Canada Line union workers' contract expires in 3 weeks

The 150 Canada Line employees work under the BC Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU)

Photo: Canada Line / TransLink

While a full SkyTrain system shutdown could have taken place this week, a tentative agreement was reached between CUPE 7000, the union representing 900 SkyTrain workers, and the BC Rapid Transit Company.

Prior to that, Unifor, the union representing bus operators and transit maintenance workers, stated that it would proceed with a complete system shutdown for three days. However, Unifor reached an agreement with Coast Mountain Bus Company mere hours before the strike was set to begin. 

Now, the Canada Line workers' contract is set to expire at the end of December 2019.

The 150 Canada Line employees work under the BC Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU), which has a collective agreement with ProTrans BC. ProTrans BC, a subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin Inc., is the private operator of the Canada Line under a 31-year operations and maintenance contract. The BCGEU represents over 80,000 members in 550 bargaining units in the private sector and public services.

The collective agreement between ProTrans BC and BCGEU is effective from Jan. 1, 2014 through Dec. 31, 2019. However, when the contract expires, the union will continue to work under the conditions of the agreement until a new one is made. 

Vancouver Is Awesome spoke to a representative from BCGEU regarding the contract, and they explained that union members don't have any updates to report at this time. Since the contract doesn't expire until the end of the month, negotiations aren't underway. What's more, the representative stated that they might not begin bargaining right away. 

With this in mind, if the Canada Line workers were to proceed the strike action, the Lower Mailand would see thousands of customers displaced. With speeds of up to 80 kilometres per hour, the Canada Line train can accommodate up to 400 passengers. In total, the line sees 150,000 boardings on an average weekday. 

As one of the largest Public-Private Partnerships in Canadian history, the Canada Line offers transit capacity equivalent to a whopping 10 major road lanes. Originally scheduled for completion and service commencement for Nov. 30, 2009, the network opened its doors to the public, on budget, and more than 3 months ahead of schedule on Mon., Aug. 17, 2009.

In 2015, the Canada Line workers voted in favour of strike action, but they were able to reach an agreement with ProTrans BC before the deadline. 

Vancouver Is Awesome