2017 Archive

National Day of Mourning 2017

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.

Read Full Article >



I am looking forward to seeing everyone next week in London for our annual conference.

Paul Thorp
ATU Canada, President

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.”

Read Full Article >

Random drug testing could lead to discrimination

A recent decision that paves the way for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) to begin randomly testing its workers for drug and alcohol use later this month is problematic on multiple levels, and could lead to discrimination against employees, Toronto labour, employment, and human rights lawyer Christopher Achkar tells The Lawyer’s Daily.

As the article notes, in Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113 v. Toronto Transit Commission 2017 ONSC 2078, Ontario Superior Court Associate Chief Justice Frank Marrocco dismissed an application from the transit workers’ union for an injunction against an amendment to its “Fitness for Duty Policy” during arbitration.

The policy implements drug and alcohol testing of employees in safety-sensitive, management and executive positions, says The Lawyer’s Daily.

According to the ruling, this testing will deter people prone to using drugs or alcohol around their hours of work, which will increase public safety, the article reports.

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Peterborough Transit driver lost pay after refusing overtime shift driving city bus with pro-life ads on it


A Peterborough Transit driver was sent home without pay because she refused to drive a bus with the controversial pro-life ads, says her union – a claim that one city director has refuted.

A grievance was filed by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1320 and obtained by The Examiner. It calls for compensation for the driver who was sent home.

The grievance says the driver – a woman – was assigned to work overtime on April 4, the first day that pro-life ads appeared on the exterior of two buses.

“Her assigned bus featured anti-abortion ads which she found offensive, discriminated against her and poisoned her workplace,” states the grievance.

It also says the driver feared she would face “vexatious” comments from the public.

“She was removed from her assignment and sent home without pay,” the grievance states.

One city official says that’s inaccurate.

Wayne Jackson, the city’s public works director, spoke about the issue because transportation manager Kevin Jones was unavailable for comment.

Jackson said the driver had accepted an overtime shift, but then balked when she was expected to drive the bus with the controversial ad.

She declined the overtime, Jackson said, and another driver took the shift in her place.

“No one was sent home – she chose not to do the overtime work,” he said. “Now she’s decided she should get paid (for work not done).”

But Tyler Burns, the president of the union, doesn’t see it that way.

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Letter from Paul Thorp to Barry Thorsteinson

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Letter from Paul Thorp to Hassan Yussuff, CLC

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Court upholds TTC’s random drug-testing policy


A judge has upheld the TTC’s plan to randomly test its employees for drug and alcohol use, ruling that the need to protect public safety outweighs the risk of infringing on transit employees’ privacy.

In a 23-page ruling released Monday, Associate Chief Justice of the Superior Court Frank Marrocco dismissed an application from the TTC workers’ union for an injunction against the policy, which was to have gone into effect Mar. 1.

The TTC said it now plans to begin random testing later this month.

In a statement the secretary-treasurer of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, which represents more than 10,000 TTC workers, said employees were “disappointed” with the court’s decision. Kevin Morton alleged the policy “violates basic human rights” and is “an abuse of employer power against the hardworking women and men who safely move this city.”

However, in his ruling Justice Marrocco agreed with TTC management “that there is a demonstrated workplace drug and alcohol problem at the TTC, which is currently hard to detect and verify.”

He found that random testing would increase the chance that an employee who is prone to abusing drugs or alcohol at work would either be detected or deterred, which, in turn, would increase public safety .

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ATU International Reacts to the Resignation of ATU Local 113 President Bob Kinnear

SILVER SPRING, MD: Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) International President Larry Hanley issued the following statement following the resignation of Bob Kinnear as president of ATU Local 113 in Toronto.

“With the resignation of Bob Kinnear as their president, today marks a new beginning for the 11,000 members of ATU Local 113. The last six weeks have been extraordinarily difficult for them and their families and, in fact, the entire labour movement. Fortunately, union democracy and international solidarity have prevailed.

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ATU Canada on the picket line in Gatineau


ATU Local 113 Member Conversation

On Wednesday of this week RankandFile.ca obtained a recording of a conversation between two executive board members at ATU Local 113, Tony Barbosa and John DiNino, occurring before the trusteeship. Both DiNino, who recorded the call, and Barbosa have confirmed the authenticity of the recording.

In this conversation recorded on January 31, we get a glimpse of what was going on behind the scenes at Local 113 just prior to ATU International trusteeship

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ATU Local 113 Update – Rebuttal to Dias


Audio of Bob Kinnear Speaking With ATU 113 Members


ATU Local 113 – Update

TTC Smoke Screen

February 28, 2017

ATU Canada is deeply troubled by the Toronto Transit Commissions report where it alleges that there is “a significant problem and a culture of drug and alcohol use at the TTC”.

These claims by TTC are nothing more than a drummed up smoke screen to elicit fear in the public and to allow an employer to breach a workers Charter of Rights.

The union has stated publicly that they support the TTC’s current substance abuse policies, provided that there is “reasonable cause” to believe that a worker was impaired during an incident or a worker is returning after violating the policy.

To demand that a worker submit to this random testing is a slap in the face of everything our government and the labour movement has fought for.

The Toronto Transit Commission needs to remember that any person is innocent until proven guilty not the other way around. It’s high time this employer started believing in its employees and not punishing the whole for the errors of the few.

Paul Thorp
ATU Canada


In remembrance of our fallen Brother, Irvine Jubal Fraser who lost his life on February 14, 2017 from an act of violence while at work with Winnipeg Transit and in support of his family and coworkers:

Amalgamated Transit Union Canada and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 741 wishes to pay tribute to a life cut short, and recognize the continued attacks that happen to Transit Operators throughout the country on a daily basis

Irvine Fraser died after an altercation with the last passenger on his bus that refused to get off at the end of the line. A struggle ensued and the passenger allegedly pulled out a knife and stabbed Irvine who later died of the injuries caused by his assailant.

Recent statistics show that there are five transit operators assaulted on a daily basis across Canada. This number does not include the number of assaults that go unreported.

There are different forms of assault that transit operators are subjected to on a daily basis; verbal abuse, threats of physical harm, death threats and physical assault (spitting, punching, kicking, biting, etc…).

Amalgamated Transit Union Canada and its local unions are calling for our governments and employers to stop putting a dollar amount on humanity.

Amalgamated Transit Union Canada and its local unions are calling for the Transit Employers in Canada to:

• Design bus run times schedules with more operating time. The current tendency to reduce time on bus schedules is causing operators to be subjected to the frustration of the public.
• Redesign the Drivers Area so that operators have a closed compartment away from passengers. Similar to train operators and airline pilots.
• Provide clear directives to drivers to assist in dealing with problem passengers and provide adequate support where needed.
When an assault does happen the courts need to apply the full measure of the law introduced by Bill S 221, This enactment amends the Criminal Code to require a court to consider the fact that the victim of an assault of a public transit worker to be an aggravating circumstance for the purposes of sentencing. Stop negotiating plea bargain deals. ATU Canada seeks 10 years imprisonment for an indictable offence and 18 months for a summary conviction.
This is not a “Knee-jerk” reaction, but rather a measured response to the lack of support from employers and the courts of Canada in dealing with those who assault transit workers.

TTC Union Wants Bob Kinnear to Quit, Mere Hours After Reinstatement

The Amalgamated Transit Union International placed the local under trusteeship after Kinnear’s abrupt dismissal earlier this month.

The battle for control of the TTC’s largest union has taken two more plot twists in less than a day.

Bob Kinnear won a victory in provincial court on Tuesday afternoon, only to lose a “no confidence” motion from Local 113 of the Amalgamated Transit Union later in the evening.

Read Full Article >

Sad Day for Local 113

ATU Canada is shocked and deeply troubled by the court’s decision yesterday to reinstate Bob Kinnear.

The fact of the matter is that Mr. Kinnear’s actions were in gross violation of the ATU International Constitution and his own Local’s Bylaws. It is shameful that his actions and collusion with UNIFOR were for his own personal gain and there was absolutely no consideration for the 10,500 members that make up ATU Local 113.

It is with great pride that ATU Canada stands behind the Executive Board of Local 113 with their numerous motions against Mr. Kinnear. The first being a motion of “No Confidence” in the leadership of Bob Kinnear.

We are One ATU and the Transit Union of choice in North America simply because no one knows transit like we do. Period.

Paul Thorp
ATU Canada

Upcoming motion a first step to improving bus safety, councillor says

A Winnipeg councillor says the motion he plans to table on Tuesday will be a first step in preventing another tragedy on board a Winnipeg bus like the city saw last…

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The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113, which represents nearly 11,000 public transit workers in Toronto, released the following statement regarding the Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision to grant former union head Bob Kinnear an injunction over the trusteeship of Local 113.

Statement by Manny Sforza, International Vice-President, ATU Local 113:

“It’s a sad day for all workers in our city. The court’s decision to reinstate Bob Kinnear undermines a long history of union democracy in the province. As Bob Kinnear seeks to exert total control over the 95 per cent of elected local officers who he admitted to deceiving, Local 113 members and the issues they care about will suffer.

Local 113 has clear and convincing evidence Bob Kinnear was involved in a conspiracy, along with Jerry Dias from Unifor, to deceive the members of Local 113. This is an empire building exercise by Bob Kinnear and Jerry Dias and has nothing to do with the interests of public transit workers in Toronto.

Local 113 will not be sold to the auto workers by Bob Kinnear or anyone else.

In recent weeks, ATU received overwhelming support from the vast majority of Local 113’s elected officers, stewards and union members. ATU is dedicated solely to transit workers and we will continue to fight in the best interest of the hardworking women and men who move Toronto.”

Buses in Winnipeg in remembrance of our fallen Brother Irvine Fraser


Presidents from across Canada in Winnipeg to attend funeral of our fallen Brother Irvine Fraser


Rally for slain bus driver demands protection from ‘heinous attacks’


Emotional pleas to protect bus drivers from “heinous attacks” echoed through Winnipeg’s City Hall courtyard on Friday as hundreds of transit workers rallied in the wake of this week’s fatal stabbing of Irvine Jubal Fraser, 58.

The workers and union representatives demanded all levels of government immediately begin making buses safer for drivers and the public.

“Let us not have Brother Fraser’s murder be in vain,” said Amalgamated Transit Union Canada president Paul Thorp, calling for changes to bus designs.

Read Full Article >

About 200 people rally to improve safety for bus drivers


Transit union leaders, bus drivers and their family members gathered outside city hall on Friday morning, demanding increased safety measures following Tuesday’s stabbing death of a bus driver on the job.

They called for enhancements such as shields for drivers, an emergency left-side exit for drivers, more security personnel on buses and a system to take fare collection out of the hands of drivers.

Read Full Article

Rally in Winnipeg



President Paul Thorp’s Speech in Winnipeg


House of Commons Statement in recognition of Irvine Fraser

Yesterday in the House of Commons Kevin Lamoureux MP for Winnipeg North made the following statement, the video is also on his Facebook.

Mr. Speaker, it is with heavy heart that I rise today in recognition of Irvine Fraser, better known as “Jubal”.

Irvine was a Winnipeg Transit bus driver who passed away because of an incident on his bus.

It is important for us to recognize that transit bus workers across our great nation extend their sympathy to the family and friends of Irvine. The fact is that every day in Canada we have buses going through our municipalities, opening their doors, and ensuring we have the best quality public transportation system in the world.

It is with a heavy heart that I extend my personal condolences, as well as condolences on behalf of my colleagues, to the family and friends of Irvine, and to the many others who have been so affected by this most recent tragedy.

Bus tragedy hitting Okanagan drivers hard

A deadly attack on a Winnipeg bus driver as well as an assault on an Okanagan bus operator have renewed calls for improved safety measures to protect transit drivers.

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Letter to Leader of the Official Opposition


Local 134 buses have Black ribbons mourning the loss of our brother Irvine Fraser


Liberal MP Accuses Tories Of Laughing At Amarjeet Sohi’s Past Career As Bus Driver

A Liberal MP called out a few unnamed Conservatives for supposedly laughing at Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi’s past as a public transit bus driver.

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Flags at half-mast at Tommy Douglas Centre over the loss of our Brother Irvine Fraser


Irvine Fraser Memorial Fund

Early in the morning of Februray 14th, a despicable attack took place on a Winnipeg Transit driver at the University of Manitoba. Each day and night, thousands of students rely on the many dedicated Winnipeg Transit drivers to get either to or from the University of Manitoba. For many students, education would be out of reach without the services provided by drivers like Irvine Fraser. Today we must rally around his family and friends who are mourning the loss of a loved one. I have created this GoFundMe as an opportunity for students and staff at UManitoba as well as members of the Winnipeg community to donate towards funeral expenses in addition to thanking Irvine for his dedication to public transportation and supporting his loved ones during this terrible time. Even small donations will make a difference.

Donate Now

Okanagan bus driver assaulted on Family Day

Concerns about bus safety in the Central Okanagan are being raised again, following another assault.

“One of our female bus drivers was assaulted on Monday during the family day statutory holiday while she was driving the bus,” said Scott Lovell, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1722.

The situation started on express Highway 97 bus, when passengers were boarding. One walked by, and the driver didn’t see the pass so she asked him to show it.

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In Memoriam

ATU Canada would like to convey our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Irvine Fraser. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

Union’s support for Kinnear uncertain

Transit employees’ union faces uncertain future, Feb. 8

As a retired member of ATU Local 113, I think the headline should have read “Bob Kinnear faces uncertain future.” It appears he has been working behind the back of the membership and the executive board in this matter. Why did he not bring this up when running for president last year if he so strongly believes in the evils of an international union?

I think Unifor would love to have local 113, not to give us better representation, but to provide itself with a cash cow due to the fact that we are no longer able to strike.

If Kinnear was trying to start a fully Canadian transit union I would maybe be on board. I was a member of the International Brotherhood of Pulp, Sulphite and Paper-Mill Workers in Canada when we in Canada broke away and formed the Canadian Paper-Workers Union back in the early ’70s and I was fully in favour of that move. Of course, mostly due to the decline of the paper industry in Canada, that union got gobbled up by what became Unifor.

I believe your article was trying to imply that Kinnear has the backing of the membership on this when he most probably does not. However, there are a lot of younger members of the local who might be easily persuaded by outlandish promises by Unifor representatives. I hope all members take a good look at what they have obtained through the ATU and reject any phony calls to patriotism by Unifor or Bob Kinnear.

Articles for protection re-instated for ATU Local 113

ATU Canada
February 10, 2017

TORONTO – In a letter to ATU Canada President Paul Thorp, Hassan Yussuf, President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) confirmed that articles for protection have been re-instated for ATU Local 113. Unifor has been instructed to cease and desist all raiding action on all ATU members and properties.

“ATU Canada is deeply troubled by the actions of Bob Kinnear and Unifor President Jerry Dias. ATU members can remain confident that all steps will be taken to ensure that the CLC constitution will be strictly followed,” Mr. Thorp stated.

Established in 2015, ATU Canada is the strong national voice for the Amalgamated Transit Union in Canada on all issues of Canadian interest, including legislation and political, educational, health and safety, cultural and social welfare matters. It is guided by core values of loyalty, teamwork, compassion, credibility and accountability.

Contact: Paul Thorp, President ATU Canada

Telephone Number: 416-679-8846

UNIFOR has been told to cease and desist all raiding action on the ATU

For Immediate Release: Local 113 Is Not For Sale

February 10, 2017
If it looks like a raid, sounds like a raid and acts like a raid. It is in fact a raid.
The actions of Bob Kinnear was never about Canadians losing their autonomy or a U.S based union trying to take over Canada.

This was about Mr. Kinnear conspiring with another union that wanted to raid local 113 without penalty and Bob getting revenge for not being elected Canadian IVP. He has attempted to sellout his local membership for his own personal gain.

The claims that the International have failed to support the local’s campaigns over the years are yet again another misdirection. When questioned by the media about emails that prove this conspiracy, Bob’s answer was to deny any knowledge of such email. Mr. Kinnear’s campaign is based on fear. Fear of losing our Canadian identity. Fear, that as Canadians we have no control. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The facts are clear. Mr. Kinnear is in breach of multiple Articles of our ATU International Constitution. As a 13-year president, Bob knows the Constitution and the consequences of being in breach of those articles.

For further details contact:

Paul Thorp President ATU Canada

Bob Kinnear Speech at ATU International Convention

Locals ATU Canada, 741, 966,987,846,1572&1573 attending CLC Lobby Day training in Ottawa. Lobbying for the Working People!


To: All Canadian Officers
From: Larry Hanley
Re: Unifor Raid
Date: February 6, 2017

It is explicitly clear that Bob Kinnear’s efforts to decertify ATU Local 113 are in fact part of a Unifor campaign to take over all ATU Locals in Canada.

Facts have emerged since last night’s call to support that.

Larry Hanley
International President
Amalgamated Transit Union
10000 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, Maryland