The union representing Metro Vancouver SkyTrain workers have ratified their new contract agreement with the BC Rapid Transit Company (BCRTC), officially bringing an end to the region’s transit labour woes.
The four-year deal, which includes a three per cent annual wage increase, was reached after a marathon all-night bargaining session earlier this month that narrowly avoided a three-day system shutdown.
CUPE 7000 president Tony Rebelo said the ratification, which was reached Sunday after four days of voting, marked the end of “a very challenging round of bargaining.”
“We couldn’t have reached this agreement without the dedication of those committee members, whose resolve held firm under difficult circumstances,” Rebelo said in a statement.
In addition to the annual wage increase, the union said the new contract agreement includes “several improvements aimed at addressing affordability and wage fairness across the various professions represented by SkyTrain workers.”
Roughly 900 SkyTrain attendants and maintenance workers had threatened to shut down the Expo and Millennium Lines for three days starting the morning of Dec. 10, despite ongoing bargaining with a mediator.
The union had been without a contract since Aug. 31 and had been fighting for better wages, sick time and staffing levels, and against “forced overtime” requirements proposed by the employer.
A tentative deal wasn’t reached until minutes before the walkout was set to begin, which TransLink estimated would have stranded 150,000 people who use the SkyTrain system daily.
The new deal was reached just two weeks after a region-wide bus system shutdown was averted by a similar last-minute deal.
Canada Line, whose workers are under a different union, was not affected by either labour dispute. That union’s current contract agreement expires on Dec. 31.