Tentative agreement reached for Toronto school bus drivers; strike avoided
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, April 30, 2019 7:40AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 30, 2019 10:51PM EDT
The union representing approximately 575 school bus drivers, who provide service to more than 8,000 Toronto students, has reached a tentative agreement with their employer to avoid strike action.
On Monday, the Toronto District School Board said both the public and Catholic boards in the city were informed by Stock Transportation that two unionized school bus divisions were in a legal strike position as of Thursday.
According to the TDSB, 4235 students from the Toronto Catholic District School Board and 4,105 students who attend TDSB schools would have been impacted. The majority of the schools that would have been affected are located east of Yonge Street.
However, a tentative agreement was reached on Tuesday evening.
“We’re pleased that we were able to negotiate a new collective agreement with Stock Transportation as part of Unifor’s ongoing work to ensure that school bus drivers are given both the respect and compensation that they deserve for the challenging work that they undertake each school day,” the president of the union representing the school bus drivers, Debbie Montgomery, said in a news release.
The news release said the new three-year agreement covers drivers working under two collection agreements in the Toronto east division and Toronto north division but did not provide further details.
“Details of the collective agreement will be released upon ratification, which will take place in the near future,” the news release said.
Prior to the tentative agreement being announced, a spokesperson for Unifor said the key sticking point for drivers is extra work being done before, after and in between completion of routes.
“There is a lot responsibility in this job and the drivers need to be acknowledged for what they do every day. The lowest paid people-movers in the province are school bus drivers and our responsibilities are looking after children of various ages (and) needs so that has to count for something in this situation,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery added that serious contract talks began in late March.