Fraser Valley transit union ratifies contract, job action ending – BC

Traffic workers in the Fraser Valley began the return-to-work process on Friday following a ratification vote within their union.

CUPE Local 561 has announced that its members have approved an arbitrated settlement with First Transit, ending a strike that began 124 days ago.

According to the union, the six-year agreement, which runs until March 31, 2026, will narrow the wage gap with other transport workers in the region, while introducing a pension scheme that will take effect next spring.

“Our members needed an elevator and this agreement gave them one,” said CUPE 561 Chairman Randy Kutt.

“Special Mediator Vince Reddy’s recommendations were a fair compromise and provided us with the basis for future rounds of negotiations. By ratifying this settlement memorandum, the members agree that this agreement is a good start to address their concerns.”

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The union president also expressed gratitude to the local residents who were severely affected in the course of labor activities.

“We cannot thank our communities enough for supporting us in our struggle to achieve pay equity and retirement security, and for showing that support despite the many hardships and inconveniences people have had to endure as the conflict drags on,” he said.

Kutt added that the union will do everything in its power to quickly resume operations in the Fraser Valley and will work with employers to get buses back to service “as soon as possible.”

The union did not give a specific date when transportation services would fully resume.

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First Transit issued a statement Saturday morning.

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“First Transit is pleased to confirm that CUPE Local 561 has issued ratification notices for the Arbitration Settlement of the Strike in the Fraser Valley,” a spokesperson said in an email.

“The company is working to finalize this new collective bargaining agreement and has already begun a return-to-work effort for its maintenance staff to restore transportation services for customers in the Fraser Valley as soon as possible.”

Fast Transit said the full reopening date of the service will be announced as soon as it is confirmed.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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