Newly hired drivers of garbage, recycling and yard waste pickup trucks in the Central Okanagan have voted to unionize.
The drivers who operate the curbside pickup service from Oyama through to Peachland have joined the Teamsters.
The union is now bargaining with E360S, the Toronto-based company that won a seven-year contract to manage the service, effective last June.
“No service disruptions are anticipated. E360S has successfully negotiated similar agreements and they are optimistic they will reach a satisfactory first collective agreement with their employees,” regional district communications director Jodie Foster wrote in a report considered Thursday by board members.
Directors received the report with little comment.
Local governments in the Central Okanagan will pay E360S $36 million to run the curbside pickup program for the next seven years. It was one of five companies that bid on the job, and its tender was the lowest received.
The previous service provider, Kelowna-based OK Environmental Waste Systems, employed about 30 drivers. Many of them accepted jobs with E360S despite being offered lower wages.
“I was making $28 an hour, but they’ve offered $23.50,” one driver, who wanted to remain anonymous, told The Daily Courier in early May.
“It’s a bit of a slap in the face, and for me it works out to about $9,000 less a year,” the driver said.
One of the main investors in E360S is Paul Coffey, a former player with the Edmonton Oilers and eight other NHL teams between 1980 and 2001.