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Transit strike averted, tentative deal reached

Last Updated Nov 27, 2019 at 12:59 pm PST

Summary

Three-day transit shut down averted as union workers, employer reach tentative agreement

Job action began Nov. 1 as bus, SeaBus workers asked for improved working conditions, higher wages, benefits

Details of settlement aren't being released until agreement is ratified

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A full strike by bus and SeaBus workers has been averted.

An eleventh hour deal has been reached between the union representing transit workers, Unifor, and their employer, Coast Mountain Bus Company.

News of the tentative agreement came at the 12:30 a.m. deadline on Wednesday, the same day a planned three-day full-system strike was supposed to go ahead.

Unifor President Jerry Dias spoke about the deal at the Westin Bayshore hotel in Vancouver.

“As a result of the tentative agreement, there will be no disruption of any services. We will inform our workers to get back to work immediately. We’ll make sure that there is complete service tomorrow morning,” he said.

The details of the settlement aren’t being released until the agreement is ratified, but he added they are pleased with the result.

“It has certainly reached many of the objectives that we set forward to resolve,” Dias said.

Michael McDaniel with Coast Mountain Bus Company said he was very happy with the agreement.

“Both sides worked extremely hard, and I’m very happy we have come to this agreement,” he said. “It balances all of the things we were trying to balance, and we’re very happy late tonight to get the deal done, and we’re off to get the system going right now. We are working on that right now.”

McDaniel added there could be a few delays early Wednesday morning as workers resume their regular schedules.

“Obviously we are getting the system back up and going, but because it’s such a late hour, we may miss some of those early runs, but the good news is we have a deal, and I want to congratulate both sides for all of the work that they did in getting this done,” McDaniel said just shortly after 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The union had originally given the employer until midnight Wednesday to negotiate a new agreement, saying all bus and SeaBus routes would be cancelled Wednesday, Thursday and Friday if a deal wasn’t reached.

That deadline was extended until 12:30 a.m. as talks continued.

Workers have been taking part in job action since the beginning of the month, with some drivers refusing to wear their uniforms and others not working overtime.

Union members had been asking for improvements to working conditions, wages, and benefits.