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SkyTrain workers' union calls strike vote ahead of scheduled talks
Published Tuesday, November 19, 2019 5:44PM PST Last Updated Tuesday, November 19, 2019 7:14PM PST
VANCOUVER – The union representing hundreds of SkyTrain workers has called a strike vote, which could pave the way for more transit disruptions in Metro Vancouver.
CUPE 7000 said members will be done voting on Thursday, and that the results will be announced shortly after.
“I want to emphasize that we are committed to reaching an agreement without any disruption to service,” union president Tony Rebelo said in a statement.
Rebelo told CTV News the union would give riders 72 hours’ notice if a strike were to happen.
The announcement comes days after negotiations between the union and the B.C. Rapid Transit Company reached an impasse.
The two sides scheduled eight days of mediated talks beginning on Nov. 28, but the union said it asked to reschedule – something either side is allowed to do – and was refused.
“We offered to meet with (the BCRTC) prior to mediation because our priority is to negotiate a fair deal,” Rebelo said. “However, the chief negotiator for the BCRTC rejected those dates, didn’t offer any alternate dates, and stated that the company will only meet us at mediation.”
The union represents about 900 SkyTrain workers, including attendants, control operators and administrators, plus maintenance and technical staff.
Their last contract expired at the end of August.
Meanwhile, bus and SeaBus operators are taking steps to ramp up their job action as early as Wednesday. Unifor is planning to make an announcement about the next phase of its strike at 11 a.m.