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Sea-to-Sky transit workers reach tentative deal to end 4-month strike

Transit workers in the Sea-to-Sky corridor reached a five-year collective agreement on Tues. June 14, 2022, ending a months-long strike over unfair wages. Global News

Transit workers in B.C.’s Sea-to-Sky corridor have reached a tentative agreement with their employer that could end a bitter four-month bus strike.

More than 80 drivers and mechanics serving Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton have been on the picket lines since Jan. 29 over what they say is an unfair pay gap with their counterparts in Metro Vancouver.

Read more: Mediation fails in bitter 103-day Sea-to-Sky transit strike

Unifor, which represents the workers, said Thursday night that its bargaining committee for Local 114 and BC Transit contractor PW Transit reached the deal with the help of a mediator.

Unifor western regional director Gavin McGarrigle said he couldn’t share details of the agreement until it went to members for a vote Monday, but that the union was satisfied it would deliver on key priorities.

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“There’s no concessions in this agreement. This is all about moving forward to address the last two years when we didn’t have a collective agreement, and also moving forward in the new agreement as well,” he told Global News.

Click to play video: 'Negotiations resuming in Sea-to-Sky transit strike' Negotiations resuming in Sea-to-Sky transit strike
Negotiations resuming in Sea-to-Sky transit strike – May 19, 2022

“It’s about the here and now, it’s about the high cost of living, it’s about the wage disparities, and it’s about making sure transit workers receive wages, pensions, benefits that allow them to live in the communities where they work.”

Global News has requested comment from PW Transit.

The union has previously argued that Sea-to-Sky transit workers are paid between $3 and $4 less than people in the same jobs in Metro Vancouver.

Read more: Sea-to-Sky transit users left in limbo as bus strike talks break off

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Negotiations between the two sides had previously broken down several times, most recently in early May, despite the efforts of a mediator.

The long-running dispute has drawn significant frustration from the community, prompting the mayors of Squamish and Whistler to speak out and call for a speedy resolution.

The union said once the deal is ratified, transit service will resume “when it is safe to do so.”

Click to play video: 'Whistler mayor speaks out in frustration over the ongoing transit strike' Whistler mayor speaks out in frustration over the ongoing transit strike
Whistler mayor speaks out in frustration over the ongoing transit strike – Mar 14, 2022

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