National Transit Union Body to Province: Put the Brakes on Subway Upload
Toronto, ON – It’s Hydro all over again. The Liberal government is seeking to upload and, ultimately, privatize the TTC subways in a process they call “optimizing” under a “different ownership model.” The extreme policy shift is buried deep in a side note in a 300-page budget released Wednesday. The province is calling for the takeover of oversight, operations, and maintenance of Canada’s second busiest subway system in a move that would allow the government to privatize the 64-year old transit service. ATU Canada is calling for the removal of this article from the provincial budget and, in conjunction with ATU Local 113, is mobilizing members across the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area to oppose the proposal.
“Many Ontarians will recall that this is exactly what precipitated the disastrous sell-off of Hydro One,” said ATU Canada President Paul Thorp. “Make no mistake: turning public services into private profit centers is a plan straight out of the PC playbook. For some reason the Liberal government has embraced it and is racing to implement transit privatization across the province.” Thorp pointed to policies released last year by the Progressive Conservatives that favoured handing public transit over to private companies.
Thorp also says that the privatization of transit would not be any better for transit users and workers in Ontario than the sell-off of Hydro was for rate-payers. “The uploading of the TTC subway would prove detrimental to the millions of Torontonians and Ontarians that use that service daily,” he said. “The city of Toronto would lose local control and accountability over the daily operations and maintenance of one its more vital pieces of infrastructure, not to mention the catastrophic affect privatization can have on front line workers who see their hard-earned wages, pension, and benefits diminished by private contractors.” Thorp also noted that the TTC is an integral part of the community, employing thousands of workers from diverse economic, racial, and cultural backgrounds and allowing for a decent living in a city known for its melting-pot multiculturalism.
For the past year, ATU Canada has been coordinating a campaign—dubbed “Keep Transit Public”— in favour of public ownership and operation of transit. The campaign began in Hamilton, ON, in June 2017 and has focused on ending the use of public-private partnerships (P3s) in transit and other public services.
“Across Canada, the U.S., and Europe, private transit has proven again and again to be more costly and less safe,” Thorp said. “Private companies can and will raise fares and reduce service in pursuit of profit.”
For more information on the Keep Transit Public campaign and to sign our petition please visit keeptransitpublic.ca. The Amalgamated Transit Union represents 34,000 members across Canada including the 11,000 frontline workers of the TTC.
Have HSR operate the new LRT system, says transit union campaign
Hamilton’s transit union has launched a campaign to try to encourage public officials to hire HSR drivers to run the new light rail transit (LRT) system. To do otherwise, it says, would hand over a major transit route to a private company.
ATU Local 107 President, Eric Tuck, Launches Campaign to Keep Hamilton Transit Public
Listen to the radio interview here!
ATU Canada: Bus Operator Assault Conviction
HSR Drivers Union Launches LRT Campaign
ATU Canada Demands a Stop to Bus Driver Assault and a Change to Design of Operator Workstation
Keep Transit Public. Sign the Petition Today!
Contentious CLC report on ATU crisis falls short
On March 27, CLC Investigator Barry Thorsteinson submitted an 11 page report to CLC President Hassan Yussuff on the ATU Local 113 crisis. His report notes that with the March 17 withdrawal of Bob Kinnear’s request for the CLC’s justification proceedings, the case ends with the filing of his report. No full investigation is to be conducted.ORIGINAL
The Thorsteinson report makes a number of preliminary findings. The first is that Unifor stands in violation of the CLC Constitution for its interference in this dispute. The report notes that the CLC will determine what response if appropriate.
Thorsteinson’s report also notes that the ATU has failed to cooperate fully with the justification process by ceaseless attempts to discredit the CLC and calls for the process to terminate. To a much lesser extent, during this investigation as described earlier is two specific instances of refusals to cooperate by withholding requested information.
The report also finds that President Yussuff and the CLC were not involved in any plot to assist Kinnear, or Unifor, in the justification process.
Hassan Yussuff sent a letter along with a copy of the report to the affiliates. In that brief letter he notes the investigator cleared the CLC and that he calls for unions to strengthen the Article 4 protocol.
Transit union leads rally for reversal of Sask. government’s STC cut
People gathered on the steps of Saskatchewan’s legislature Thursday to protest the government’s impending closure of the Saskatchewan Transportation Company.
The rally was organized by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1374, the union representing the employees whose jobs will be eliminated when the service closes by the end of May.
“We don’t elect governments, we un-elect governments, so Mr. Wall, remember that,” ATU Local 1374 president Eric Carr told the crowd.
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Demonstrators, including labour and student groups, called on the government to reverse its decision to scrap the provincial bus company, saying that in addition to employees who will be out of work, rural residents and low-income earners who depend on the service will be hurt by the cut.
Seniors, students and bus drivers rally to save STC
The final days for the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC) are ticking down, but pleas to save it have not stopped.
The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1374 organized a rally on the front steps of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building and were joined by members of CUPE, SEIU West, Students Mobilizing Against Cuts, Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry, seniors, STC riders and STC operators to call on the government to rethink its decision to decommission the STC.
Ken Younghans has been an operator for more than 20 years and although he will soon be unemployed, his main concern is about the people who ride the bus.
“I’m not happy I’m losing my job, but in the same respect, I can find another job. But the people in this province are not going to get the same quality of service they have been getting for the past 71 years,” he said after the rally. “As a taxpayer I think what this government is doing is appalling. It’s disrespectful and I think they need to wake up and smell the coffee because they are hurting a lot of people. They are hurting the people who voted them in — the rural people.”
Younghans is worried about what will happen to those who depend on the bus like seniors, the isolated and the sick.
National Day of Mourning
Friday, April 28, 2017, is the National Day of Mourning. We at ATU Canada remember those who have lost their lives or suffered an injury or illness on the job.
ATU Canada remembers and honours all fallen workers, and we fight for increased safety in the workplace.
Next stop: a better transit system?
Winnipeg transit advocates are hoping an event series could spark a movement calling for improved bus service in the City of Winnipeg.
Advocates who are worried transit is “very rarely talked about in Winnipeg” have a plan to change that this year; it involves “humanizing transit” for riders, city councillors, and soon, a new transit director.
Joseph Kornelsen, who chairs the citizen group Functional Transit Winnipeg, said outside of safety concerns and rapid bus lines, decision-makers and Winnipeggers alike seldom look critically at the city’s existing transit service.
He explained how that lack of widespread criticism and the notion that “we’re a car town because that’s what Winnipeg was built for,” has siphoned momentum off support for a better public transportation system.
The result has been, by Kornelsen’s assessment, an underfunded, infrequent service that doesn’t serve people as well as it could on many of its often circuitous routes.
“So what we’re trying to do is reframe the conversation so we’re talking about how the service actually works,” Kornelsen said. “We want to bring to the forefront what it means to have a good service, show people what an effective transit service looks like.
Winnipeggers say city needs transit police: survey
Ever since the fatal assault of a transit operator in early 2017, the local transit union has been calling for more dedicated transit police.
The union representing transit drivers has learned Winnipeggers share its desire for more dedicated police riding city buses.
Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) local President John Callahan said it’s telling that a “broad range” of residents surveyed for Probe Research between March 13 and 28 support the union’s call for increased enforcement.
“It seems to be that people using transit as well as people who are not using it hear what’s going on and understand the issue,” Callahan said, referencing the “almost daily occurrence” of operator assaults, which were brought into the public eye after one such assault in February had fatal consequences.
Of the 600 adults polled, Callahan said the fact 64 per cent agree a dedicated transit police force is needed means the union’s call for such protection isn’t just anecdotal, and wouldn’t just be welcomed by drivers who fear for their safety.
“We wanted these real numbers,” he said. “They speak for themselves.”