Winnipeg School Division Bus Driver Strike Starts Today

At 7:00 am this morning, School Bus Drivers were at the picket line. They were ready to vote on a new offer, but since a new offer didn’t show up, they were instead picking up strike vests, arranging schedules and preparing to walk.

Bus drivers will officially start the picket line on Wednesday at 7 am. The Union has strike guidelines in place that will include social distancing and mask-wearing.

Anyone who wants to show up and show their support on the picket line is welcome, but we do ask that you contact the Union office first at 204-786-5055 and ask for Ron. COVID will bring challenges with large crowds and we want to ensure we are all being safe and respectful to one another

Picket Location: 1810 Selkirk Avenue.
Picket Times: 7 am – 5 pm (as of Wednesday, September 9, 2020)

For those who are wondering how we got to this point, you can read our FAQ below:

Why are Winnipeg School Division Bus Drivers Striking?

School Bus Drivers are incredibly frustrated with the constant increased expectations placed on them, and under COVID these demands have only increased. At the bargaining table, the School Division has pushed the terms of Bill 28 and has been non-responsive in other attempts to bargain. This Bill has been ruled as unconstitutional and violates bargaining rights. Bus drivers deserve a fair contract and fair acknowledgement for their work.

With COVID here, is now the right time to strike, what about the parents?

We feel for the families who will be impacted as there is no bus driver wouldn’t rather be driving students to school.  However, drivers are incredibly frustrated with the increased expectations placed on them

Bill 28 is the main issue here, UFCW has been able to ratify multiple other contracts with employers since the start of the pandemic, each contract has had an impact by the realities of COVID, but because we were able to sort out the issues at the bargaining table without Bill 28 as a roadblock, we were able to come to fair agreements.

Why wasn’t bargaining finished before the school year started?

The Union presented the last offer to the School Division on August 20. After not showing up for two more days of scheduled bargaining, the School Division contacted UFCW on August 28 and turned down the Union’s last offer, they did not present a new offer, and the School Division has been non-responsive to bargaining attempts since that point.

Timeline of events:

  • The Collective Agreement expired in June of 2019
  • Bargaining began in October of 2019
  • In early March 2020, Bus drivers voted unanimously to strike due to the School Division not engaging in meaningful bargaining
  • In late March/early April COVID showed up and disrupted everything including bargaining attempts, so the Union withdrew their strike deadline
  • Pallister’s Bill 28 was soundly struck-down in court back in June, being labelled as ‘draconian’ legislation and unconstitutional
  • Bargaining resumed for a single day in mid-July, when the UFCW 832 bargaining committee was handed a final offer that contained the financial terms of Bill 28
  • Bus drivers met again in the first week of August, reviewed the details and turned down the offer
  • The Pallister Government announced their appeal intention for Bill 28 on August 17
  • The Union had three days scheduled to bargain with the School Division at the end of August. The School Division was given a new offer on August 20, and the School Division did not show up for the other two days of scheduled bargaining
  • The School division contacted UFCW on August 28 and turned down the Union’s offer
  • The School division did not bring a new offer to the table
  • The Union had a meeting with the membership on September 2, where strike preparations were planned in the absence of a new offer