UNIFOR will be holding a vote to decide if the TransLink employees will commence a strike. The TransLink strike vote will happen next week on Thursday, October 10. After months of negotiations between UNIFOR and Coast Mountain Bus Company, on Friday, October 4, negotiation deals officially broke off between the two parties.
UNIFOR is a labour union that represents TransLink and SeaBus employees. Under UNIFOR, Unifor Local 111 represents transit operators in conventional and community shuttle while Unifor Local 2200 represents maintenance and Seabus workers.
Coast Mountain Bus Company, on the other hand, is a subsidiary of TransLink, which was recently voted the best public transportation system in North America.
“Months of talks have failed to produce any meaningful mandate to address wages, benefits and working conditions,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias in a press release.
“Our members have been working without a contract since March 31 and Coast Mountain has still to come to the table with an offer that addresses the key issues,” Dias continued.
According to the press release, UNIFOR Coast Mountain members will hold a strike vote at the Aria Banquet Hall in Surrey on Thursday, October 10.
If a strike mandate is delivered, then the mandate is valid for 90 days. A strike could pose a huge disruption to Vancouver’s population, which depends heavily on commuting to get around the city. The last time a massive transit strike happened in 2001, it crippled the city for 123 days.
Some people have already taken to social media to express their concerns if a strike does end up taking place.
"Uh oh, I will need to figure out new ways of getting around," Reads one tweet.
In a statement, Unifor Local 2200’s President said: “Our members know that the public relies on them and it is our sincere hope that Coast Mountain comes back with a serious offer to avoid inconvenience to transit riders.”
As the strike looms over B.C., some people feel like this is all the more reason to introduce ride-sharing ride-hailing operations even faster across the province.
"Here we go again and another bus strike looms and B.C.'s government has done everything possible to delay and stall and restrict ride-sharing services." reads one tweet.
While no definitive date has been set in place for a strike, the strike could see more than 5,000 Unifor members and TransLink employees take part.
TransLink ridership has been on a sharp rise, with an 18 percent increase between 2016 and 2018 alone, with overcrowded bus trips increasing 36 per cent between 2016 and 2018.