union station toronto

Protests at Union Station are causing major headaches for Toronto commuters

If you plan on commuting through Toronto's Union Station this afternoon, you may want to change those plans.

Ongoing labour demonstrations are gumming up the flow of traffic into and out of the busy transit hub, specifically for GO buses and the thousands of people who ride them.

Tuesday marks the fourth day in a row that unionized workers with the Toronto Terminals Railway (TTR) have gone out and physically blocked Metrolinx vehicles from passing with their bodies.

They may just be standing in the way, making it impossible for GO buses to pass through Union Station, but it's an effective action in terms of impact; thousands of commuters have been inconvenienced by delays on account of these strike actions since the protest began on Saturday.

Some 95 workers represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union (IBEW) walked off the job last Wednesday morning after failing to reach an agreement on a new contract with TTR, which describes itself as "responsible for the safe and efficient movement of trains through the entire Union Station Rail Corridor."

The workers started their Union Station demonstrations in earnest on Saturday.

"We apologize for this inconvenience. TTR union members have been picketing in front of USBT & blocking buses. Coupled with heavy post-game traffic, it's causing significant delays for our bus customers," said Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins on Twitter.

"It's a terrible inconvenience & regrettable that TTR union members would choose to impact bus customers that have nothing to do with their dispute with their employer," she said in response to another complaint.

The same thing has been happening every day, ever since, but not all the time — protesters are coming and going at at seemingly random intervals.

Demonstrators were present at Union Station this morning, but had left for an apparent lunch break by noon. It is not clear if they'll be back in time for the evening commute, which is why Metrolinx highly recommends you check ahead.

"Union protestors gathered this morning near the Union Station Bus Terminal and have restricted GO bus access at this time," the regional transit agency advised one customer this morning.

"Currently there is no impact to rail service. The situation is very fluid and can change quickly so customers are encouraged to check ahead."

Depending on where you're coming from in the GTA, there are some ways (albeit inconvenient ways) to avoid the chaos.

Service has been modified on Route 16 as of Wednesday, for instance, so that GO buses are running between Hamilton and Aldershot GO.

Customers can also use the gool ol' TTC to access Toronto if they're close enough geographically.

"Our members are the Train Movement Directors, Signal Maintenance personnel and Project staff that keep the trains running within Union Station rail corridor moving safely," reads a tweet from IBEW Canada posted last week.

"These members have been without a contract since late 2019 and are asking Toronto Terminals Railway to get back to the bargaining table and negotiate a fair contract and wages."

Lead photo by

Kris Pangilinan

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