TORONTO, Nov. 3, 2016 /CNW/ - Unifor, the union representing school bus drivers at the Toronto and York public and Catholic school boards reached a tentative agreement with First Student bus company, averting a strike or lockout.
"This contract should give comfort to parents in the GTA who have already faced enough this year," said Unifor Local 4268 President Deb Montgomery. "These were very difficult negotiations but our bargaining committee remained committed to stay at the table until a deal was achieved."
The new three-year tentative agreement was reached following all-night negotiations, almost six hours after the strike deadline of Thursday at 12:01 a.m.
"I'm proud of what our bargaining committee has achieved,"said Unifor Assistant to the National Secretary-Treasurer Jenny Ahn. "This new agreement will help make these jobs viable for current drivers along with making it easier to retain good quality drivers in the GTA."
The tentative agreement is supported by the Bargaining Committee for the union, represented by Local 4268, and viewed as a fair and reasonable settlement. Details of the collective agreement will be released upon ratification, which will take place over the next few days.
"Our drivers want to be behind the wheel, helping children get their school day started, and helping to transport them home safely at the end of the day," Montgomery said. "We're happy that First Student bus company came back to the table with an open mind and that a fair deal was reached."
Unifor continues to call on the Ontario government to amend the province's Request For Proposals (RFP) process for handing out school bus contracts, which the union maintains has directly led to many of the systemic problems in the industry.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers, including 22,000 in road transportation. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.
For further information: please contact Unifor Communications National Representative Kathleen O'Keefe at Kathleen.OKeefe@unifor.org or (cell) 416-896-3303.