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CUPE Local 561 could be in a position to strike next week, split-shifts a major sticking point








repare for a possible BUS DRIVER STRIKE in a week or so which would come with reduced services if they decide to walk out.

That's the word from CUPE local 561. On June 28, CUPE Local 561 bus drivers, put Fraser Valley Transit (FVT) on notice after members voted 93 per cent in favour of a strike which could happen in week if bargaining fails.

According to a CUPE 561, FVT has applied for essential services in preparation for a potential strike. The Union won't be a legal position to strike until the application process has been completed which may happen in a week. Bargaining will continue as FVT hasn't been at the table much more than a day. Although other issues are on the table, the biggest sticking point are split-shifts.


The following is the CUPE 561 local dispatch:


On June 27, your Bargaining Committee attended a mediation session at the Labour Relations Board in an attempt to renegotiate the proposals that you, the members, felt were inadequate as presented at the May 13 Ratification meeting. With the assistance of seasoned mediator Grant McArthur, we were able to enter into significant discussions with the Employer.

The Committee submitted newly revised proposals regarding split shifts, shift length, hours of work, casual availability and wages. The Employer was receptive to what we had to say and sympathetic to the members’ perspective on split shifts, hours of work and casual availability.

At the same time, the Employer felt that it was important for the membership to understand, and be sympathetic to, the needs of the organization. Given that we presented significant changes to the memorandum and in consideration of the fact that we only had one day with the mediator, we were unable to reach an agreement that the Bargaining Committee could recommend to the members.

We did, however, agree to move forward in a positive manner. The Employer has applied for essential services in preparation for a potential strike. The Union will not be in a legal position to strike until that application process has been completed, likely in a week or two. In the meantime, the Employer has agreed to continue bargaining with the committee in hopes that we can address any outstanding concerns and ultimately arrive at a deal that both parties can accept.

We are in the process of setting up bargaining dates in the coming weeks. Also, the employer would like to schedule meetings with the members on company time to discuss split shifts. The Employer wants an opportunity to explain the reasons these types of shifts are essential to the operation while gaining an understanding of the challenges our members are facing in this regard.

Also, the Employer wants to provide you with an opportunity to have a say in how split shifts can be managed. Your Bargaining Committee remains optimistic that moving forward in this manner, we will be able to reach agreement on a fair deal that we can all be proud of.


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