ATU Local 113 Sisters and Brothers marched in the 2019 Labour Day parade to celebrate the achievements of the Canadian Labour movement and recommit themselves to the ongoing fight for workers’ rights. With so much at stake with Premier Ford and his anti-labour PC Government, ATU Local 113 joined together with riders, transit advocates, politicians and other unions to share a clear message along the route, and to the many more following along on social media and in the news: Keep Transit Public.
To mark the 125 celebration of Labour Day, this year’s parade theme was, “Educate, Organize, Resist!” This is particularly meaningful for ATU Local 113 Sisters and Brothers who work every day to explain the risks of Premier Ford’s so-called subway upload to riders, inspiring them to get involved in their communities. Ripping apart the subway from the rest of the TTC will mean destroying its integrative nature, while putting it on a slippery slope to privatization – just look at GO Transit! Privatized transit means higher fares and reduced service, at a time when Toronto’s public transit system needs increased funding as it receives some of the lowest government operating subsidies in North America.
On the route, President Carlos Santos joined CP24 live to recognize the hard work of Toronto’s nearly 12,000 public transit workers. “We do everything, we are like a city in itself,” he said. “More than ever, [this year] is an important parade for us… Doug Ford has promised to deliver a subway upload and we are against it. We don’t believe it’s the best thing for the City of Toronto.”
President Carlos Santos also called on Premier Ford to come to the table in good faith to hear from public transit workers. So far he has refused calls from the ATU Local 113 leadership to discuss our shared vision for an improved and expanded transit system.
Before the parade began at 9:30 a.m., Sisters and Brothers gathered early in the morning at the Sheraton Hotel across from Toronto City Hall to talk about the importance of an organized labour movement, and pick up their ATU Local 113-branded gear that shows the public that the Local speaks with one strong voice.
Labour Day is also when Toronto bid farewell to the last two Articulated Light Rail Vehicles (ALRVS), locally nicknamed as “bendy” streetcars. Introduced into service in 1988, these streetcars have been in operation for more than 30 years. Shortly after the parade, some ATU Local 113 members, retirees and fortunate transit enthusiasts were able to catch one last ride along Queen Street.
Thank you to all members who joined the parade this year, and take the time to engage on the important issues that ATU Local 113 – and more largely, the city – face today. Keep Transit Public!