Sea to Sky transit operators may go on strike if pay disparities cannot be resolved between Unifor Local 114 and BC Transit by Jan. 28.
If a deal cannot be agreed upon, transit operators in Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton will strike, according to a news release from Unifor. Unifor Local 114 represents more than 80 transit workers in the Sea to Sky Corridor.
While Unifor officially filed a 72-hour notice of job action, Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor’s western regional director told Pique Newsmagazine the union wanted to give the public ample notice of a potential strike, with an actual deadline to strike a deal set for 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 28.
“Whistler’s transit operators do the same job as operators in Vancouver or Victoria. It’s only fair to close the gap for Whistler wages,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President, in the news release. “Whistler’s skyrocketing housing costs have raised the stakes for our members and have left them little choice but to draw a line in the sand with this employer.”
The same union held a strike in August 2021 and its sticking points are still wage discrepancies, job security, pension and lack of benefit coverage for 40% of the unit.
BC Transit sent a news release to The Squamish Chief to inform riders in Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton that it received the 72-hour strike notice.
The release said the strike has the “potential to disrupt transit services and our customers’ ability to use the public transit services.”
However, the release noted that the handyDART service in Squamish would operate with full service on weekdays since it is deemed an essential service.
BC Transit wrote they will update customers when there is more information available.
BC Transit operates the transit service in Whistler and Pemberton under a contract with Whistler Transit LTD and in Squamish with Diversified Transit.