TTC strike: 'People should be preparing'- TTC union says not enough progress...

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Published Time: 03.06.2024 - 20:15:05 Modified Time: 03.06.2024 - 20:15:05

ATU Local 113 members have been without a contract since March 31. The union represents some 11,500 operators, collectors, maintenance workers, stations staff, and other frontline TTC employees. TTC strike

The union representing thousands of frontline TTC employees says little progress has been made in negotiations with just days left before a strike deadline, and they are advising to plan to get around some other way.

"Unfortunately, as a result of not being able to have the progress needed to avoid a strike, yes, should be preparing to have us withdraw our services on Friday."

ATU Local 113 members have been without a contract since March 31. The union represents some 11,500 operators, collectors, maintenance workers, stations staff, and other frontline TTC employees.

Last month, they voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike mandate.

On Friday ATU National President John Di Nino warned of a "total disruption" of Toronto transit service if no deal is reached.

However city officials, including TTC Chair Jamaal Myers and Mayor Olivia Chow, said they remain optimistic that a deal can still be reached. They said bargaining would continue through the weekend.

On Monday the TTC said the parties remain at the table and talks are ongoing, but there are no developments to report.  

Alfred said job security is a sticking point.

"Job security is paramount. There is no substitution to have that security of being able to forecast you have employment with the TTC and be able to protect and you know, have benefits for your family," he said.

He said there has been "some progress" but nothing in writing and workers are "frustrated."

But speaking with CP24 Monday, TTC Chair Jamaal Myers said that he remains optimistic a deal will be reached.

"We expect the negotiations to go right up until the last minute; that's normal for these types of negotiations," Myers said. "But we are confident that things are on the right track."

He confirmed job security, wages and benefits remain the main issues at the bargaining table.

"We are working with the union to see how we can best meet their needs while also staying within the mandate from the city and the TTC board," Myers said.

He said that the overall tenor of the conversation remain positive and emphasized that the TTC has been able to reach deals with three of its six unions so far.

The negotiations are continuing this week. Workers could walk off the job Friday if no deal is reached.

It would be the first time the city has seen a transit strike since 2008, thanks to a provincial law which designated the TTC as an essential services for years. Last year the law was struck down by an Ontario court, opening the door to strike action after the last deal expired.

Speaking with CTV Toronto Monday, Vincent Puhakka, of transit advocacy group TTC Riders said that a transit strike would affect the entire city, not just those who take transit.

"Toronto is absolutely dependent on its transit system," Puhakka  said. "Even if you never set foot on a bus or a subway, you benefit from transit existing in this in this city, traffic will be a nightmare. A lot of folks can't even afford to drive so they won't be able to get to where they need to go."

He said while his group is not party to the discussions, they see the city as the party which should be budging more.

"Although the union and the city are not telling us exactly what's being discussed right now, historically we know the TTC has simply not been invested in so it would seem like it's up to that party, to you know, to bend a bit more," he said.

Puhakka said that deals reached with some of the other unions representing TTC workers are encouraging.

"We look at this past year. We had other union locals working on the TTC that negotiating did come down to the wire and they were able to avoid a strike," he said. "Obviously riders want this to this trend to continue. We don't want to have a disruption in service. A strike would be a disaster."

He urged to call their elected officials to urge them to "bargain fairly" with the union.

A Toronto Transit Commission sign is shown at a downtown Toronto subway stop Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy

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