MVT Canadian Bus to help customers after ATU rejects Municipal Pension Plan
and wage increases

MVT seeks higher essential service levels for HandyDART

VANCOUVER, Dec. 24 /CNW/ - MVT Canadian Bus (MVT) is taking action to increase service for HandyDART passengers after Local 1724 of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) voted against the Municipal Pension Plan and wage increases in the latest negotiated agreement.

"MVT is seeking to increase essential service levels for HandyDART to provide passengers with more mobility after the ATU rejected a comprehensive agreement. The agreement met all of the union's demands, including the Municipal Pension Plan and wage increases of 18.4 per cent," said John Siragusa, vice president of Operations.

Metro Vancouver's HandyDART service has been operating at essential service levels since Sunday, October 25, 2009, as a result of strike action by the ATU. At that time, the Labour Relations Board ruled that HandyDART trips for renal dialysis and cancer patients are essential.

MVT will be filing an application with the Labour Relations Board over the coming days to seek an increase to essential services levels, and will proceed with the application as quickly as possible.

"We apologize to all of our customers and regret any inconvenience this labour dispute is causing," said Siragusa. "We know this is difficult for our customers and their families, particularly during this holiday season."

The agreement that was rejected by the ATU was negotiated with mediator Mark Brown of the BC Labour Relations Board. The agreement took 30 consecutive hours to reach and contained the following:

    -   The Municipal Pension Plan - a significant concession by MVT;
    -   Increases of 16 to 18.4 per cent over four years;
    -   Vacation pay for up to 35 days;
    -   7.5 guaranteed hours per shift for full time employees;
    -   Honouring of seniority from prior employment with HandyDART; and
    -   Employer coverage of medical service plan, extended health and
        employee assistance premiums.

"MVT delivered everything that the ATU asked for. MVT, and perhaps many British Columbians, are at a loss as to why this agreement was rejected, particularly during these difficult economic times," said Siragusa. "The negotiated agreement was more than fair and reasonable."

In the interest of its customers, MVT is prepared to go back to the bargaining table upon receipt of a comprehensive, written summary of the ATU's position following their rejection of the negotiated agreement.

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.

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


For further information: For further information: Zdenka Buric, (604) 619-4344 or

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