The union representing rapid transit and rail workers in Metro Vancouver has notified its members that all transit may be shut down on Monday. That includes the SkyTrain, buses and SeaBus systems.
Global News has obtained a copy of an internal memo from CUPE 7000, which states: “Our friends at CUPE 4500, transit supervisors at Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC), are getting ready to walk out Monday morning. They are meeting with a mediator (Sunday), but if they don’t get a fair deal, they will be withdrawing all services at 3:00 a.m. Monday morning for 48 hours. This will mean a complete shutdown of all bus and SeaBus services in the Lower Mainland for two days.”
CUPE 7000 said CUPE 4500 has filed a complaint with the Labour Relations Board against TransLink, BC Rapid Transit Company, West Coast Express and Protrans for taking steps to reduce the impact on customers during the strike escalation.
The union also said CUPE 4500 has requested an immediate hearing, and is seeking to add additional picket lines, including SkyTrain facilities.
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“We realize this is very short notice, but we can’t let CMBC and TransLink step on the rights of union members,” the memo said. “We need to fight back and keep a united front with CUPE 4500 as they fight for fair wages and better working conditions in our sector.”
CUPE 4500 represents transit supervisors, who have been without a contract since Dec. 31, 2022. It launched an overtime ban on Jan. 6.
The union’s key demands are increased staffing levels and a significant wage increase.
Coast Mountain Bus Company spokesperson Mike Killeen previously said on Friday that the company was “extremely disappointed” at the threat of a work stoppage. Killeen said supervisors have been offered a 13.5 per cent wage increase over three years.
The union maintains that the wage issue is not about the annual wage increases, it’s that the base wages are not equal to what supervisors elsewhere under the TransLink umbrella are earning.
A request has been made to TransLink for comment.
— With files from Simon Little
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