CAW union not on board with Maritime Bus
Drivers mull over switch to non-unionized company
After months of applications and negotiations, the Canadian Auto Workers union is coming out against the proposed regional Maritime bus service saying it will pay drivers less and cut routes for travellers.
Island-based Trius Tours said it expects to begin operating in all three provinces in early December after Acadian Bus Lines closes down its operations.
Like other drivers with Acadian Lines, Stephen Knee is near the end of the line. After five years with the company, he'll be out of work come Dec. 1.
"Actually I've been looking since August, but there's not really too much out there so I may stick with Trius," he said.
His decision is made more difficult by the fact that Trius drivers, and those with the newly announced sister company Maritimes Bus, are non-unionized.
The automakers union said those drivers also make between $2.50 and $4.50 less an hour.
"So that could deter the number of folks, but I guess it will come down to level of desperation really," said CAW national representative, Chad Johnston.
The autoworkers union stands to lose members because in the handover from Acadian Lines to the new regional bus service.
Mike Cassidy, the president of Maritime Bus, insists his company's wages will be competitive.
He said he plans to maintain Acadian's routes, with only a couple of exceptions including one in Cape Breton.
"There are two ways to enter Sydney and there was one route through St. Peter's that was done on a daily basis. In the particular situation that we are suggesting we will just be using one route into Sydney," said Cassidy.
But Johnston predicts it won't be long before the company is back before the Utility and Review Board trying to whittle down the number of runs.
"What was proposed at four runs a day becomes three, what was three becomes two, what was one they'll try to get with none," he said.
Johnston said a number of smaller shuttle services have been allowed to operate, especially in Nova Scotia. He said they pick the most lucrative runs.