Unifor and Coast Mountain Bus Company reach tentative agreement

November 27, 2019 – 3:00 AM


VANCOUVER—Unifor Local 111 and 2200 have reached a tentative agreement with Coast Mountain Bus Company, ending a 26-day strike by nearly 5,000 transit workers.

“Transit workers stood up for one another and fought hard to get a fair contract,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Total service disruption was a last resort, so our members are relieved that they can return to serving the public.”

The tentative agreement, reached at 12:30 a.m., will avoid a three-day strike action during which no busses would have been on the road. Unifor members will report to work for their normal shifts on Wednesday. Details of the agreement will be made available following ratification votes happening in the coming days.

“This contract recognizes that Unifor members are the backbone of the Metro Vancouver transit system,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Western Regional Director and lead negotiator. “We look forward to being an integral part of an expanding system that keeps this region moving.”

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

Unifor maintains support for Northern Pulp ETF proposal

November 28, 2019

HALIFAX – Unifor leadership is expressing its continued support for the Northern Pulp effluent treatment facility (ETF) project currently under review with Nova Scotia Environment (NSE).

“We remain confident NSE will assess the project and come to an appropriate decision, and we trust it will be one that protects the environment, respects community concerns and supports the more than 2,700 jobs at stake across the province,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “We want our members to know we fully support them and we believe this mill can coexist in its community just as dozens of other pulp and paper mills currently do across Canada.”

Unifor submitted commentary to Nova Scotia Environment during the open consultation period, highlighting the mill’s excellent record of improved performance, the importance of keeping high-demand paper product production within the bounds of Canada’s world-leading environmental regulatory jurisdiction, and the Nova Scotia forestry sector’s reliance on Northern Pulp.

“Every time NSE has come back to the company to request information during this process, Northern Pulp has delivered,” said Linda MacNeil, Atlantic Regional Director. “If we let this mill close, the entire province loses. The last thing we need is to throw out a good proposal from the anchor of the province’s forestry sector for lack of a little clarification.”

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy, including 230 workers at Northern Pulp and more than 23,000 forestry workers from coast to coast. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

Stand up and fight back theme of B.C. Regional Council

It was a celebration of union activism as delegates representing locals from across the province participated at the B.C. Regional Council, held in Whistler November 22-24, 2019.

“For the past few decades, workers have been sold a lie, their ambitions have been held back, and their struggles have been minimized,” said Unifor Western Regional Director Gavin McGarrigle. “We need to stand up and fight back – that’s the theme of B.C. Regional Council 2019.”

McGarrigle highlighted major campaigns that the union undertook in the past year including the federal election member-to-member campaign, which was highly effective in British Columbia.

“Our member organizers came together, trained, learned how to work together…they volunteered their hearts out in targeted ridings, multiple times each week,” McGarrigle told delegates. “Unifor was there in force and we continued for every day of the campaign, speaking to our members, visiting workplaces, and volunteering.”

The members’ election campaign efforts were also praised by guest speaker Don Davies, the NDP MP for Vancouver Kingsway.

“Unifor was there for me in my campaign when I was targeted for defeat,” said Davies. “Unifor’s member-to-member campaign was visible, it was noticed, and it was a demonstrated success.”

On day two of Council, Unifor National President Jerry Dias continued the theme of fighting back and union activism.

“We can be anything we want. We can be bold, in your face, principled,” Dias told delegates. “We can push governments, we can push corporations, or we can be silent. As I look across this room I know the chances of us being silent are zero.”

Dias highlighted the union’s support of Indigenous issues as he invited members to join him on the Unifor Walk for Reconciliation on B.C.’s notorious Highway of Tears, the location of many murders and disappearances of Indigenous women.

“When we walk the highway of tears you are all joining me. We’re going to do it right – for our fellow sisters, for our members for our kids because we have to,” said Dias.

Delegates voted to pass resolutions in support of the Reconciliation Walk and to lobby the B.C. provincial government to fully adopt and implement the Calls for Justice included in the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Unifor backed up its commitment to Reconciliation with a $250,000 donation to the B.C. Aboriginal Child Care Society (BCACCS) made jointly by the Unifor Social Justice Fund and CN Rail. The funds will be used to expand an innovative speech and language development program for children across Canada.

“We know comes from people speaking up so by investing in language you are allowing our children to have the voice to make changes when they are older,” BCACCS Board President Mary Teegee told delegates as she accepted the cheque.

Delegates also passed resolutions and recommendations to end corporate control over west coast fish quotas, to call for climate change disaster assistance for fish harvesters and allied workers, to assist locals to promote “Just Transition” language in industries where CO2 emissions counts continue to rise and to lobby all levels of government to take aggressive action to combat climate change.