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Weekend mediation fails to avert transit strike, paralyzing bus and SeaBus service in B.C.

January 22, 2024
The Canadian Press

(jekershner7/Getty Images)

Vancouverites who rely on the bus or the SeaBus for their morning commute will face picket lines this morning after weekend negotiations between transit supervisors and the Coast Mountain Bus Company failed to make a deal.

Picket lines will be up around the city after the company and roughly 180 transit supervisors represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 4500 couldn’t come to a deal.

TransLink said there is no bus and SeaBus services due to the job action.

The regional transit authority says the SkyTrain, West Coast Express and HandyDART service are not expected to be impacted.


CUPE 4500 has said its members will be withdrawing all services from Coast Mountain Bus Company for 48 hours.

Bus company president Michael McDaniel says the union has refused to adjust its demand for wage increases despite efforts to reach a compromise.

The union says members need wage discrepancies closed between them and other TransLink supervisors before any lasting settlement is reached.

McDaniel says the company remains willing to join the union at the table and continue negotiations.

McDaniel said last week that the workers were seeking a 25 per cent wage increase, but hoped an agreement would be struck to avoid service disruptions.

Two other unions representing transit workers said Sunday that they would not be crossing picket lines, potentially disrupting SkyTrain services and buses out of West Vancouver.

Tony Rebelo with CUPE Local 7000, which represented rapid transit and railworkers, said Sunday that members wouldn’t be crossing lines should they be set up around SkyTrain stations.

CUPE Local 7000 sent out a bulletin Sunday warning members of potential disruptions at SkyTrain.

The bulletin said CUPE 4500 had made a Labour Relations Board complaint against TransLink, the BC Rapid Transit Company, West Coast Express, and Protrans for trying to “reduce the impact” on transit riders during the escalating strike action.

Translink spokeswoman Tina Lovgreen said in an email that the company expects all SkyTrain lines to “operate as normal” Monday.

“At this time, CUPE Local 4500 can only legally picket bus and SeaBus,” she said.

Cornel Neagu with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 134, which represents West Vancouver’s Blue Bus drivers, also said members wouldn’t cross lines at hubs such as Phibbs Exchange in North Vancouver.

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