SkyTrain workers' union says strike vote is now underway

Nov 19 2019, 5:18 pm

On the heels of more planned job action this week by the union representing Metro Vancouver’s bus drivers, the union representing the region’s SkyTrain workers has now announced that a strike vote is underway this week.

The union said the strike vote comes after the BC Rapid Transit Company (BCRTC) turned down its latest proposal for new bargaining dates.

Although eight days of mediated talks had already been scheduled starting from November 28, both parties are free to re-enter direct negotiations at any time.

Potential job action by BCRTC workers would impact the Expo Line and Millennium Line.

While the West Coast Express is under BCRTC’s mandate, it is privately operated and maintained by Bombardier under contract.

The Canada Line is not under BCRTC’s mandate, but it is privately operated by ProTransBC, and its workers are under a different union.

“We responded by adjusting our schedules and offering dates to the Company, despite missing some members of the union’s bargaining committee,” said CUPE 7000 President Tony Rebelo. “We offered to meet with the Company prior to mediation because our priority is to negotiate a fair deal.

“However, the chief negotiator for BCRTC rejected those dates, didn’t offer alternate dates, and stated that the Company will only meet us at mediation. So the BCRTC is clearly saying one thing publicly and another thing privately.”

Last week, BCRTC said it “remain[s] committed to the bargaining process” and is “open to further discussing what has been offered and urge the union to continue negotiating with us.”

Rebelo said the strike vote will be completed on Thursday and results will be announced shortly afterward.

“Once again, I want to emphasize that we are committed to reaching an agreement without any disruption to service,” said Rebelo. “However, with this latest development and with the employer’s failure to address key issues, CUPE 7000 members have directed the Union to conduct this strike vote.”

CUPE 7000 represents approximately 900 SkyTrain workers who provide service as SkyTrain attendants and control operators as well as administration, maintenance, and technical staff.

The last contract expired on August 31 of this year.

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