TORONTO, Oct. 21, 2011 /CNW/ - Transit workers who operate and maintain the VIVA bus service in York
Region have voted unanimously to reject an offer of settlement by the
privately-owned company, one of three under contract to York Region
Transit. If no settlement is reached by Sunday night, the strike will
begin at 4:00 a.m. on Monday, October 24.
The 220 workers are represented by Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113,
which also represents TTC workers. The main stumbling blocks are wages
"It is very unusual to have a proposed settlement turned down by 100 per
cent of the members, and that is a strong indication of the unhappiness
of these poorly-compensated workers," said ATU 113 president Bob
"We are so far behind the wage levels of surrounding communities such as
Brampton, Mississauga and Toronto, you'd think we were in a different
country," Kinnear added. "The turnover in staff is extremely high for
the industry, which is no good for York Region transit users who
benefit from experienced people operating and maintaining their buses.
The company apparently has no intention of trying to close the huge
wage gap by even a little."
Another issue standing in the way of an agreement with VIVA is the
demand by the company that maintenance workers pay more for their
relatively meagre benefits package.
"The concessions on benefits payments demanded by VIVA of our
maintenance members is completely out of whack with industry
standards," said Bob Kinnear. "It's puzzling that there is such a huge
demand these days that transit workers show up for work in the peak of
health, not impaired in any way, while this company makes it harder for
them to get the health care they need. It's a contradiction that must
Kinnear said he is willing to continue negotiating over the weekend to
reach an agreement but did not hold out much hope that a settlement can
SOURCE Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113
For further information:
Bill Reno, 416-223-7366