MVT Canadian Bus responds to strike notice

HandyDART will ensure customers receive essential services

VANCOUVER, Oct. 22 /CNW/ - MVT Canadian Bus (MVT), Metro Vancouver's HandyDART service provider, was notified by the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) on October 22, 2009 that they have issued a 72-hour strike notice and that they will be able to strike any time after October 25, 2009.

"We are very disappointed by the ATU's decision to serve a strike notice which will undoubtedly inconvenience customers who rely on our service as their only means of transportation. MVT will do everything we can to take care of customers and continue to provide as many services as we are able," said John Siragusa, vice president of Operations.

Last week, the Labour Relations Board ruled that in the event of a strike by the ATU, HandyDART trips for renal dialysis and cancer patients are essential services and must be provided.

"MVT wants to resume full service for our customers as soon as possible. From day one our goal has been to reach a fair and reasonable collective agreement while avoiding potential service disruptions for customers," said Siragusa.

"In the best interest of our employees and customers, today we have presented a best and final offer which clearly shows MVT's commitment to reaching an agreement," he added.

HandyDART customers are encouraged to visit www.mvtcanada.com or call 604-575-6600 for up-to-date information on service levels.

MVT and ATU have been negotiating since December 2008 and have met over 30 times. Most recently, the parties met with a negotiator and on September 30, 2009 the ATU walked away from negotiations, this was the second time in two weeks that they ended talks. Negotiations were set to resume on Tuesday October 27, 2009.

MVT's HandyDART service provides transportation to customers who are unable to use public transit without assistance, including many seniors, the seriously ill and persons with cognitive or physical disabilities. HandyDART is the only means of transportation for many of its customers.

    
    Background

    -   MVT began HandyDART operation in Metro Vancouver on January 1, 2009
        and hired over 99 percent of the 500 existing HandyDART employees. At
        this time, employees became members of ATU and MVT gave wage parity
        to all HandyDART drivers which increased wages by up to 16 per cent
        for 60 percent of the drivers.

    -   HandyDART employees were previously represented by three unions, five
        collective agreements and seven separate providers.

    -   MVT has also delivered significant improvements to the accessibility
        and service for customers. Customers now enjoy seamless service
        across Metro Vancouver's municipalities, better on-time performance
        and increased trips.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             MVT's best            ATU's
                       Prior to MVT        and final offer     formal demand
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Driver hourly    $17.47 to $20.25        $21.00 upon
     wage           Average equals           ratification          $25.35
                          $18.86           $21.25 effective
                                            January 1, 2010
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Percentage
     increase in            n/a               3.7% to 22%        28% to 44%
     hourly wage
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Guaranteed           7.5 to 8
     hours of pay       hrs per day             7.5 hrs           7.5 hrs
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Vacation days      15 to 35 days,       15 to 35 days,    15 to 35 days,
                    depending on years    depending on years   depending on
                        of service            of service     years of service
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Medical Service    100% paid by            100% paid        100% paid
     Plan                employer                by MVT           by MVT
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Extended Heath     100% paid by            100% paid        100% paid
                         employer             by employer      by employer
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Pension Plan          Mixed             100% employees     100% employees
                                          self-directed RRSP      Municipal
                                                                Pension Plan
                    - 60% of employees    - 5% paid by employer
                      Municipal Pension   - If employee matches,
                      Plan                  an additional 2%
                    - 40% of employees      to be paid by the
                      RRSP                  employer for a total
                                            of 7%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Employee           100% paid by             100% paid         100% paid
     Assistance          employer                 by MVT            by MVT
     Plan
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

MVT Canadian Bus is the Canadian subsidiary of MV Transportation Inc., the largest provider of specialized transportation services for seniors and persons with disabilities in the United States.

SOURCE MVT CANADIAN BUS

For further information: For further information: Zdenka Buric, (604) 619-4344 or zburic@national.ca

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