Morning commuters in the Lower Mainland relying on buses and SeaBus services are encountering picket lines today, following unsuccessful weekend negotiations between transit supervisors and the Coast Mountain Bus Company. Approximately 180 transit supervisors, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 4500, were unable to reach a deal with the company, resulting in a job action and the suspension of bus and SeaBus services.
Details of the Disruption:
TransLink has confirmed the absence of bus and SeaBus services due to the ongoing job action. However, the SkyTrain, West Coast Express, and HandyDART services are expected to operate without disruption. The dispute centers on wage increases, with CUPE 4500 members planning to withdraw all services from the Coast Mountain Bus Company for 48 hours.
Coast Mountain Bus Company President Michael McDaniel has expressed disappointment, stating that the union has refused to adjust its wage increase demands despite efforts to find a compromise. The union argues that wage discrepancies must be addressed before a lasting settlement can be reached. McDaniel emphasizes the company’s willingness to continue negotiations and hopes for a resolution without further disruptions.
Union Demands and Other Union Responses:
The initial demand from CUPE 4500 sought a 25 percent wage increase, with hopes to avoid service disruptions through an agreement. However, other unions representing transit workers have announced their decision not to cross picket lines, potentially affecting SkyTrain services and buses in West Vancouver.
CUPE Local 7000, representing rapid transit and railworkers, has informed its members not to cross lines around SkyTrain stations. The union issued a bulletin warning of potential disruptions and accused TransLink, BC Rapid Transit Company, West Coast Express, and Protrans of attempting to minimize the impact on transit riders during the strike action.
Company Expectations and Other Union Responses:
TransLink spokeswoman Tina Lovgreen stated that the company anticipates normal operations for all SkyTrain lines on Monday. She clarified that, according to legal constraints, CUPE Local 4500 can only legally picket bus and SeaBus services.
Cornel Neagu from the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 134, representing West Vancouver’s Blue Bus drivers, echoed the sentiment, indicating that members would not cross lines at key hubs like Phibbs Exchange in North Vancouver.
As the transit dispute unfolds, commuters in the Lower Mainland should stay informed about service disruptions and alternative transportation options during this period of job action affecting bus and SeaBus services. The resolution of wage-related issues remains at the forefront of negotiations between transit supervisors and the Coast Mountain Bus Company.