Talks continue between Grand River Transit, Unifor as strike looms

A Grand River Transit bus travels down Krug Street in Kitchener during a winter storm. Kevin Nielsen / Global News / File

Negotiations continue between Unifor and the Region of Waterloo in an attempt to avoid a strike at midnight but the president of the union representing Grand River Transit employees told reporters Monday that the two sides are far apart.

“We have already had some preliminary discussions and the objective is to get a deal,” Unifor President Jerry Dias said.

“Our objective is to get a deal and to be sure that commuters in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge have a way to get to work tomorrow but it takes two to come to an agreement so as we sit here now, we are still miles apart.”

READ MORE: Region, Unifor to meet throughout weekend in hopes avoiding Grand River Transit strike

The transit workers will be in a legal strike position as of 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. Dias said that deadline will be pushed back until 2 a.m. to accommodate those who need to get home on Monday night.

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“We’re going to make sure that all of our customers are taken care of and those that are requiring transit will get taken home safely tonight,” he said.

A region spokesperson confirmed that talks are expected to take place late into Monday night.

They suggested that commuters watching for news should keep an eye on the region’s social media channels which will start pushing out updates later Monday.

Commuters can also call the GRT Information Line at 519-585-7555 (Deaf and Hard of Hearing (TTY): 519-585-7796) for information on the status of transit services.

READ MORE: Grand River Transit bus drivers in position to strike next Tuesday, Region of Waterloo says

If there is a strike, the region said, service will be disrupted on conventional buses as well as Bus Plus and MobilityPLUS services.

According to the region, “every effort will be made to provide transportation for pre-scheduled dialysis trips. MobilityPLUS customers can continue to use TaxiScrip services provided by Kiwanis Transit.”

ION trains will continue to run, although if there are any service disruptions, there will be no shuttle buses.

The region has created a page to help you plan on how to get around in the event of a strike.

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It suggests carpooling, walking, cycling and taxi or ridesharing services as alternative means to get around in Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo.

The region also suggests asking your boss about the possibility of working from home.

GO Bus, Coach Canada and Greyhound will continue to offer their bus services in Kitchener and Waterloo as well.

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