Doug Ford is trying to steal Toronto’s subway. Stop him. Sign the petition.

Learn more

Transit Unions across Canada Unite in Solidarity with TTC Workers

Amalgamated Transit Union members speak out against attempted raid of ATU Local 113 

TORONTO, ONTARIO – (February 9, 2017) – In a strong show of solidarity with the brothers and sisters of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113, today more than a dozen local union officers, including seven local presidents and the president of ATU Canada, stood shoulder-to-shoulder with ATU Local 113 at a news conference in downtown Toronto. Together, they represent tens of thousands of Canadian transit workers.

This show of strength comes after former Local 113 head, Bob Kinnear, announced he is working with Unifor to raid his own local.

Their message was clear: one person alone will not destroy a strong and united ATU that fights for the interests of thousands of hardworking transit workers and riders in Toronto and across Canada.


Statements from Presidents of ATU Locals across Canada:


Eric Tuck, President, ATU Local 107, Hamilton

“I am a part of one of the oldest Canadian ATU Locals. We went through our own fight like this from 2001-2002 when the government forced amalgamation of city unions. ATU 107 was up against a much larger union, but the International came to help alongside locals from all over Canada.  And we won! I’ve done my homework. There’s not a Unifor contract for transit workers that even compares to ATU’s. They don’t even come close.”


Jack Jackson, Acting President/Business Agent, ATU Local 1572, Mississauga

“This has nothing to do with unionism. And this has nothing to do with an International versus a Canadian union. This is about Bob Kinnear trying to find a place for Bob Kinnear. I don’t want to see my brothers and sisters belong to anyone other than this historic union of ours. This union has represented and protected us regardless of the borders for 120 years. None of us want to see this change.

ATU International is rolling out training videos so smaller locals like mine don’t have to spend excessive amounts of member money traveling for training. They’re fighting against assaults on bus operators, for bathroom breaks, and to fix blind spots on our buses. No other union is taking on those issues like ATU. We are by far the leaders in the transit industry.”

“The truth is that Bob Kinnear kept ATU Local 113 from getting help from the International. When Toronto-area locals had a meeting regarding MetroLinx, I reached out to the International President for help and he responded immediately.”


Jamie Larkin, President, ATU Local 1760, Ottawa

“For me, it’s about the members. I’m worried about what they’re going to lose if they are dragged into another union. They might be losing pensions, contract language… who knows? I’m here on their behalf.”

“This dispute isn’t about Washington. It’s not even about Canada. It’s about Bob. He doesn’t want anyone to do anything that he doesn’t control. Anytime Local 1760 has asked for assistance, the International has been right there to help.”


Clint Crabtree, President, ATU Local 279, Ottawa

“I’m afraid that if we let Bob and Unifor split up Local 113, it could happen to all local unions in Canada. Unifor is not the union I want to be a part as I am happy with ATU. We have a longstanding history. My members feel the same way.”

“Anytime I’ve reached out to anyone from the International, they got back to me immediately.”

“For the International General Executive Board to recognize Tommy Douglas, a Canadian, and put his name on a building where we get to attend trainings. That’s an honor. How can you say there’s a conflict?”


John Marchington, Assistant Business Agent, ATU Local 279, Ottawa

“ATU took a century to build the strong contracts we have today. What has Unifor done? They are promising nothing will happen to ATU Local 113’s pensions. Ask yourselves how that worked out for autoworkers.”



How Did We Get Here, and What Do We Do Next?

With the outpouring of support from more than 90% of our elected shop stewards, now 13 out of 17 of our Executive board members, and the fierce loyalty of you, the members who keep Toronto moving, ATU Local 113 is back to the business of representing its members – and that means every day we are 100% focused on issues that matter to public transit workers.

We’re turning our focus to the issues you face, from grievances in the divisions and shops to protecting our public pensions to fighting attacks like the province’s essential services law and TTC’s drug testing. Nonetheless, we hear your calls for help clearing up the confusion. To help, we put together this timeline of events:

  • August 2015: Kinnear says it’s time “to pass the torch.” He announces that he won’t run for re-election. September 2015: Kinnear is elected president of ATU Canada.
  • October 2015: He decides to run for re-election as President of ATU Local 113 after all. Several days later, he is forced to resign as President of ATU Canada.
  • December 2015: Kinnear is narrowly re-elected but violates the union constitution, illegally using membership lists in campaign while denying opponents access. A special election is ordered.
  • September 2016: Kinnear is re-elected in special election.
  • October 2016: Kinnear breaks commitment to ATU Local 113 members to stay a full term. He immediately announces his campaign for ATU International Vice President. He loses.
  • February 2017: By seeking to bring ATU Local 113 members out of their union without the consent of their elected Executive Board, Kinnear violates union constitution and local by-laws. This triggers a trusteeship by the ATU International. Most board members and stewards rally once they understand that Kinnear is no longer representing us.

Shortly after, the trustee uncovers documents showing Kinnear secretly conspired with Unifor to raid ATU Local 113. He took ATU membership lists to help raid. At a press conference with Unifor, he admits his betrayal and knowing its consequences:

“If I had brought this to a full board meeting…I would have been ousted five minutes after that meeting was over.” – Bob Kinnear, February 7, 2017, The Globe and Mail

Next in 2017: ATU Local 113 trustee and leaders have restored full operations to the local. We will hold a hearing soon regarding removed officers. ATU Local 113 remains the official bargaining unit representatives of TTC transit workers.