If school bus operators go on strike, 22,000 elementary and high-school students in Outaouais and Pontiac will be affected…
LAVAL, QC, Oct. 14, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Workers from school bus operators Autobus LaSalle, Transport Bigras, Autobus des Collines and Autobus J.J. Campeau may go on strike on November 4. A walkout would affect about 22,000 elementary and high school students from the Draveurs, Portage, Haut Bois and Western Quebec school boards in Outaouais and Pontiac.
Teamsters Local Union 106, which received an overwhelming mandate to strike from its members, represents 300 bus drivers from the four school bus operators.
Are bus drivers second-class workers?
Right now these workers earn between $13,800 and $16,000 annually, which is not nearly enough to make ends meet. Split schedules make it difficult for drivers to get another job to supplement their income.
As a result, wages are the biggest bone of contention. Union members want guaranteed minimum hours and a pay increase.
"Are our members second-class workers?" asks Teamsters Local 106 President Jean Chartrand. "They drive our children to school and ensure their safety so they deserve to be treated fairly."
The union leader also pointed out that wages paid in this industry "make it difficult" to recruit new workers.
"How can you attract new workers when the pay is so low?" he asks.
Negotiations started late
Teamsters wanted to start bargaining in the spring before the collective agreements expired but the employer refused. The goal was to avoid any disruption during the Fall.
"They had just better not say that we're holding children and their parents hostage," cautioned Jean Chartrand. "We know that negotiations take time and that's why we wanted to start talks in the spring."
In short, time is running out for the school bus operators of Outaouais and Pontiac to reach an agreement with their workers.
The Teamsters Union represents 125,000 members in Canada in all trades. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.
SOURCE: TEAMSTERS CANADA
For further information:
Stéphane Lacroix, Director of Communications, Teamsters Canada
Office: 450-682-5521 x236