Potential Handydart Strike in the Capital Region

From Vibrant Victoria’s Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/vibrantvictoria/posts/10156021577159362)

Handydart services throughout the Capital Region may be halted come Monday.

Drivers have voted to strike if a new wage agreement is not reached over the weekend.

From the union: Greater Victoria handyDART operators and staff who provide transit to people with disabilities to go on full strike Monday morning unless new contract reached with employer First Canada; union says First Canada penalizing long-term workers by denying permanent status to avoid benefits

VICTORIA – Unionized Greater Victoria handyDART operators and staff – who provide handyDART transit service to people with disabilities – will go on full strike Monday morning unless a new contract is reached.

Unifor Local 333BC says that despite an overwhelming 97% vote to strike if necessary and lengthy negotiations, employer First Canada continues to want to penalize operators who work full-time but are being denied permanent status to avoid them receiving the benefits other operators receive.

“We deeply regret the obvious inconvenience and disruption that job action will mean for people with disabilities who depend on handyDART but our members have done all they can to reach a negotiated settlement – and First Canada insists on treating many of our members as second-class citizens,” says Unifor Local 333BC President Ben Williams, adding that while others issues are outstanding, the union feels they can be resolved in talks.

“We remain hopeful a new contract that treats all workers fairly can be reached before Monday morning and we will meet through the weekend if necessary – but without a tentative collective agreement there will be a full-scale strike,” Williams said.

The union and First Canada will respect previous essential service designations to provide very limited transit in the event of a strike, Williams added.

“We encourage all handyDART riders to contact BC Transit, contact First Canada and contact their MLA to express their support for treating transit operators fairly and settling this dispute,” Williams said. “Our members have excellent and longtime relationships with many of their riders and a strike is truly a last resort but we have to reach a new deal now.”