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Union says TTC workers will strike on June 7 if no deal reached

Toronto Transit Commission workers will go on a full strike on June 7 if an agreement isn’t reached with management in ongoing contract talks, says the union representing close to 12,000 workers.

Marvin Alfred, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, said on Friday that the union will not engage in rotating walkouts. Instead, all workers represented by the union local will walk off the job. About 8,000 members have already signed up for picket duty, he said.

“We are planning, we are mobilizing, we’re getting our members ready,” Alfred said on Friday.

“There would be work stoppage and transit would not function in Toronto,” he added. “We would all be not available to work. We are serious, and yes, it would be all of us participating in job action.”

Alfred said a strike is still avoidable, given there has been progress at the bargaining table, but that the union local is preparing for the worst because there has been little movement on its key issues.

“We’re asking for job security, we’re asking for benefits, we’re asking for wages, we’re asking for simple dignity when it comes to delivering this reliable transit,” he said.

Alfred said the transit system in Toronto needs sustained investment, and the culture at the TTC needs to change. He urged Toronto residents to contact their councillors and MPPs to demand that TTC workers get a fair deal.

ATU President Marvin Alfred told CBC Toronto, members don't always report violence or harassment to their managers because 'they don't have any faith the issues will be addressed.'
Marvin Alfred, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, says the union local is serious about going on strike on June 7. ‘We are planning, we are mobilizing, we’re getting our members ready,’ he says. (ATU Local 113)

ATU Local 113’s collective agreement expired on March 31, 2024. The last time members of the union local went on strike was in 2008.

Alfred said members have voted 98 per cent in favour of a strike, with a total of 9,200 members out of nearly 12,000 taking part in the strike vote.

‘There is a path to a fair deal,’ TTC board chair says

Coun. Jamaal Myers, chair of the TTC board, said on Friday that the possible strike date doesn’t come as a surprise to the city. But, he said, he is confident that there is still time to get a deal done, adding the board is continuing to bargain in good faith.

“This is the normal cadence of bargaining between the union and management,” Myers said.

“I think there is a path to a fair deal for all sides, I just think it has to come through continued ongoing, respectful negotiations.”

Myers said the TTC will negotiate around the clock if necessary to reach an agreement and that nobody wants a strike.

WATCH | Thousands of TTC workers could go on strike in June: 

Thousands of TTC workers could go on strike in June

2 hours ago

Duration 2:02

TTC workers could be going on strike for the first time in 16 years. The union that represents close to 12,000 TTC employees says they will walk off the job on June 7, if an agreement isn’t reached in ongoing contract negotiations. CBC’s Greg Ross has the latest.

In a statement on Tuesday, TTC CEO Rick Leary said the TTC has successfully renewed collective agreements with three of its six bargaining units.

Those units are the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 5089, which represents special constables and fare inspectors; International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) Lodge 235, which represents millwrights, machinists, and other skilled shop employees; and CUPE Local 2, which represents electrical skilled trades.

“The TTC values the important work that all our employees do every day to deliver safe and reliable service — the employees in ATU Local 113 are an integral part of our operations,” Leary said.

Leary added that bargaining teams from the TTC and ATU Local 113 have been working hard to reach a “fair, negotiated” collective agreement since February.

Appeal court upholds right of union to strike

On Thursday, the Court of Appeal for Ontario dismissed the provincial government’s appeal of a lower court ruling that declared a law eliminating the transit workers’ right to strike unconstitutional.

In 2011, the Ontario government under the Liberals enacted a law banning unionized TTC workers from striking. In the appeal, government lawyers said the ban came after “unusually frequent strike action and immediate ad-hoc back-to-work legislation.”

A Superior Court judge found last year that the law interfered with workers’ collective bargaining rights, and the Appeal Court agreed.

ATU Local 113 represents bus, streetcar, wheel-trans and subway operators, collectors, cleaning staff and maintenance workers.

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