Vancouver is holding its breath to see what the fallout is from the TransLink strike. Unifor, a union that represents thousands of workers including bus drivers at Coast Mountain Bus Company with TransLink is officially taking job action. The strain is already starting to show because there are reduced Seabus sailings on Friday, November 1.
Workers served their 72-hour strike notice on Monday, October 28 and the clock has run out. According to a press release from Unifor, talks between TransLink and the union broke off on Thursday, October 31. Phase one of job action will mean that workers will not be wearing their uniforms, they'll be refusing to work overtime. Jerry Dias, Unifor National President expressed in a statement that they want to minimize the disruption to the public while still putting pressure on the employer. This first phase is a carefully "measured level of strike action."
On Friday, November 1 the Coast Mountain Bus Company urged Unifor to come back to the table to resume negotiations. "We will make every effort to communicate any service disruptions to our customers as they occur," said Mike McDaniel, President of Coast Mountain Bus Company in a statement.
Both sides claim to prioritize the public and want to minimize the effect that the strike will have on TransLink service. According to the CBC, 14 Seabus sailings connecting North Vancouver to Downtown Vancouver have been cancelled right during the evening rush hour on Friday, November 1.
Metro Vancouver transit operators begin uniform ban wearing Unifor tees #vanpoli #bcpoli #bclab #canlab https://t.co/UAnn0h1rlI— Unifor (@Unifor)1572630273.0
In October, the Unifor union held a vote to see if its members were willing to go on strike. The result showed that 99% of union members were willing to take job action as part of their negotiations.
✔ SkyTrain (incl. Canada Line) ✔ bus ⚠ SeaBus Regular 10-min PM rush hour service will be reduced. ✔ West Coast Exp… https://t.co/L2mAWLdQ1t— TransLink BC | Masks Mandatory (@TransLink BC | Masks Mandatory)1572646071.0
Right now, disruption is minimal with only Seabus sailings being affected. On the ground, there will be longer wait times and reduced service for the Seabus, but other than that it's mostly business as usual.
Talks go down to the wire with @Translink and Coast Mountain Bus Company as transit operators give public notice of… https://t.co/qFKP2eLARk— Unifor (@Unifor)1572530671.0
One of the best ways to prepare for future job action is to follow TransLink on twitter to get updates on service. As of now, things are pretty normal. You might see your bus driver in their regular clothes but it's not because it's casual Friday.
While Seabus users feel the pinch, it's possible that more commuters and university students will be affected by the strike in the upcoming days.