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Grand River Transit workers reject deal, strike underway

Workers with Grand River Transit have rejected a tentative agreement from the Region of Waterloo and are on strike as of Monday.

Buses continued to run until regular service ended at 3 a.m. Monday. Services for GRT, busPLUS, and MobilityPLUS stopped after that.

Riders will now have to find another way to get around.


A tentative agreement was reached Saturday between the region and UNIFOR Local 4304, which represents 650 transit operators and nearly 90 skill trades people, including GRT drivers, mechanics, vehicle service attendants, dispatchers, reservationists, fleet mechanics and service attendants.

A strike could have been averted if it passed a member vote on Sunday.

Shortly before 10 p.m., both the region and UNIFOR announced that the agreement was not ratified and workers were now in a legal strike position.

All bus service, including MobilityPLUS and busPLUS, will not run on Monday and customer service locations will be closed.

The LRT will continue to operate as usual as it’s maintained and operated by Keolis.

“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 Sunday’s media release. “The region is committed to reaching an agreement and we remain open to discussions with the union. We appreciate that customers rely on transit on a daily basis and we will continue to update customers and residents with information as soon as it becomes available.”

Picketers are seen outside the Grand River Transit Operations Centre on Strasburg Road on May 1, 2023. (Chris Thomson/CTV Kitchener)

CTV News also reached out to UNIFOR Local 4304. They said: "The membership has spoken and rejected the tentative agreement. Scheduling, work-life balance and wages are all major issues. We are looking to resolve this as quickly as possible in order to continue to serve the public."

Unifor and the region have been meeting daily since April 17.

"I actually don't know how I am going to get to work tomorrow," one GRT rider told CTV News Sunday night. "It's going to affect me a lot.

"I heard the train is still running. Riding my bike is my other option."

Updates on the status of transit services can be found on the GRT website.

Picketers are seen outside the Grand River Transit Operations Centre on Strasburg Road on May 1, 2023. (Chris Thomson/CTV Kitchener)

In a tweet Monday morning, United Taxi in Kitchener said it would be providing free transportation on Monday and Tuesday to dialysis patients going to and from Grand River Hospital and Freeport hospital due to the transit strike.


In 2020, GRT workers had a tentative agreement on the table but it was rejected in a vote. This led to buses not running for nearly two weeks.

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