Unionized Kelowna transit drivers have voted 97 per cent in favour to approve a strike vote. (File photo)

Unionized Kelowna transit drivers have voted 97 per cent in favour to approve a strike vote. (File photo)

Kelowna transit drivers ditching uniforms while job action starts, but will be on the road

‘Enough of the disrespect’ says union president to First Transit

Transit buses in Kelowna will be running tomorrow (Sep. 2), but drivers will be involved in job action against First Transit.

Drivers will not be wearing their uniforms, and instead will wear union t-shirts in a show of solidarity between the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1722 represents drivers.

“First Transit’s executives are always welcome to return to the table and restart negotiations with a respectful, realistic offer for us,” said Al Peressini, union president. “While we have a good cause and a mandate from our members to strike, we are exercising restraint and taking this job action to ensure our riders are aware of the severity of the crisis before service is impacted.”

Peressini appealed to the public to get involved.

“We’re sick of seeing clients stranded on the side of the road when they need to get to work and school. We’re sick of hearing about the elderly and people with disabilities stranded at home because First Transit can’t retain employees with these pitiful wages.”

Peressini also noted that the union cares for riders, and hoped people would “communicate their concern for this broken transit system to city hall and the province.

The union and First Transit began negotiations in February, and drivers have been without a contract since March.

“Our hard-working members working for Kelowna Regional Transit have had enough of the disrespect. This job action is to educate our riders and the public that our transit system needs to be fixed and show our members are strong and united,” added Peressini.

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@GaryBarnes109
gary.barnes@kelownacapnews.com

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