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Transit strike would start with uniform and overtime ban

October 31, 2019 - 3:00 AM

VANCOUVER—As negotiations continue, transit workers have announced that, should a tentative agreement not be reached by 8 a.m. on Friday, November 1, strike action will begin with a uniform ban by transit operators and an overtime ban by maintenance workers.

“Our number one goal is a fair contract that ensures our members are working under safe and reasonable conditions so they can best serve the public,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “To minimize the disruption to the public while still ramping up pressure on the employer, we have chosen a measured level of strike action in the first phase.”

Beginning Friday, transit operators on all routes will not be wearing the Coast Mountain Bus Company uniform. CMBC’s technicians and skilled trades workers will be refusing overtime shifts. Unifor members believe this first phase helps increase exposure of the negotiations and their need for a fair contract.

“It is a strange experience to see an operator out of uniform, and we hope that starts conversations with the passengers about our struggle with this employer to get a fair deal,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director and lead negotiator during the talks.

The overtime ban for maintenance workers will gradually increase pressure on the system and will quickly lead to fewer busses on the roads and could also affect Seabus service.

“The system has normalized overtime, so without it, the turnaround for repairs and other maintenance will build up quickly,” said Mike Smith, President of Unifor Local 2200 representing maintenance and Seabus workers. “We trust that Translink will not put unsafe vehicles back on the road, so it is a question of fewer vehicles available in the system.”

Contract talks continue all day Thursday and into the evening, if necessary.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).