CUPE 4500 Job Action - Bulletin #4

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Dear Members,

We are writing to update you on our union’s response to the transit crisis created by Coast Mountain Bus Company’s inept bargaining with the supervisors’ union, CUPE 4500.

The supervisors’ union chose to take strike action on Monday and Tuesday this week, and Coast Mountain Bus Company decided to shut down the system as a result.

However, in advance of any picket lines being raised, Coast Mountain Bus Company made operational, logistical, and communications steps to outline a shutdown of the system to its workers and to the public.

Although the Company did this, they have still taken the position that our members will not be paid for the 48-hour strike period. Lost wages for Unifor members is unacceptable to us and we are demanding that the Company compensate our members for their decision to take a strike.

We have been speaking with the company, CUPE, and the labour minister constantly to relay our concerns on the impact of this dispute on our members and on the public.

Our concerns have also been raised with the national office of Unifor and National President Lana Payne has stepped in to advocate for Local 111 and Local 2200 members.

Going forward, we must remember that this is not our dispute. We also recognize that many transit riders will blame Unifor members on the front lines for CMBC’s dispute with the supervisors, potentially leading to an unsafe work environment.

We have all been in tough bargaining with Coast Mountain Bus Company and we know that whatever we end up negotiating, we have to fight for. 

We have seen in the past how Coast Mountain Bus Company tries to use a media strategy to undermine collective bargaining and putting out unrealistic numbers and positions to the public.

That said, you know first-hand the challenges facing workers in Metro Vancouver’s transit system caused by insufficient government funding and poor management decisions at CMBC. The blame for this labour dispute lies with the employer and their bargaining practices.

Unifor is a fierce defender of fair and free collective bargaining and stand with all working people who are standing up to their employer to improve their contract. Thank you for important work during this complicated dispute. We are confident that with the pressure you helped exert this week and arbitrator Vince Ready’s involvement, a fair contract is on the horizon.

We will speak to the media about our concerns later today but wanted to ensure you received our message first.

In Solidarity,

Unifor Local 111 & 2200