Waterloo Region Record
By Record Staff
March 27, 2017
WATERLOO REGION — Transit services will continue after Grand River Transit unionized workers failed to vote in favour of a tentative agreement, the union says.
A vote held Monday night yielded a split result, with one of the two groups of employees in the local rejecting the tentative deal.
Unifor Local 4304 represents 644 drivers, service attendants and skilled workers at Grand River Transit.
A tentative agreement was reached March 20, just hours after a strike deadline, and 343 union members voted on the deal Monday, said Tim Mitchell, a national representative with Unifor, the union that represents Grand River Transit workers.
The skilled trades workers rejected the deal, triggering a process to re-examine the contract as it applies to those workers, he said.
Talks will continue to address the unresolved issues that affect those workers, both the union and the region said.
“We’re going to try and do everything we can to resolve this without a labour dispute,” Mitchell said. “I’m always optimistic that we’ll be able to reach a solution, but they’re unionized workers and at the end of the day they have the right to the final decision via a secret vote.”
The Region of Waterloo said it was prepared to return to the bargaining table to hear which issues are still unresolved, said Mike Murray, chief administrator at the region.
“I think the appropriate place to discuss these issues is at the bargaining table,” Murray said, adding that he expects the region and the union to sit down to talk later this week.
“We’ll look forward to hearing from them, and in the meantime transit service continues. Our goal has been and continues to be to negotiate a new collective agreement that is fair to our employees and fair to taxpayers.”
If a new tentative agreement cannot be reached, Unifor says it will give the public 48 hours’ notice before any job action, including a strike.
Workers have been without a contract since Jan. 1.