TORONTO, March 9, 2018 /CNW/ - School bus drivers at First Student Canada in Southwestern Ontario ratified a new collective agreement that increases earning and better reflects the scope of the important work that they perform.
The union representing members of the bargaining units from Owen Sound/Wiarton and Port Elgin/Kincardine says that the gains in this collective agreement go a long way towards ensuring that school bus drivers have decent work, but more needs to be done across the province.
"School bus drivers are caring individuals who make a positive impact in children's lives and educational experience. I am proud of the work of the bargaining committee in securing this contract through a difficult round of negotiations," said Naureen Rizvi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director. "Ensuring a living wage and a fair contract shouldn't be a fight, but far too often, provincial funding shortfalls curtail negotiations before we reach the bargaining table."
The recently ratified collective agreement ensures all home to school drivers will have a minimum of four hours pay and 4 insurable hours daily, with a base rate of $70 per day paid out hourly at $17.50. This will better reflect the time taken to drive most routes.
All members also gain access to a women's advocate, a union member specially trained to assist people facing sexual or gender-based violence, as well as enhanced union representation and an increase in MTO medical payments. Additionally, all the MTO fees associated with a driver renewing their "B" license will be paid by the company
"We hope the increased guarantee of paid insurable hours drivers will translate into EI qualifications during shut down periods. This will help to make driving a school bus a truly viable profession," said Debbie Montgomery, President of Unifor Local 4268. "Students and parents need full time, committed and experienced drivers and we believe the gains made in this collective agreement will help for recruitment and retention."
88 per cent of members in Owen Sound/Wiarton voted to approve their agreement while 82 per cent of members in Port Elgin/Kincardine also voted in favour.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
For further information: please contact Unifor Communications Representative Kathleen O'Keefe at [email protected] or 416-896-3303 (cell).