Melissa Bartolo Rego
University of Guelph
Bachelor of Science
Adriano De Angelis
Named after a Local 113 President/Business Agent in the 1940’s, this scholarship is available to ATU 113 members’ children who are graduating from Grade 12 and who are advancing to a university degree program OR who are already enrolled in a university degree program and have not previously received a scholarship from Local 113. Congratulations to our recipients!
What can best be described as the most tumultuous era in the history of ATU Local 113 will come to a close at the end of this year when Bob Kinnear steps aside as President after 12 years. The decision was announced to the entire membership in a voice broadcast call last Friday afternoon.
“I have been honoured and privileged to be your President for 12 years. During that time, we have accomplished many things, including the OHIP premium, the meal break allowance, the great improvement in our pension and much more. I am not taking credit for these improvements. It was the solidarity of the membership and your support. That is the way it has always been and will always be.
“In the spirit of developing more leadership to face our future challenges, I have decided to not run again as President of Local 113.”
Since taking office in January 2004, Kinnear has dealt with three TTC CGMs, three Toronto Mayors and four TTC Commission Chairs. He led negotiations for four collective agreements, one of which (2008) involved a short walkout that was ended by the Ontario Legislature in an unprecedented Sunday session. A mid-contract, half-day TTC service disruption incident in 2006 occurred after Kinnear had repeatedly warned the Commission and Mayor David Miller that the rising rate of assaults against TTC frontline staff was completely unacceptable and could no longer be tolerated. Shortly after the incident, the TTC began installing retractable plastic shields that vehicle Operators could deploy to protect themselves from attacks.
One of the most memorable times in TTC history came in 2010, when a picture of a Collector dozing off in the little-used McCowan station was plastered on the front page of the Toronto Sun. A media-fuelled frenzy of public anger and disrespect against TTC staff led to a series of public “town hall” meetings in which union members met with over a thousand people to discuss service concerns. The result was a widespread recognition that public discontent with the TTC was due to lack of funding and service cutbacks, not TTC staff.
Kinnear led the union’s charge against transit privatization in a series of public campaigns that showcased the uniformly bad experience with transit privatization around the world and the value of TTC employees who are committed to public service.
Kinnear has not said what his plans for the future are except that he hopes “I can continue to be of service to the cause of public transit and the labour movement.”
Caption for picture of Bob and Mulcair to be put at the top of the story:
Bob Kinnear with NDP Leader Tom Mulcair in Quebec City, just days before Kinnear’s announcement that he would not seek re-election as Local 113 President
Local 113 president Bob Kinnear said Vancouver’s 62% rejection of a sales tax increase to fund failed and increasingly expensive for-profit transit projects is a warning to governments that the public tolerance for privatization of public services has reached a breaking point.
Vancouver’s Translink (similar to the TTC but a so-called public-private partnership) suffered a huge blow when voters in a referendum turned thumb s down on the $7 billion sales tax plan to fund more transit in this highly congested region.
“Just as we saw in neighbouring Alberta, voters are tired of being fleeced by the corporate-government complex of backroom deals, huge political patronage and total lack of transparency involving taxpayers’ money,” said Bob Kinnear, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, which represents most Toronto Transit Commission and York Region Transit workers.
“Everyone who followed this story knows that Vancouverites are rational people who know they need more transit but do not trust Translink, which has has under-delivered on service improvements and wasted huge amounts of money while not being publicly accountable.
“People are tired of paying more and more for fewer and more stressed public services because corporate profits now have to be figured into the cost” says Kinnear, whose union has waged a long campaign against P3s in Ontario, calling them “Pick the Pockets of the Public.”
“It is a genuine populist uprising against the theft of public services,” says Kinnear, “Just like the Toronto referendum of 1920 that saw a 90% vote in favour of a fully-public transit system. People massively rejected the existing privately-run system back then and they have done that again today in Vancouver. Good for them.”
“We will work with our fellow transit workers in Vancouver to help bring their transit system back under public control and accountability,” says Kinnear.
“Around the world, there has never been a transit P3 that has performed as promised. Not one. It’s time for politicians to give up this delusion, and the corporate contributions that go along with this delusion.”
Upon learning of the vote, ATU International President Larry Hanley came to Canada to assess the development, as transit privatization is also a big issue in the United States.
“Canadians are very supportive of public transit,” said Hanley. “But they are fundamentally resistant to the privatization of public services, which is why there is no popular initiative to privatize the TTC. The Liberals snuck it through in British Columbia but that game is over. Americans and Canadians can learn a lot from each other in this whole P3 area.”
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