, but TransLink has failed to offer a contract that matches the contribution of our members.”

If a fair deal is not achieved, members of Unifor Locals 111 and 2200 will be on picket lines during November 27, 28, and 29. Transit workers will return to their full shifts on November 30 and continue providing service.

“Transit workers take pride in serving the public. This dispute can end tomorrow if the employer stops playing games,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director and lead negotiator during the talks. “Unifor members have given TransLink every opportunity to avoid a system-wide shut-down.”

Unifor is encouraging transit passengers to vent their frustration with TransLink at a rally scheduled for 1 p.m. on November 28 at the TransLink offices. The action coincides with a TransLink Mayors’ Council meeting at the offices.

“TransLink’s poor treatment of workers is having an impact on the broader commuting public. Passengers can help end this dispute by increasing the pressure on TransLink to get back to the bargaining table with a new mandate,” said McGarrigle. “Transit workers and mayors both support expansion, but to accomplish a system expansion that doesn’t leave workers behind, the mayors need reign in TransLink and restore accountability to the system.”

There are no talks scheduled between CMBC and Unifor.

Unifor calls on Coast Mountain to negotiate to end the transit strike


Unifor will return to the bargaining table to negotiate in good faith with Coast Mountain Bus Company, but warns that more inaction from the employer will cause further transit disruptions by the end of the week.

“We’ve been bargaining for months. Transit workers in Metro Vancouver have been very patient with the employer,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “But ultimately our members have a legal right to withdraw their services if the disrespect from Translink and CMBC continues and a contract cannot be achieved through bargaining alone.”

Unifor bargained for 29 non-consecutive days before the members of Unifor Locals 111 and 2200 began legal strike action on November 1. At issue are working conditions, benefits, and wages.

Since the dispute began, nearly 100 Seabus sailings have been cancelled and the impacts of an overtime ban in maintenance have begun to impact bus routes across the region.

But Unifor says escalation is assured if the employer cannot bring new offers to the negotiations. Unifor announced a one-day overtime ban for transit operators on Friday, November 15, with consideration of additional overtime bans next week.

“Inaction by Translink will result in new job action on Friday,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director. “We are prepared to work very hard to reach a fair agreement and sincerely hope the company is not playing games when it asks us to return to the table.”

Contract talks break off with Coast Mountain Bus Company


Coast Mountain Bus Company’s refusal to make any significant offers over the last 48 hours have forced Unifor Locals 111 and 2200 negotiators to call off talks.

“We have not had a serious offer from the company since we served strike notice,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “In other words, the company feels very comfortable with system-wide job action.”

Unifor negotiators say that there has been no progress on working conditions, benefits, or wages—contrary to a statement issued on Thursday by Coast Mountain Bus Company president Michael McDaniel.

“I don’t know what contract talks Mr. McDaniel is following, but the employer has made virtually no movement this week on the issues that have got us to a 99% strike mandate,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director. “Transit workers are very disheartened and Metro Vancouver’s passengers should be disappointed in CMBC’s unwillingness to find a solution.”

McGarrigle says that, without progress on breaks for operators and consideration of parity with similar workers in Canada and Translink’s own system, nearly 5,000 members will escalate job action in the coming weeks.

There are no further talks scheduled. A uniform and overtime ban will commence at 8 a.m. on November 1.