Unifor school bus drivers hold rally


TORONTO, Dec. 14, 2016 /CNW/ - School bus drivers with the Toronto public and Catholic school boards will hold a rally Thursday to demand that First Student honour the collective agreement it signed with Unifor just over a month ago.

"Drivers, already paid very little, are not even getting paid all that they are owed," said Unifor Local 4268 President Debbie Montgomery. "Many are left wondering how they will pay the rent this month, let alone buy presents for their kids."

Unifor Local 4268 ratified a first contract with the company in November, following an all-night bargaining session. The deal broke new ground for school bus drivers, including drivers being paid for all the hours they are on duty (not just when children are on the bus). Since then, however, the company has not honoured all aspects of the contract, including refusing to pay workers as outlined in the collective agreement, changing work hours and conditions of employment and other violations, leading some drivers to resign and others considering quitting.

To show support for grievances filed over the company's violations, the drivers will rally Thursday outside First Student:

  • What: Rally to demand First Student honour new collective agreement
  • Where: First Student, 30 Heritage Road, Markham
  • When: Thursday, December 15, 10a.m.
  • Who: Speakers include Debbie Montgomery, Unifor Local 4268 President, Unifor Toronto Director Josephine Petcher, Ontario Federation of Labour Executive Vice-President Ahmad Gaied

"The ink is barely dry on the contract, and already the company is violating it," said Unifor Assistant to the National Secretary-Treasurer Jenny Ahn. "This is the kind of poor labour relations that makes it difficult to recruit and retain school bus drivers, and leads to driver shortages like we saw this fall."

To see Unifor's Steering Clear report on the school bus industry and other research, go to: unifor.org/schoolbuscampaign

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers, including 1,600 school bus drivers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.