Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Pickets at Brandywine Falls

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RM Pickets at Brandywine Falls, originally uploaded by Stephen Rees.

Rocky Mountaineer attendants have been locked out. RM hired replacement workers and then ordered off the attendants part way through their trip on June 22, 2011.

The 108 locked out On Board Attendants are members of Teamsters Local 31. They were in negotiation for overtime beginning after 11 hours (some shifts are 16 hours or longer) improvements to health and welfare benefits and wage increases.

In today’s Vancouver Courier Peter Armstrong, CEO of Rocky Mountaineer Vacations complains about the COPE Councillors who have urged him to return to the bargaining table. Armstrong is chairperson of the NPA’s election campaign and accuses the COPE Councillors of “using my employees as a bit of a pawn”.

We did not take the train to Whistler as a round trip would have cost us more than the three night’s accommodation. RM has enough money to completely rebrand its trains including new paint for every car and loco. RM has a very high reputation as “The World’s Leading Travel Experience by Train” and the role of the on board attendants is central to that.

The company is privately held so I’m not able to comment on its profitability but given its rate of expansion and the high level of its revenues, it does not seem to be short of a few dollars. How it spends them is another matter. In a customer service based business the quality of the staff is paramount.

The staff of RM are not pawns of COPE Councillors by any means, but by his actions Peter Armstrong has shown that he is anything but “Non-partisan”. He is playing straight out of the neo-conservative playbook. Perhaps not surprisingly since the only people who can afford his services are the very small percentage of people at the top end of the personal income scales who have been doing very well since the Thatcher/Regan revolution started.

Written by Stephen Rees

July 29, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Posted in Transportation

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