TORONTO, Feb. 6, 2017 /CNW/ - The president of the Toronto transit workers union Local 113 has accused the Amalgamated Transit Union International of intimidating elected local union representatives into signing prepared letters that agree with the American union's trusteeship of the local.
"I have been called by several apologetic Board members and stewards who admitted that they signed a letter prepared for them by the International union.
The letter said that "the undersigned" condemns Bob Kinnear for his recent letter to the Canadian Labour Congress asking for an investigation into years of membership complaints about the lack of support from their Washington-based union. The letter further asks the CLC to "take no further action on Kinnear's letter."
It breaks my heart to hear a member say: "I'm really sorry, Bob, but they threatened my job unless I signed."
"I can think of nothing more anti-union than to threaten people's jobs if they disagree with the boss. This is unbelievably shameful."
Just today, a steward told me: "'This guy, this trustee, made me think my job with the TTC was gone if I didn't sign. I didn't know what to do. I've got a mortgage and a family to support. And this guy knew it.'"
Kinnear said the American union exceeded its authority and did not have to be so heavy-handed if it had issues with him or the local. He said that he followed the Canadian Labour Congress Constitution very carefully.
"We followed the rules. We had already set up a meeting this Thursday with the CLC in Ottawa to mediate our differences with the International. But the Americans refused to abide by the rules they supposedly agreed to.
"They are using these same tactics with other ATU Canada locals. In fact, I have received the calls and emails."
Kinnear revealed that ATU International President Lawrence Hanley is leaning on other AFL-CIO International unions with branches in Canada to pressure CLC President Hassan Yussuff into ignoring Kinnear's request for an investigation, which may lead to a vote, which we welcome."
"Ultimately there will be a democratic vote of our members and the International will leave Toronto for good," said Kinnear.
Bob Kinnear will be available for media interviews at 10:00 Monday morning at City Hall.
SOURCE Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113
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