Metrolinx: Transparency and Accountability Go Hand in Hand

TORONTO, May 11, 2016 /CNW/ - ATU Canada labour leaders across the GTA are expressing their disappointment over not being invited or included in the recently announced Metrolinx meeting that took place in Toronto on April 27th 2016.

Toronto City TV reported that a meeting with Metrolinx and TTC senior management staff had taken place on that day.

This meeting opened an important and overdue dialogue with senior transit management staff, unfortunately for that meeting no invitation was extended to any of the ATU Canada labour leaders who represent the thousands of transit workers directly impacted by this massive transit initiative within the province.

At some point during the meeting, Metrolinx staff invited mayors from the surrounding municipalities to get engaged in future planned round table discussions, says Darrell Munroe, PBA for ATU Local 1572; the union that represents front line bus operators, mechanics and maintenance workers as well as front line transit concession attendant service employees for the city of Mississauga Ontario.

Unions are not necessarily what some people would lead or like for you to believe. Oftentimes, "unions are portrayed as bullies and thugs, or 'hogs at the trough' if you will; always demanding more for their members without any regard or concern for the public that they serve every day.

That is a totally inaccurate portrayal of union employees and nothing could be further from the truth.

As tax payers, we will always complain about how high our taxes are and yet reluctantly we just pay them anyway.

This complacent attitude we all share is what continues to disadvantage normal hard working citizens, tax paying citizens of this province as seen through recent history i.e. Orange ambulance, Gas plant cancellation.

Metrolinx is just another example of a greater need for transparency and open dialogue.

Tax payers will always be vulnerable to being taken advantage of when it comes to these billion dollar provincially tax- funded projects if there lacks a willingness of government and the corporations they fund to be open and transparent with all of the stake holders of these tax funded projects.

Unfortunately many of these tax funded projects can go south in what seems like the blink of an eye, this can also then be followed up by a very expensive (tax funded) inquiry or investigation with little accountability at the end of the day.

Transit union workers are no different than anyone else, they are tax paying people of society, hard working men and women, who get up early every day to perform their jobs of delivering one of the most vital services there is today, moving the public around safely, efficiently and on time in an ever-growing and increasingly congested city.

Transit workers have to deal first hand with the public on a daily basis and they should be equipped to provide a steady and seamless flow of information to the public for any of the ongoing transit plans and for any future growth plans for transit.

Many people have read in the papers recently about how Metrolinx had been withholding information requested by the media through the freedom of information act; Metrolinx was finally forced to hand over information, but only after a long and costly process that continued even against the best advice given and paid for by the tax payers of Ontario.

Metrolinx ultimately failed to follow that advice (i.e. tax payer funded advice), and then Metrolinx further attempted to force or rush a cost recovery plan that ultimately ended up costing the tax payers of Ontario even more.

ATU Canada and ATU municipal Labour leaders are banding together to raise their own voice of concern, respectfully asking that they be invited and included in these newly announced round table discussions planned for the near future.

If Metrolinx had believed in inclusion, transparency and accountability from the start, chances are you wouldn't be reading this article at all.

It will always be in the best interest of the most important stake holders of all, the tax payers of Ontario that there should always be an inclusive and transparent dialogue throughout all of these tax funded projects.

In light of the above, I would openly and respectfully ask Metrolinx to please invite ATU Canada and ATU municipal labour leaders to the table for any future round table discussions.

SOURCE ATU Canada

For further information: Darrell Munroe, President BA, ATU Local 1572, Mississauga, 905-602-5841; Paul Thorp, President, ATU Canada, 416-679-8846

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