– HandyDart workers reject offer

CBC News

HandyDart workers in Metro Vancouver have voted overwhelmingly in favour of rejecting a final offer from their employer that would have ended job action.

The strike is stretching into its second week, leaving thousands of people who rely on the service stranded.

The HandyDart service provides door-to-door public transit around B.C. for people with mobility impairments, but the dispute applies only to union workers in the Metro Vancouver area.

On Friday, HandyDart workers voted 409 to 24 against the offer from their employer, MVT Canadian Bus.

Zdenka Buric, who speaks for MVT Canadian Bus, said the company is disappointed the majority of employees turned down to its last offer.

Buric said it’s now up to the union to get talks back on track.

“Well, we are waiting now for a counter-offer from the union, and once that happens we will be back at it.”

According to union officials, there were several serious shortcomings in the offer.

Tyler Felbel, who speaks for the union, is also critical of the region’s public transportation system, TransLink, for contracting out the service to MVT Canadian Bus in the first place.

“You know, this is TransLink’s mess. They always try to wash their hands of it, but they’re the ones who took this contract away from the non-profit societies that have been operating it for the last 30 years,” Felbel said.

“The ATU has never taken a strike in Vancouver and we have been representing members since 1981 here.”

Felbel said the union hopes to sit down with the company next week and discuss a counter-offer.

Key issues include staff benefits and the treatment of casual employees.

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