Metro Vancouver transit workers ratify new collective agreement

0
297

VANCOUVER—Wage increases are a key component of the new contract ratified late on March 7, 2022 by transit operators and maintenance staff working at Coast Mountain Bus Company/Translink.

“Transit workers have been serving communities on the front lines of a pandemic for two years,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director. “We will revisit this collective agreement next year with an eye to securing additional gains going forward.”

The one-year contract extension, ratified by 74% of the membership, provides a 3% wage increase for transit operators and a 5% increase for workers in the skilled trades in maintenance starting April 1, 2022. The new contract will expire March 31, 2023.

“As the system returns to normal passenger volumes, this wage increase should help to attract the staff needed to keep up with the service levels that Metro Vancouver residents deserve,” said Balbir Mann, President of Unifor Local 111.

“The employer requested an extension and the terms we negotiated are satisfactory. We are committed to more extensive improvements in the next round of bargaining,” said Mike Smith, President of Local 2200.

More than 5,000 Unifor members work in the lower mainland at Coast Mountain Bus Company. Unifor Local 111 represents transit operators in conventional and community shuttle and Unifor Local 2200 represents maintenance and Seabus workers.  

Despite the priority placed on achieving a fair contract in Metro Vancouver, Translink’s counterpart B.C. Transit has refused to address key issues for transit workers in the Sea to Sky corridor​, where members of Unifor Local 114 have been on strike since January 29, 2022.

“There’s a growing structural inequality between transit workers in British Columbia. B.C. Transit would be wise to address that before more transit workers take job action for a fair contract,” said McGarrigle, referring to upcoming negotiations in Victoria and other regions under B.C. Transit jurisdiction.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.