Transit union says town hall meetings "a great first step" in public outreach

TORONTO, May 2 /CNW/ - The third and final union-sponsored town hall meeting between TTC transit workers and riders was held earlier today at Ryerson University to a packed auditorium in the university's library.

The event was moderated by radio journalist Barbara Budd, who had just finished a 17-year stint two days earlier as co-host of the popular CBC Radio current events show As It Happens.

As with prior events in Downsview and Scarborough, the two-hour session was a lively exchange of questions, comments and information between a diverse audience and a panel of frontline TTC workers.

"We're very pleased with the outcome of all three meetings," said Bob Kinnear, president of Toronto's transit workers' union, ATU Local 113. "This is a great first step in our plan to reach out to the public. Our members are proud of the union and this initiative. As far as I know, no union has tried this before.

"Our number one take-away lesson is that we need to develop better ways of communicating with our customers. As a union, we'll be working on this and other areas of TTC service over which we, as frontline workers, have some degree of control.

"This is not the end of our dialogue with the public, it's only the beginning," Kinnear pledged. "We've opened a lot of minds on both sides of the farebox with these meetings and we want to keep that momentum going."

Kinnear said that video summaries of all three meetings will soon be posted on YouTube and the union's website, WeMoveToronto.ca. Archived webcasts of the entire first two meetings are already online and the third will be available on Tuesday, May 4.

"Media reports of the meetings have been necessarily sketchy and have not, in our view, been able to convey how wide-ranging and constructive our dialogue has been.

"We are quite sure that people who take the time to view more of the meetings than they have read about or seen on the news will be impressed with these unique civic events."

SOURCE Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113

For further information: For further information: Bill Reno, (416) 223-7366

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Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113

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