Sisters and Brothers,
ATU Local 113 today filed an application for an injunction with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice that seeks to pause the enforcement of the TTC’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy until an arbitrator makes a final decision on the original grievance we filed on this issue.
We request that the Court order that the TTC not put any employees on unpaid leave or terminate their employment until an arbitrator decides the union’s case, or in the alternative, for 60 days.
To be clear, this injunction is not about vaccinations. This is about protecting 2,000 members’ jobs and their means to provide for themselves, their families and loved ones.
ATU Local 113 supports COVID-19 vaccinations. We have never been opposed to vaccinations. However, we also remain firm in our belief that getting vaccinated should be the choice of each member, and as a union, we have a duty to support that choice.
The TTC has one of the most punitive vaccine policies of all transit agencies in Canada. Instead of firing unvaccinated employees and cutting service, the TTC should offer sensible alternatives, such as regular testing for the small percentage of workers who wish not to receive the vaccine, so they can continue proudly serving Toronto. These measures have already been successfully executed with Mississauga Transit and Brampton Transit and can be safely adopted in Toronto as well.
The TTC’s mandatory vaccine policy is inconsistent as it does not require TTC passengers to be vaccinated, meaning that the vast majority of people entering TTC workspaces, vehicles or stations are not required to be vaccinated. With the appropriate safety provisions such as regular testing, unvaccinated workers would not be putting Torontonians at risk.
ATU Local 113 members who have worked on the front lines throughout the pandemic should not be blamed for service cuts that will harm the public. The real reason for service cuts is low ridership, not workers’ vaccination status. The TTC should maintain service to avoid overcrowding and attract riders back to transit. Riders and Toronto’s dedicated transit heroes deserve better.
Unvaccinated ATU Local 113 members deserve to have their day in court before the TTC fires them and takes away their means to support themselves and their families.
We will keep you updated as the situation develops.
President, ATU Local 113