Toronto’s transit system made an essential service

Union says they have lost their right to collectively bargain for skill and labour

It is now illegal for Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) workers to strike or be locked out.

The Toronto Transit Commission Labour Disputes Resolution Act, 2011, passed in the Ontario Legislature this morning, forces the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and the TTC to resort to binding arbitration should they be unable to settle on an agreement through collective bargaining.

Bob Kinnear, president of ATU Local 113, says that the McGuinty government has passed this Act to save Liberal votes in the upcoming provincial election. He says that the premier is afraid of the influence Mayor Rob Ford has on his constituents.

"It is a sad day for democracy when a government takes away some people's rights in order to win the votes of other people," Kinnear said in a release today. “This bill will not put one bus on the road, not even the ones Mayor Ford took off the road in the latest round of TTC service cutbacks. People who think this is going to improve TTC service are going to be very disappointed."

The Act was introduced as Bill 150 in the Ontario Legislature on Feb. 22, 2011 after a request from Toronto city council. Kinnear previously accused Labour Minister Charles Sousa of speeding the bill through the legislature because the TTC’s current collective agreement was about to expire on March 31, 2011.

The TTC employs nearly 10,000 operations and maintenance workers. The TTC is Canada’s largest public transit system with a ridership of approximately 1.5 million every business day.

Want more insight?

Watch an interview with Ryerson University's Maurice Mazerolle on the significance of making the TTC an essential service.

Interview - Impact of TTC essential service

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