CAW Gears up to Fight for Jobs at Gray Line

March 17, 2011, 4:20 PM EST

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Some 50 workers got their severance pay last week when Gray Line West announced that the land the maintenance terminal sits on has been sold to BC Transit.

"What is strange about the move is that they severed 40 drivers and office staff as well as the mechanics right before tourist season," says Stu Shields, national representative for the Canadian Auto Workers union who represents the 80 CAW members working at Gray Line.

Normally Gray Line should be hiring people in the next two months; not severing them, said Shields. 

Shields indicated that the union understands that changing a business to make it more attractive for sale is common practice, but busting the union should not be part of that process.  The workers at Gray Line have made the business a success, despite claims by the Rocky Mountaineer owner Armstrong Group, said Shields.

"What's worse is that local tax dollars have been spent by BC Transit to buy this land so it can sit vacant for up to five years," said Shields. "While the land sits empty, 80 workers have been tossed out of their jobs, some of them with 30 years of service or more."

Shields pledged that the union would not make it easy for the Armstrong Group or any potential buyer to break the union. He also said that the CAW will be working to transition workers into new jobs wherever possible. 

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