This is how much SkyTrain workers are currently paid

Dec 9 2019, 5:44 pm

Once again, for the second time in weeks, Metro Vancouver residents are bracing for severe service disruptions to the region’s public transit system due to labour action.

This time, it is a potential three-day shutdown of SkyTrain’s Expo Line and Millennium Line, from 5 am Tuesday to 5 am Friday. The Canada Line is unaffected by this particular labour dispute.

At the time of writing, CUPE 7000 — the union representing 900 workers on the Expo and Millennium lines — and TransLink subsidiary BC Rapid Transit Company (BCRTC) are still at the bargaining table and expected to continue negotiations through the night in a bid to avert the strike and find a compromise.

Bus and SeaBus workers under Unifor and their employer reached a deal at approximately 12:30 am on November 27, avoiding a shutdown of services. It is possible this 11th-hour scenario could repeat itself again for SkyTrain late tonight or during the early morning hours of Tuesday.

The last time there was a SkyTrain strike due to a labour dispute was more than 20 years ago. It lasted for a single day.

CUPE 7000’s contract with BCRTC expired on August 31 of this year, and on November 21 its members cast a 96.8% strike vote.

Last Friday, just a day after Unifor’s members ratified their agreement, CUPE 7000 provided the employer with a 72-hour strike notice. And on Saturday, the union announced its plans to stage a service shutdown starting on Tuesday.

CUPE 7000’s precise wage and benefit demands are not known, but they previously stated the dispute centres on “wages, forced overtime, staffing levels, and trades adjustment language.” BCRTC’s counteroffer has not been made public either.

While SkyTrain attendants are the public face of BCRTC’s labour force and double as train drivers should there ever be a need to operate the system manually, there are dozens of highly technical roles elsewhere in operations and maintenance.

Based on the last contract, these are the hourly salaries of many of the major positions on the Expo Line and Millennium Line as of July 1, 2019:

  • SkyTrain Attendant: $33.03
  • Control Operator: $44.88
  • Elevator/Escalator Technician: $49.94
  • Elevator/Escalator Labourer: $30.22
  • Electronic Technician, Power Technician, Support Shop Technician, Vehicle Technician, Vehicle Body Repair Technician, and Tradesperson (Guideway): $42.84
  • Guideway Labourer: $30.22
  • Maintenance Planner: $41.75
  • Machinist: $40.15
  • Welder: $39.72
  • Certified Partsperson: $38.44
  • Guideway Serviceperson, Power Serviceperson, Ride Quality Monitor, Support Shop Serviceperson, Vehicle Serviceperson, Escalator/Elevator Serviceperson, and Plant Serviceperson: $34.97
  • Various non-technical office administrative positions: Mostly between $29.38 and $31.91

These wages were established following a 0.5% general wage increase on September 1, 2016, a 1.3% general wage increase on July 1, 2017, a 0.5% general wage increase on September 1, 2017, a 1.3% general increase on July 1, 2018, a 0.5% general wage increase on September 1, 2018, and a 1.3% general wage increase on July 1, 2019.

Certain positions in the trades also saw role-specific hikes, including a 1.3% increase for eligible trades on April 1, 2018, and a $1.00 increase for elevator and escalator technician wages on September 1, 2017.

Salary rates for overtime hours, including statutory holidays, are set at 200%.

Many of these positions are based on shifts, with 10-hour shifts typically allocated for SkyTrain Attendants, Vehicle Technicians, Power Technicians, Electronic Technicians, Serviceperson, Plant Tradesperson, Guideway Technician, and Storesperson. Control Operators (in the control room) typically work 12-hour shifts.

In addition to general hourly wages and overtime hours, shift premiums of $1.70 per hour for the afternoon shift (4 pm to midnight) and $2.50 per hour for the evening shift (midnight to 8 am) are provided. Premiums are based on 50% or more of the hours worked falling within a shift as defined as either the afternoon shift or evening shift.

Based on length of employment, a range of benefits are provided, including varying levels of life insurance, dental, and medical care.

As well, extended healthcare is provided to employees (and their spouse and dependents) with at least 10 years of employment, including $1,000 laser eye surgery per eye, $1,500 for a massage practitioner per year, $700 for a chiropractor per year, $900 for a physiotherapist per year, $200 for a podiatrist per year, $200 for an acupuncturist per year, $300 for a naturopath per year, and $1,000 for a psychologist per year.

Additionally, employees receive two free transit passes, including for the employee and a family member.