Nov 2, 2006

Canadian Auto Workers Local 111

Friday September 15, 2006

Transit workers’ union amazed after bus driver stops pick pocket from robbing elderly passenger and faces criticism and "corrective coaching" by Coast Mountain Bus Company for his actions

VANCOUVER – The union representing GVRD transit workers is amazed today after a bus driver who stopped a pick pocket from robbing an elderly passenger was criticized by the Coast Mountain Bus Company and faces "Corrective Coaching" for coming to the aid of the bus rider.

Steve Sutherland, President of the Canadian Auto Workers Local 111, said today a bus driver who last month spotted a thief stealing an elderly women’s wallet from her bag and intervened to stop the crime has been reprimanded by his employer and told he needs "Corrective Coaching", which can be the first stage of a disciplinary process.

"This is unbelievable – our member came to the aid of an elderly passenger by stopping a crook from getting away with her wallet and Coast Mountain Bus thinks he’s the guy who did the wrong thing!" Sutherland said. "What kind of a message is Coast Mountain sending to its customers when bus drivers who stop crimes face possible disciplinary action?"

The union intends to grieve the incident but Sutherland said management at Coast Mountain and TransLink should smarten up and reward the bus driver for being a hero instead of making him into the bad guy for doing the right thing.

"TransLink and Coast Mountain have big ads up right now saying ‘On my street we always look out for one another. It just so happens my street is the bus route’ but obviously that’s just pure spin when a driver is criticized for looking out for a passenger," Sutherland said.

The incident occurred on August 26 on a 135 Burrard Station coach heading westbound into Vancouver, while stopped at Hastings and Nanaimo Street.

The driver spotted a male passenger acting suspiciously as a female senior citizen exited the bus and questioned the suspect on his actions. After the suspect pushed past the driver to escape, the driver quickly gave a short chase. The suspect dropped the wallet and escaped. The driver picked up the wallet, spotted the victim and returned her wallet, which she did not know had been stolen from her.

For more information: Call Steve Sutherland at 604-519-1110 ext *2288 or cell 604-992-1781 or Bill Tieleman, West Star Communications, at 604-844-7827 or cell 778-896-0964.

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