‘We may walk off the job at any time’: West Vancouver Blue Bus workers on strike

Drivers and operators of West Vancouver's Blue Bus system are set to strike for wage parity and other benefits, beginning Thurs. Sept. 8, 2022. Global News

West Vancouver bus drivers say they’ve had enough of working under an expired contract and are going on strike on Saturday, July 23, at 1 p.m.

The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 134, the union that represents transit workers in West Vancouver Municipal Transit, said members will stop working overtime hours and will dress in union t-shirts instead of their regular uniforms.

“We’ve been treated like garbage by our employer for a very long time. All the workers are very desperate and are willing to put it all on the line,” said Cornel Neagu, ATU Local 134’s president.

“I learned the employer has already decided to ignore the overtime ban and is contacting our drivers individually, asking them to work overtime. At the union, we view this as an escalation and we may walk off the job at any time.”

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The union president went on to say that if any members decide to accept the overtime proposition by the employer, it will be considered as “crossing the picket line” and those members will be penalized and possibly suspended by the union.

ATU Local 134 claims that West Vancouver’s mayor and council are demanding that workers accept scheduling provisions that force drivers to rush their run time and to work erratic schedules that will lead to “fatigued drivers.”

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The District of West Vancouver has responded to ATU Local 134’s strike.

It says it is not only disappointed in the decision to strike but that it had offered a fair deal to the union.

“The district has offered a fair deal. Wage increases of five per cent for skilled trades and three per cent for all other transit employees are on the table,” said Donna Powers, District of West Vancouver’s community relations director.

“The district has also proposed a wage increase above the three per cent to address the wage gap between Blue Bus community bus drivers and Coast Mountain Bus Company community bus drivers, as well as language to address the union’s scheduling concerns.”

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Regular service schedules will be impacted due to the overtime ban both the city and the union said.

According to the union, 20 per cent of regular service is done by workers on overtime.

Click to play video: 'Majority of unionized workers at Superstore in B.C. vote to accept new collective agreement' Majority of unionized workers at Superstore in B.C. vote to accept new collective agreement
Majority of unionized workers at Superstore in B.C. vote to accept new collective agreement – Jul 8, 2022

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