“Fix It, Fund It, and Make It Fair”.
That is the slogan for ATU Local 1722 union workers as they officially take to the picket line on the morning of Oct. 5, creating a full work stoppage for Kelowna transit.
The union and its employer, First Transit, made a last-ditch effort to come to an agreement by returning to the bargaining table on Oct. 4, though Local 1722 President Al Peressini believes that no deal will be completed in time.
“We will try to keep them at the bargaining table, negotiating in good faith as long as it takes, but we don’t have high hopes that they care enough to bring us or this community the respect we deserve…although it isn’t inevitable, we, unfortunately, believe that we will be on the picket line tomorrow.”
The union has escalated their job action over the past eight weeks, including the ditching of uniforms and not charging riders. A full walk-off-the-job was announced in late September, if the Oct. 4 talks did not produce a new deal.
Peressini believes that the strike could be avoided if BC Transit ended their contract with First Transit, an internationally-based company.
“The money that we send overseas to line their profit margin can fix many of the problems that we face here. That’s taxpayer money, and we want it to stay in Kelowna and be invested in the transit system we are all paying for.”
Local 1722 will be hosting a press conference at 8a.m. on Oct. 5 from their Hardy Street yard, where members will be picketing.