Taking away our rights will not solve the TTC's fundamental problems,
says Union President, Bob Kinnear
TORONTO, Dec. 16 /CNW/ - Toronto City Council will today be debating a
motion to ask the Government of Ontario to designate the TTC an
"essential service." The purpose of such a designation would be to ban
strikes or lockouts if the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113
and TTC management are unable to voluntarily settle on the terms and
conditions of employment of a new collective agreement. The union is
urging Council to reject this motion and instead focus of the real
problems facing the TTC, particularly the chronic underfunding since
the Conservative government of Mike Harris slashed provincial subsidies
to the TTC in the mid-1990s.
"Taking away a fundamental right to free collective bargaining will do
nothing to improve the TTC," says ATU Local 113 President Bob Kinnear.
"It may make some people feel good but it will not put a single
additional bus on the road or relieve the overcrowding and vehicle
breakdowns that are the problems TTC riders most complain about.
"In fact, it will only make things worse by relieving politicians of
their funding responsibilities by fostering the illusion that they have
done something tangible by banning strikes."
Kinnear points out that although work stoppages get a hugely
disproportionate share of media attention, the public is inconvenienced
far more, and on a daily basis, by underfunding.
"For the past three decades, our members have been on the job 99.99 per
cent of the time." says Kinnear.
"Since Joe Clark was Prime Minister in 1979, there have been only 13
days of TTC service lost to strikes, whereas TTC riders lose
significant time on commutes every day because there are simply not
enough vehicles to serve a population that has virtually doubled since
then. Motorists are similarly inconvenienced because of intolerable
road congestion caused by an underfunded TTC. Everybody is a victim of
the failure of governments to properly fund transit but somehow,
because of that 0.01 percent of service loss due to work action, the
union is now the problem. People who think the TTC will improve by
banning strikes are deluding themselves because they hate unions and
cannot deal with both fiscal and physical realities.
"Since the night of the municipal election, I have publicly pledged to
cooperatively work with Mayor Ford and the new Commission to address
the many problems facing the TTC. Most of these problems are due to
underfunding by senior levels of government and we will devote union
resources to work in concert with the City to acquire the funding that
we need to restore the TTC as one of the world's finest urban transit
systems." Kinnear said.
"But it will be hard to work up much enthusiasm to cooperate with
politicians who declare that transit workers are not entitled to the
same employment rights under Ontario law that other workers have."
"We hope that cooler heads prevail in this debate and that we can
jointly move forward to resolve the real issues plaguing public transit
SOURCE Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113
For further information: For further information:
and to arrange an interview with ATU Local 113 President, Bob Kinnear, please contact Laura Ziemba (416-712-0412)