VANCOUVER – Over 4,700 transit operators, mechanics, maintenance and SeaBus workers in Metro Vancouver have voted 82% tonight to ratify a new 3-year contract with Coast Mountain Bus Company with wage and shift premium increases and better working conditions and benefits for members.
And the contract has no concessions, says Unifor Local 111 President Steve Sutherland, representing transit operators.
“This contract provides improvements in wages, benefits and working conditions for our members that reflects the difficult jobs they do every day moving hundreds of thousands of riders through heavy traffic in Metro Vancouver,” Sutherland said. “We are very pleased that Unifor members voted strongly in favour of the agreement and we can now work hard to improve transit services across the region.
The contract also contains a skilled trades allowance, maintenance and SeaBus worker shift premium increases and a safety equipment allowance that will help Coast Mountain retain those workers, says Unifor Local 2200 President Joe Elworthy, representing mechanics, maintenance and SeaBus workers.
“There is a very competitive employment market for skilled trades workers and this contract will help ensure they stay at Coast Mountain and keep transit moving,” says Elworthy.
Unifor BC Area Director Gavin McGarrigle said with the contract ratified, the two locals will now put efforts into promoting the need for more Metro Vancouver transit service funding from all three levels of government but especially the province.
“Our riders are suffering from pass-ups, overcrowding and lack of frequent service on many routes and yet we have enough buses in surplus to start addressing those problems almost immediately – if we had funding for more drivers,” McGarrigle said. “The bus system is the backbone of transit and with adequate funding we could make an enormous improvement in transit service now while we wait for longer term SkyTrain expansion and new LRT projects to be built.”
“With the province now announcing a significant budget surplus, there are no more excuses for not providing better funding for transit immediately and improving service, our environment and our economy while reducing traffic congestion,” McGarrigle said.
For more information: Gavin McGarrigle cell (778) 668-6455 or Steve Sutherland 604-519-1110 ext. 2288 or Joe Elworthy 604-520-1122 or Bill Tieleman, West Star Communications, cell 778-896-0964.