A transit strike could still be in the future for the region’s bus riders, including those using Elmira’s route 21 to Waterloo, as workers failed to ratify a deal reached between their union and Waterloo Region.
Regional council hadn’t yet voted on the deal.
What happens next is still up in the air, but the region isn’t expecting any service disruptions. Chief administrative officer Mike Murray says they are prepared.
“We always have strike contingency plans in place, yes,” he said.
The 644 Grand River Transit workers have been without a contract since December. Having reached a tentative deal, Local 4304 president Rick Lonergan was optimistic this week’s vote would ratify the agreement, but such was not the case.
Before the agreement was reached, Local 4304 workers voted 98 per cent in favour of a strike if a deal wasn’t reached.
Those at the region still aren’t sure what happened with the vote. Murray said they will have to reopen lines of communication.
“It is likely that we will meet with the union representatives sometime this week to try and better understand what the reasons were for their non-ratification. We actually don’t have that information yet. We need to meet with them, find out what the issues are and find out if they are solvable,” he said Tuesday.
The union is still legally able to go on strike despite the tentative deal, but are required to give the region two days’ notice before doing so.
The GRT has 66,000 riders daily, and according to 2013 numbers, has 350 passengers on Elmira’s route 21 to Conestoga Mall and back, through St. Jacobs.