BC Transit Puts Collective Agreement at Risk by Reneging on Promise

February 14, 2013

British Columbia – BC Transit has put a tentative collective agreement with one of their unions in jeopardy by reneging on a promise made at the bargaining table, says the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, Local 378 (MoveUP). MoveUP represents 122 people at BC Transit; its members include safety and training officers, fleet inspectors, planners, schedulers, marketing coordinators and administrative support staff who support BC Transit’s province-wide fleet.

MoveUP and BC Transit reached a tentative collective agreement on February 1, 2013. The union immediately scheduled meetings for its membership to vote on the agreement and recommended acceptance.

But on February 11, 2013, the day before the first union meeting, BC Transit told the union they were reneging on a promise made at the bargaining table. The promise was to pay receipted amounts for travel expenditures – as outlined in Article 17.06 of the collective agreement – instead of insisting union members receive a per diem only.

“It’s shocking,” said MoveUP Vice-President Heather Lee. “BC Transit looked us in the eye and made a promise: they would abide by the language in the collective agreement and that we would have a letter to that effect. They have broken their promise and broken our trust.”

The union launched a grievance last year about receipted meals. When BC Transit contacted the union to say they would not honour their promise they also said they would be letting the grievance proceed to arbitration.

“I don’t get it,” continued Lee. “They would rather spend potentially thousands of dollars on a costly, drawn-out arbitration proceeding rather than take care of receipted meals for travelling employees. It’s the definition of penny-wise, pound-foolish. Have Christy Clark and her government taken their eyes off public sector bargaining? Taxpayer money should be spent more wisely.” 

MoveUP will be filing a bargaining in bad faith complaint against BC Transit with the BC Labour Relations Board. The union has also cancelled all collective agreement ratification meetings with their members.

“We’re going sit down with our members and talk about solutions. The easiest fix would be for BC Transit to come back to the collective agreement we had already agreed to,” said Lee. “Our trust in BC Transit and Christy Clark’s bargaining mandate has been badly shaken. We feel as though we’ve been thrown under the bus.”

A full list of communities served by BC Transit can be found here: http://www.transitbc.com/regions/default.cfm


Media Contact:

Communications Director Sage Aaron