Fraser Valley – Transit operators in the Fraser Valley, represented by CUPE 561, have served 72-hour strike notice to First Transit, the for-profit company that operates BC Transit services in Chilliwack, Abbotsford,and the surrounding region.
Official notice was on Monday January 30.
The drivers union, CUPE announced they would not be collecting fares on all routes in Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Mission, Agassiz and Hope on Thursday, February 2.
They plan to withhold work for two days at the end of February, excluding HandyDART.
From their media release, CUPE 561 stated: “People see BC Transit on the side of our busses and think our members are getting the same wages as other BC Transit workers—we are not,” said CUPE 561 President Jane Gibbons. “Our members make significantly less than transit workers across the Lower Mainland, with no pension plan and long hours of standby time for which they receive less than $3 per hour.”
The transit operator, First Transit, is a private American-based company and holds the contract for transit services in the region. They operate both conventional and HandyDART transit in the Fraser Valley and were the subject of a recent transit labour dispute in Kelowna in September of last year.
The parties have engaged in more than 20 days of bargaining since talks began in late Spring of 2022.
Among the major outstanding issues is wage and compensation fairness as Fraser Valley transit workers make 32% less than transit workers across the Lower Mainland.