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West Vancouver's Blue Bus union files labour relations complaint

An arbitrated settlement reached in January hasn't been translated into a written agreement, the union says
North Shore transit riders wait for their bus in West Vancouver in 2019. | Mike Wakefield, North Shore News files

The union representing West Vancouver’s Blue Bus drivers has filed a complaint with the Labour Relations Board, alleging the District of West Vancouver has been dragging its feet in putting a written collective agreement into place.

The local West Vancouver bus drivers’ union was on the verge of striking in September of 2022, when the union and municipal employer agreed to have veteran arbitrator Vince Ready arbitrate a settlement.

The terms of that settlement were reached several months later, in January 2023.

Since then, wages and benefits of Blue Bus drivers and mechanics have reflected the terms of that settlement.

But the union says the district hasn’t managed to put those wages and working conditions into a formal written collective agreement that its members can access.

Cornel Neagu, president of the union, said that’s a problem, because it means drivers can’t check to see when their pay will go up on the scale and by how much.

Formalizing the agreement for both parties to sign should take just a few days, said Neagu, but instead has dragged into close to nine months.

On Friday, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 134 filed a complaint with the LRB, urging it to order the municipality to formalize the deal.

“Our expectation is that this formal action will hasten the District of West Vancouver’s compliance with the terms already agreed upon,” the union stated in a press release.

In response to the complaint, the District of West Vancouver issued a statement saying the terms of the arbitration have been in place since January and “employees who are ATU members received their wages and working conditions improvements at that time.”

According to the municipality, the collective agreement “is still in the process of being drafted.”