Pontiac June 18, 2023
Striking school bus drivers have voted against a tentative agreement between their union and their employer, Autobus Lasalle.
Bus drivers, represented by the Teamsters union, on Sunday voted 55 per cent against an agreement that would have seen the end of the strike that has been ongoing since early May.
Director of Communications for the Teamsters union Marc-André Gauthier explained that while many union representatives and members found the tentative agreement to be “a good offer in terms of salary”, securing a guarantee of unemployment insurance for the upcoming summer remains a sticking point for drivers.
School bus drivers often find themselves out of work during summer months as daily transportation for students is not needed. With Teamsters union school bus drivers having been on strike and therefore considered not to be working, as of now many will not be eligible to receive unemployment benefits this summer.
“Right now, if they were to return to work, it would be without a job, of course, because the school year is over. So they won’t be able to get unemployment because they haven’t qualified. So what they said yesterday was ‘we will sign the agreement with the employer only if we can get a guarantee from the government or from the company that they will be either eligible for unemployment insurance or receive at least some compensation’,” Gauthier said.
Gauthier said that the union is in contact with the federal government on the matter and that he is optimistic a deal will be reached in the near future.
“I’m not surprised knowing the reality that they rejected the offer,” Gauthier said.
“I just want to welcome the offer that Autobus Lasalle made since it’s the first time we’ve had an offer in these long eight weeks,” Gauthier concluded, explaining that the situation is moving in the right direction.
Autobus Lasalle could not be reached for comment.
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