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15 Things You Should Know (and Share!) About the TransLink Strike



Did you know...


15. Bus drivers have been driving without a contract since March.


And while TransLink is quick to place blame on the union for walking away from the table...


14. The bus drivers' union attended 29 bargaining sessions prior to the strike.


And much like bus drivers...


13. SkyTrain workers have been working without a contract since August.


And you'd be right in guessing...


12. The SkyTrain workers' union has attended 40 bargaining sessions since May.


Did you also know...


11. Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto bus drivers all earn higher wages than Vancouver bus drivers.


All across Canada, bus drivers earn an average of $3 more per hour than Vancouver bus drivers, though Vancouver consistently records a higher cost of living. However...


10. TransLink executives rejected the legitimacy of a wage comparison between Canadian bus drivers, yet used Canadian comparisons to justify raises for executives only a few months before.


In August, regarding TransLink executive salary raises, the Vancouver Sun reported:


"To come up with the ranges, executive pay at TransLink was compared to nine Canadian transportation organizations, including transit agencies in Montreal and Toronto, B.C. Transit, B.C. Ferries, and Vancouver International Airport Authority... 'we felt it was important to compare apples to apples — that compensation for the senior leaders in the organization reflect that of other similar organizations'"


In fact...


9. TransLink's executives approved double-digit raises for themselves only three months before the strike.


The CEO, for example, received a 26% raise ($107,000 increase from his total salary in 2018).


Indeed...


8. TransLink's CEO earns a higher annual salary than Canada's Prime Minister.


TransLink's CEO earns a minimum of nearly $407,000 and a maximum of $517,000 annually. The Prime Minister of Canada earns $357,800 annually.


7. Combined, all six senior TransLink executives earn a minimum of $1,679,529 annually.


Meanwhile...


6. Coast Mountain Bus Company pays employees less than TransLink proper.


Coast Mountain Bus Company, a subsidiary of TransLink, is technically a private-sector employer and pays skilled tradespeople nearly $3 an hour less than their counterparts at TransLink proper, which is considered a public sector employer.


As for drivers...


5. TransLink entrusts drivers with 120 lives and a half-a-million-dollar bus every day but publicly refers to them as unskilled workers.


Did you also know...


4. It takes two years for bus drivers to build up to a top wage of $32.61 per hour.


And, as much as TransLink invokes its public-service-first expansion plans to reject 'expensive' union demands, job actions have exposed that...


3. TransLink cannot function without overtime.


Could this be a sign of a broken system? Maybe one not prepared to expand?


Two more important things to keep in mind:


2. Recovery time is for the bus, not the operator.


So when TransLink says it is willing to lengthen recovery times, this still does not guarantee food or bathroom breaks for the drivers. Yes, the words in contracts matter.


And in case you had any doubts...


1. Drivers don’t enjoy being late either.


So next time you hear someone tell a driver, "You're late!" remind them that (1) they already know, and (2) nobody purposefully sets themselves up to be treated poorly stop after stop. If bus drivers could be spot-on and pick up happy passengers at every stop, they would.


In short, nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Make an effort to understand both sides, practice a little patience, and always be kind.