School buses

Stock Transportation calls witnesses in UARB hearing

Employees should no longer feel "helpless" under new management, board told

Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board member Dawna Ring presides over the review board hearing on Tuesday.   Olivia Lavery

The general manager of Stock Transportation says her company has made significant changes after being found guilty of charter-bus violations last year.

Amber Glavin appeared as a witness Tuesday before the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.

She said the violations are “not the norm,” and employees who “would’ve felt helpless” are now more aware of safety features and the company’s whistleblowing policy.

Stock Transportation general manager Amber Glavin was called as a witness at Tuesday’s hearing.   Olivia Lavery

Stock Transportation runs about 500 buses for the Halifax Regional School Board, the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial and the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board.

The three-day review board hearing will determine whether Stock will keep its licences to drive for the school boards. The company’s charter bus division was found guilty last year of a series of violations. 

Some of those violations included asking employees to work beyond legal work hours and falsifying log books.

Glavin replaced former general manager Troy Phinney in August. At Monday’s hearing, the new management team blamed him for the transgressions.

‘More honest approach’

Two other witnesses, John Cook and Terry Preeper, who testified Tuesday said Stock Transportation has been improving under the new leadership.

Cook, an employee relations officer for the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, said they now have a “more honest approach” with Stock management. 

“When I took over the locals, Mr. Phinney would have been the primary point of contact with the employer for the union,” said Cook. “He was initially unresponsive.”

Cook oversees unionized drivers and mechanics who work at Stock Transportation, and helps to negotiate with the company when employees are concerned about safety.

Preeper, an inspector with the Motor Carrier Division of the Department of Transportation, said since Phinney’s departure, he’s been happy with Stock and the Motor Carrier Division’s relationship.

“They’ve made quite a few changes,” said Preeper. “Amber is very collaborative.”

Preeper, along with a colleague, is responsible for the safety inspections of the Stock Transportation fleet. Every six months the buses are inspected and either approved as safe for driving or marked unsafe.

The hearing process will continue on Wednesday.

Dawna Ring, the presiding board member, said she is “looking forward to having a real exchange” on the final day of proceedings.