Transit talks making progress 

Strike deadline was midnight, Thursday

Are Whistler Transit bus drivers on strike? For the best answer try looking out your window.

At the time Pique Newsmagazine went to press, the company and the Canadian Auto Workers union Local 114, which represents the 63 Whistler Transit Limited employees, were still in contract negotiations, with wages and benefit conditions the main issues.

Under the deadline set by the union, an agreement had to be reached by midnight on April 12 th or workers would take strike action.

Whistler Transit staff had previously voted 93 per cent in favour of stopping work should their demands not be met or a compromise attained. Their three-year contract expired on March 31, along with other transit agreements currently being negotiated with different employers in the Lower Mainland. The previous contract conditions are being followed in the interim.

Ron Burrows, Whistler Transit’s general manager and spokesperson for the parent company, Pacific Western Transportation, says some aspects of the contract have been signed off. But he says there are still some major cost-related issues that need resolving.

Todd Romanow, president of CAW Local 114, says Whistler workers want wage parity with drivers and other related transit staff in Vancouver.

"Employees are demanding a 13 per cent pay increase to bring them up to the same level as Vancouver transit staff. They also want the ceiling lowered on benefit privileges, so more employees qualify for medical, dental and welfare coverage," Romanow has said. The union claims that only 17 of the current 63 member workforce can receive benefits.

The CAW says any agreement reached with the company over wages will be retroactive to April 1, 2001.

Whistler Transit operates one of the busiest public bus systems in Canada per capita, with routes in and around Whistler and to Pemberton.


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