Toronto transit union chief asks for "compassionate penalty" for bus operator's red light infraction

TORONTO, July 28, 2014 /CNW/ - The head of the union that represents TTC workers says that the union will not contest the firing of the Bus Operator who ran a red light but will ask TTC management to consider a lesser penalty and reassignment to a non-vehicle job. Bob Kinnear says that there are compassionate grounds for that consideration.

"She made a serious mistake, no doubt about it," says Kinnear, "and we will not challenge this particular decision to take her off the road. We are all grateful there was no injury to anyone."

"We will, however, ask the TTC to consider that in her nearly six months on the job she has not missed a day and has had no other infractions. This is a single mother with two children who was hired by the TTC because they judged her to be the kind of person who would be dedicated to public service and conscientious about her work. And she has been, except for this one mistake, which had somewhat mitigating circumstances that all TTC vehicle operators are familiar with.

"We understand that the TTC management is under public pressure to show how tough they are, but I believe that most people who heard the entire story of what happened would agree with some lesser penalty, such as a suspension without pay, which would definitely hurt her family, and eventual reassignment to a non-driving job."

"When we compare this penalty to that of the police officer who shot Sammy Yatin nine times on a streetcar – he was suspended with pay – its seems disproportionate. And a motorist who goes through a red light without hurting anyone is penalized with a few points on their license, their children are not punished by their mother losing her job."

"Some hardliners would say that showing such compassion would encourage other TTC vehicle drivers to not be as careful as they are. That would be an absurd claim, with no evidence. They are probably the same people who will vote to re-elect Rob Ford even though he has admitted to multiple instances of criminal behavior."

Kinnear said he will discuss the case with the appropriate officials at the TTC at the earliest opportunity.

SOURCE Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113

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