Winnipeg School Division bus drivers win fair wage package

Not only has the pandemic got parents stressed about their kids returning to school, but getting them there is stressing them out.

Bus drivers with the Winnipeg School Division won a fair wage package from an arbitrator.

This news comes after the drivers went on strike in September following months of negotiations between the school division and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 832 (UFCW), the union representing the drivers.

According to the UFCW, the drivers spent nearly 90 days on the picket lines. CTV News Winnipeg previously reported the main issue was Bill-28 or the Public Sector Sustainability Act (PSSA), which the Manitoba government passed in 2017, but never proclaimed into law.

In June 2020, a Manitoba judge ruled against Bill 28, and the province is appealing the decision.

“Bus drivers went on strike last fall to stand up against the PSSA, and we’re incredibly proud of these members for standing up and fighting for what’s right,” said Bea Bruske, secretary-treasurer for UFCW Local 832, in a news release.

“Without the dark cloud of the PSSA hanging over bargaining, and the School Division’s games at the bargaining table, a strike would have easily been avoided.”

Under the new collective bargaining agreement, the drivers will get a two per cent raise in the first year of the collective agreement and a 0.75 per cent raise in the second year.

Since the bus drivers’ initial collective bargaining agreement expired in June 2019, the new agreement has a full retro pay back to June 2019.

The new collective bargaining agreement expires in August 2021.

The union said it looks forward to going to back to the bargaining table in a few months to work towards a fair deal for the 95 drivers it represents.

The WSD said it has received the arbitration notification and it is being reviewed.