Deal struck in Transit negotiations (update)

A deal was struck between Unifor Local 111 and 2200, representing striking transit workers, and the Coast Mountain Bus Company as negotiations were extended by half an hour at midnight.

Some 350,000 commuters relying on buses and the SeaBus can now breathe a huge collective sigh of relief.

In the Legislature on Tuesday, BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson blasted the NDP for its failure to deal with the situation, but Labour Minister Harry Bains insisted that a deal had to be worked out between the union and the management and not in the Legislature.

The VOICE had expected a deal because a strike would have damaged the popularity of Premier John Horgan and the NDP.

Michael McDaniel, President of Coast Mountain Bus Company, in a statement said: “I’m pleased to announce that Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC) has reached a negotiated, tentative deal with Unifor locals 111 and 2200, which represent bus and SeaBus operators and maintenance staff.  As a result of this agreement, our employees will benefit from a competitive package which features improved wages, benefits, and working conditions.

“I would like to commend both parties for working together and finding common ground to end this difficult chapter for our customers, employees, and the company.  The agreement is still to go through a ratification process, which we expect will take several weeks.

“Securing a deal means the union’s planned bus and SeaBus system shutdown will no longer proceed, nor will any further union job action.  However, customers may still find some disruption to services [Wednesday] given the timing of a deal being reached.  Commuters should check transit alerts [Wednesday] to ensure their route is operating on schedule.”

Photo: Unifor

Jerry Dias, Unifor National President, said: “Transit workers stood up for one another and fought hard to get a fair contract. Total service disruption was a last resort, so our members are relieved that they can return to serving the public.”

Unifor said details of the agreement will be made available following ratification votes happening in the coming days.

“This contract recognizes that Unifor members are the backbone of the Metro Vancouver transit system,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Western Regional Director and lead negotiator. “We look forward to being an integral part of an expanding system that keeps this region moving.”