Residents of the region who rely on public transit have been finding alternatives this week as a strike by Grand River Transit workers kept the buses from rolling.
The buses have been parked since Monday, forcing some people to scramble.
While a tentative agreement had been reached over the weekend between the Region of Waterloo and Unifor Local 4304, union members voted to reject the deal, opting to hit the pavement instead.
“The membership has spoken and rejected the tentative agreement,” said Brendan Burke, president of Unifor Local 4304. “Scheduling/work-life balance and wages are the major issues. We are looking to resolve this as quickly as possible in order to continue to serve the public. There are currently no new dates for bargaining but the union remains willing and open to talk at any time.”
The strike includes all members of Unifor Local 4304, representing Grand River Transit and Mobility PLUS operators, MobilityPLUS reservationists, fleet mechanics and service attendants.
All GRT and MobilityPLUS buses are off the road, and customer service centres are closed. ION trains continue to operate, however.
“Despite an offer that was competitive for GRT staff and affordable for residents, unfortunately we were not able to reach an agreement,” the region said in a statement. “The region is committed to reaching an agreement and we remain open to discussions with the union.”
It is unclear when the strike will be over, and no new bargaining dates have been scheduled as of press time.
Those affected by the lack of service are reacting in different ways to the situation.
In one post directed at the Region of Waterloo, one Twitter user wrote, “Give GRT workers a fair deal so they can go back to their crucially important work!”
Another Twitter user wrote, “This is absolutely ridiculous they did this 3 years ago and again now. It’s so selfish like – thanks GRT for potentially screwing a ton of people out of work. What a joke”