I feel a storm brewing…and it’s not going to be a short one.
We have BC paramedics being forced back to work by a government minister so unscrupulous that he would sell off surgery spots – most likely in violation of the Canada Health Act – while thousands off people are waiting for surgery and treatment.
We have BC steelworkers who are angered by the provinces decision to award the BC place retractable roof contract to an out of province firm.
We have health care workers who are screaming at the latest move by Fraser Health to cut back even more services and staff, putting both patients and staff at risk.
And whatever you do, don’t forget about the HandyDart employees who are currently on strike in a labour dispute with their employer, MVT Canadian Bus Inc. – a subsidiary of MV Transportation Inc.
I received a letter from a HandyDart worker last night, who has given me permission to publish it, and I think that these workers deserve some credit. Driving a HandyDart bus is not like driving a regular bus. The patients are often very ill, infirm, disabled or otherwise unable to use the regular transit system to get to treatments or appointments. As such, the passengers require a lot of special care and treatment,not only with loading and unloading, but with timeliness of pick-up and drop-offs. The decision to strike was not made lightly because of these customers, but at the same time, the workers must stand up for their positions.
Here is what one employee has to say:
I am a HandyDART employee. I have almost 15 years invested in helping keeping the clients moving. I have been a driver, a trainer, a booking clerk and a scheduler. Each job requires hard work and dedication to helping with the transportation needs of the clients.
We were happy in our work and the clients were happy with HandyDART until MVT came to Canada. Ever since MVT took over, the service has gone downhill.
The unrealistic expectations of MVT have created a system that is constantly running late, having passengers on board for far too long and often getting clients late to their appointments.
The seamless system they promised still has many passengers having to deal with transfers and being forced to travel at times they don’t want.
MVT wants to contract out my job. MVT doesn’t want to guarantee I will get full time hours, even though I am a full time permanent employee.
MVT does not want us to have a pension plan.
MVT is trying to make money off the backs of Canadian taxpayers while at the same time trying to take away the livelihood of some Canadian workers.
HandyDART is a taxpayer-funded custom public transportation system.
MVT is an American for Profit Company….where do you think Canadian tax dollars are going? The USA; that’s where.
We need a swift resolution to the labour dispute so that our clients can resume going to their programs and appointments and the workers can get back to doing the jobs they love.
MVT seems determined to squeeze every penny from the Canadians they can at the expense of you and me, the Canadian tax payer, HandyDART rider and HandyDART worker.
The workers are not the perpetrators of the current situation. We are fighting to keep our jobs, keep our benefits, resume a pension plan that MVT took away, and earn a living wage.
We need the public to put pressure on TransLink to find a resolution to this problem. TransLink decided to award community a based service to an American company who has no interest in you, me or the community in which we live.
Their only interests are statistics and money.
Please. Help us to help you.
Clearly, there is a lot of discontent among many BC workers. Lay-offs, lack of job security, low pay… the list goes on. Non-unionized workers are having to slog it out as well, with hundreds of applicants all slogging it out for the same $8.00 an hour job. The people can only take so much heat before the pot boils over, and I’ve heard more than a few suggestions of a general strike. I’ve heard other suggestions of boycotting companies and businesses that support the Liberal government.
Throughout all of this, one thing is clear to me.
The people are speaking. Loudly.
The question is – Will the government listen?