ABBOTSFORD—In votes held after membership meetings today, CUPE 561 transit workers have ratified a mediated settlement with First Transit, ending a strike that began 124 days ago. Picket lines are being taken down, and the 213 transit workers will begin the return-to-work process.
The six-year agreement, which ends on March 31, 2026, narrows the wage gap with other transit workers in the region while introducing a pension plan that takes effect next spring. The union says it’s a step in the right direction and recognizes the importance of these members’ work.
“Our members needed a lift, and with this agreement they got one,” said CUPE 561 President Randy Kootte.
“Special Mediator Vince Ready’s recommendations were a fair compromise, providing us with a foundation for future rounds of bargaining. By ratifying this memorandum of settlement, the members agree that this contract is a good start in addressing their concerns.”
As well as appreciating the Special Mediator’s efforts, Kootte thanked Fraser Valley residents for their constant support of the union’s bargaining goals from the beginning of the strike.
“We cannot thank our communities enough for supporting us in our struggle to achieve wage fairness and retirement security—and showing that support despite the many hardships and inconveniences people had to endure as the dispute dragged on,” he said.
Kootte added that the union will do everything it can to quickly resume service in the Fraser Valley and will work with the employer to make sure that buses are running as soon as possible.