Coast Mountain Bus – Third Party Picketing
February 24, 2023
To: All MoveUP members at Coast Mountain Bus
As some of you may be aware CUPE Local 561 has been in bargaining with First Transit, the employer who operates the transit system in the Fraser Valley.
Bargaining has reached an impasse and there will be limited picketing at Lougheed Transit Centre from 6:00 am until 8:00 pm on Monday, February 27, and Tuesday, February 28. We attended an informal hearing at the Labour Relations Board last Tuesday and a strike coordinating meeting at the BC Federation of Labour earlier today. We have been advised that through mutual agreement the picket lines will be set up in a way that won’t impact our members, but as we all know, things can change.
Accordingly, we wanted to send out the following information to our members as a reminder about how to handle the possibility of a picket line.
At MoveUP, we take great pride in working with and supporting our fellow unions when they encounter struggles with the employers during their collective bargaining process. We will stand with our union family to bring the strength and solidarity as they fight for their employee rights to better working conditions. When we share the workplace with a striking union, their fight often benefits our members directly. Job action is always the last resort and, while we don’t like to be on the picket line, sometimes we need to show the employer how valuable the workers are and that we will fight for our rights!
Here are some helpful facts should we need to support our brothers and sisters of another union on a picket line:
How Do I Tell If It’s a Picket Line?
Should you arrive for work and see people wearing picket signs, it’s a picket line. Please do not seek any backdoor access to your workplace, you will be considered to have crossed the picket line. Please search for a job steward or other MoveUP members to receive your instructions or call the MoveUP office.
Do Not Cross
When we stand with our brothers and sisters at other unions by refusing to cross their picket line, we put necessary pressure on their employer. You are asked to stand with your brothers and sisters on their line with the confidence that MoveUP is already protecting you from any possible discipline from your employer.
What Happens If I Cross?
Do not cross a picket line. Members of the other union will be very passionate regarding their issues and job action. While crossing a picket line you could be confronted by coworkers who will see your action as threatening their fight for fair wages, job security, workplace safety, respect, and other common strike issues. They will feel betrayed by your action and those feelings will have a lasting impact. You will be undermining their efforts to improve their working conditions and you will be undermining the solidarity we will depend on in the future to improve our working conditions.
The MoveUP Constitution (section 16.1) also allows for a member to bring a charge against another member for crossing a picket line (ours or another union’s) within six months of the witnessed crossing. After the charge is fully investigated via the process laid out in the constitution, the member may be subject to union discipline (section 16.4).
Will I Lose Pay or Benefits?
When you respect another union’s legal picket line, it’s as if you are on strike with MoveUP. Our local as well as your national union, COPE/SEPB, have defense funds in place to ensure any job action taken will impact our members as little as possible. More information will be provided regarding the payment amounts from the picket captains. For those members who are part time or casual employees, please gather your last three paystubs as the office will need your most current pay information. Please deliver copies of these paystubs to your job steward or union rep ASAP. MoveUP will also arrange with your employer for the continuation of your health benefits on your behalf.
Please feel free to contact your job steward with any questions, and let your comrades know that you will support their job action.
Shawn Lakusta, Union Representative
Christy Slusarenko, VP Combined Units