Grand River Transit workers threaten to strike Monday
Union says working conditions and heavy-handed management at issue, not wages
Hundreds of unionized Grand River Transit drivers, service attendants and fleet mechanics have threatened to walk off the job on Monday, potentially paralyzing a regional public transit system 66,000 people depend on daily.
"The public should prepare to find alternate means of transportation," Grand River Transit said in a news release published Thursday evening, noting Grand River Transit buses, BusPlus, Mobility Plus and public bus terminals would be affected by the walkout.
Emergency trips to be accommodated
Some exceptions will be made, the region's chief administrative officer Mike Murray told CBC K-W Friday morning.
"There would basically be no conventional transit service and basically no Mobility Plus service. We would try and accommodate urgent Mobility Plus trips for dialysis patients."
Murray said the cost to patients for those emergency trips would be the same as if Grand River Transit were running as usual.
Money not an issue
The labour showdown between both sides comes after a tentative three-year contract was rejected by workers represented by Unifor Local 4304 earlier this week.
The deal would have given Grand River Transit's 644 workers a wage increase of six per cent over the course of the three-year contract.
However, the union said in a tweet early Monday that working conditions and "heavy-handed management practices" are driving workers to call for a strike, not money.
Working conditions and heavy-handed management practices, not wages, are driving strike by <a href="https://twitter.com/UniforLocal4304">@UniforLocal4304</a> ... <a href="https://t.co/BaxmA91miD">https://t.co/BaxmA91miD</a>—@UniforLocal4304
"When workers vote to strike over working conditions, you know that the situation is toxic," Unifor National Representative Tim Mitchell, wrote on the local's Facebook page early Friday morning.
"It's a very serious issue that can't be resolved until GRT takes our members concerns seriously."
Job action by Unifor Local 4304 is set to begin at 5 a.m. on Monday April 3, 2017.