“Stop begging - start demanding federal transit funding” says TTC union as it issues major report on state of Toronto transit and what must be done to fix it
TORONTO/ The union that represents 10,000 Operations and Maintenance workers at the Toronto Transit Commission today presented a 160-page report – Toronto’s Transit Future – that analyzes in detail the many challenges facing the TTC and provides dozens of specific and costed-out recommendations for addressing them.
“Toronto’s transit crisis is worse than most people realize,” said Bob Kinnear, President of Local 113 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, to a City Hall press conference. “The TTC had been going downhill for many years, even before the four lost years of the City’s Ford administration, when transit services were cut and bickering about expansion projects paralyzed progress.”
“Governments at all three levels must act swiftly and decisively or our city’s further economic development will be strangled by intolerable road congestion and our increasingly polluted air will kill even more people than it does already.”
Kinnear said that the union’s report is unique in its depth of analysis, its rigorous cost accounting and its comprehensive recommendations covering everything from traffic signal priority to advanced rider information tools, to vehicle life extension programs to major multi-billion-dollar projects such as new LRT routes and Mayor-elect John Tory’s SmartTrack concept.
“We don’t have all the answers, nobody does,” said Kinnear. “But for the first time in our 115-year history as a union, we have consolidated in one place the vast knowledge and experience of our members on the operational and maintenance realities of our transit system. We’ve also consulted with transit experts and rider groups to produce a source document that will serve as a guide to informed discussion and decision-making for many months, if not years, to come.
Kinnear also said the 2015 Federal election presents an opportunity to use democracy to help resolve the funding crisis.
“It’s time to stop begging and start demanding,” he said.
“Our union wants to help spearhead a united city movement to make transit the number one issue in next year’s election. Whatever our different political allegiances may be, we must speak with one voice to all federal parties: ‘Don’t try to distract us with a multitude of tax breaks, regional rivalries and socially controversial hot buttons. Tell us exactly what you are going to do to help fix transit in Canada’s largest city, right now and into the future.
“Get out of your limos, get on a bus and compete for our votes.’”
ATU has launched a special website: TorontoTransitFuture.ca, which contains the full report, a separate 32-page summary, a short introductory video and social media feedback features.
We would like to extend a big thank you to all of this year's golf tournament sponsors:
ATU Local 589
Season Group Corporation
Northern Trust Company, Canada
James A. Knowles Inc.
Triovest Realty Advisors Inc.
Canadian Benefits Consulting Group
Ursel Phillips Fellows Hopkinson LLP
Atchison & Denman Court Reporting Services Ltd
TD Asset Management Inc.
State Street Global Advisors
Thornburg Investment Management
Letko, Brosseau & Associates Inc.
Northleaf Capital Partners (Canada) Ltd.
Thistle Printing Limited
Baycor Construction Ltd.
Stern Cohen LLP
Mawer Investment Management Ltd.
Burgundy Asset Management Ltd.
ATU Local 308
Mercer (Canada) Limited
Crestline Canada Inc.
Invesco Trimark Institutional Investments
Canso Investment Counsel Ltd
The Personal Insurance Company
Phillips Hager & North Investment Management
Should a Bus Operator be fired for running a red light? That question has gripped Toronto since the first airing of the amateur video showing a TTC going through a red light at Eglinton near Kennedy last week. Before her disciplinary meeting, the Operator, a single mother of two, who wishes to remain anonymous wrote a letter to TTC management fully explaining what happened and apologized very contritely. It had no effect. She was fired. President Bob Kinnear then issued a public statement asking the TTC to reconsider the firing and assign the Operator to another job, perhaps after a suspension. Kinnear stressed to the public that the union does not minimize the error and that the union’s strict policy is “Safety First.” Even so, the punishment should fit the offence. No one was injured and the circumstances were such that anyone could have made the same error. All major TV networks, several radio stations and newspapers carried the story, which was discussed all over the city.
An interesting twist happened on Wednesday when the man who shot the video called Bob Kinnear and said he was “devastated” that the video had caused the woman to lose her job. He gave the union permission to release his statement and agreed to talk to the media.
The TTC is unmoved by all of this. Brad Ross told the media that the TTC considers the matter “closed.” The union, however, does not. We believe that the penalty was too harsh. The TTC hired her for good reasons and invested a lot in her training. A penalty and a demotion should be enough for this error, which was an admitted mistake, but without anyone being hurt.
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