Transit workers give union overwhelming strike mandate

Dec 19 2017, 9:36 pm

The union representing Lower Mainland transit workers has voted 98% in favour of giving leadership a strike mandate.

Unifor locals 111 and 2200 represent more than 4,700 bus and SeaBus drivers, transit operators, and support workers.

The union is locked in a prolonged contract dispute with the Coast Mountain Bus Company, a subsidiary of TransLink.

Members say the company has refused to offer a fair wage and has been demanding concessions, including the removal of a Sunday premium for bus drivers.

Union president Nathan Woods says the union’s decision should get their point across.

“Hopefully with this they’ll understand the concerns that the members have, their employees have, and they’ll come back with real proposals that we can sit down and hammer out a collective agreement.”

No immediate action

But the vote doesn’t mean workers are off the job just yet.

A union memo to drivers leaked to CKNW says in spite of the strike vote, negotiations between the two sides will continue May 9th and 24th, with no further action is planned during this period.

While on strike drivers would only be paid $250 per week.

CMBC released a statement in response to the vote, saying it doesn’t anticipate a strike any time soon.

“The union has not given any indication of providing strike notice and we don’t anticipate any disruption to service at this time.”

Coast Mountain says it remains committed to a negotiated settlement, and will not negotiate through the media.

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