BURNABY, British Columbia — The union representing more than 180 Lower Mainland transit supervisors remains committed to reaching a deal with Coast Mountain Bus Company at the bargaining table. But CUPE 4500 says a deal must address critical workload issues and ensure that wages of all members working for Coast Mountain are in line with those of other TransLink workers.
“It has been over three weeks since CUPE 4500 gave Coast Mountain its latest proposal. We’re ready to go back to the table, but Coast Mountain needs to be ready with a response. That is how collective bargaining works,” says Liam O’Neill, CUPE National Representative and spokesperson for CUPE 4500.
Due to Coast Mountain Bus Company’s refusal to reply to the union’s latest proposal, CUPE 4500 members began an overtime ban on Saturday, January 6.
“Buses are already being pulled from service due to maintenance issues. Due to the overtime ban, CUPE 4500 supervisors will be less available to resolve routine interruptions. This means winter weather is going to be affecting service even more,” says O’Neill.
The union’s key issues are workload and wages. Many CUPE 4500 supervisors are paid less than other TransLink supervisors for doing the same work. The union has been clear with Coast Mountain that this long-standing discrepancy needs to be addressed for a fair deal.
“It is simple – transit workers doing the same job deserve a similar wage. This should be a realistic expectation for anyone,” says O’Neill. “A 25 percent across-the-board wage increase has never been proposed by the union. But some of our members are getting paid far less than other TransLink workers doing the same jobs. It’s not fair, and we need to find a solution at the table.”
Until the union receives a response from Coast Mountain, O’Neill says the overtime ban will remain in effect.
“We regret the service disruptions passengers are experiencing, but CUPE 4500 members are running out of options,” says O’Neill. “If progress isn’t made, we may need to consider other options to get a response from Coast Mountain, including CUPE 4500 members withdrawing services.”
Greg Taylor, CUPE Communications Representative
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