York Region Transit workers reject tentative settlement

York Region Transit workers could potentially be on strike in Vaughan on Monday after their union rejected a tentative settlement with their contracted employers, Veolia Transportation.

Originally the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 had reached a settlement with their contracted employers, but the bus drivers have turned down the offer. Bob Kinnear, president of ATU 113, said in a press release that he wants Veolia to provide more for their workers before a strike can start.

“Veolia is now reaping the consequences of their poor treatment of their employees,” said Kinnear in a press release. “To get a settlement they must not only improve their offer but demonstrate a sincere willingness to finally show respect for the people who provide a valuable service to York Region.”

If the work force were to go on strike, it would mean 24 routes could shut down, affecting roughly 28,000 commuters.

Jason Cowgill, a caretaker for the York Region District School Board, uses the YRT for transportation to get to work and doesn’t want to see a strike happen.

“It would mean I have to wake up at least an hour and a half to two hours earlier,”  he said. “Really my only choices (for transportation) would be riding my bike in this nice cool weather or walking.”

But York Region Transit doesn’t want a potential strike to throw a wrench into commuter’s travel plans. YRT General Manager Richard Leary says he’s getting ready for the possibility of the strike by keeping customers informed. Any routes affected by the strike will be taken off of the YRT’s online trip planner. All VIVA buses services are still scheduled to run.

“We’re hopeful that the mutual outcome is able to happen,” Leary said. “But you prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”

The ATU 113 will return to negotiating over the weekend with Veolia Transportation to settle a new agreement.

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