Transit Union Supports Argos New High School Football Program

Thursday, Sep 24

Local 113 was on hand at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate in northwest Toronto to celebrate the launch of the “Level the Playing Field” program of The Argos Foundation, in partnership with the Toronto Argonauts Football Club, the Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Foundation for Student Success. Local 113 has been a major supporter of the Argos Foundation since its inception.

Students at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate, gathered outside on their field to witness the return of their school’s football team for the first time in 19 years. Through The Level the Playing Field Program, The Argos Foundation has provided the funding for four Toronto high schools to resurrect their football teams, lost years ago to funding restraints. This year, C.W. Jefferys at Jane and Finch, North Albion Collegiate in Rexdale, Eastern Commerce in East York and Lester B. Pearson in Malvern, have welcomed students back to the gridiron.

Rocco Signorile, Local 113 Executive Board Member for Roncesvalles/Russell/Wheel-Trans, represented the Local.

Each school will have a designated Toronto Argonauts player as an ambassador to their team, attending practices, pep rallies and games at their designated schools. Toronto Argonauts Cheerleaders will work with the school’s cheerleading team, teaching them dance routines and sideline cheers. Even the Toronto Argonauts Coaching staff are getting involved, hosting an exclusive coach’s clinic for the new team coaches.

[image align=”alignleft” image_size_alias=”250*194″ image_alt=”” margin_top=”” margin_right=”” margin_bottom=”” margin_left=”” action=”none” image_action_link=”#” target=”_self” link_title=”” sc_id=”sc1336104121976″][/image]Rocco with CITY-TV newscaster Dwight Drummond, a member of the board of the Argos Foundation and a former C.W. Jefferys student. Drummond thanked ATU Local 113 for their support of the Argos Foundation and also for our generosity in helping fund The Children’s Breakfast Club, which provides a nutritious morning meal for hundreds of disadvantaged school children.

[image align=”alignleft” image_size_alias=”250*194″ image_alt=”” margin_top=”” margin_right=”” margin_bottom=”” margin_left=”” action=”none” image_action_link=”#” target=”_self” link_title=”” sc_id=”sc1336104121976″][/image]Rocco Signorile with the quarterbacks of two of the high school teams being supported by the Argos Foundation, along with Argos QB Kerry Joseph.

ATU 113 Public Poll Finds “Huge Support” for Free TTC Rides for World War II and Korean War Vets

Wed, 2009-12-16

December 16, 2009

A public poll commissioned by Local 113 of the Amalgamated Transit Union found that four out of five City of Toronto residents approve the idea of giving free public transit service on the TTC to Canadian veterans of World War II and the Korean War.

“We’re not surprised but we’re gratified at the huge public support for our proposal,” said Local 113 President Bob Kinnear.

Kinnear had advocated the free service for vets at the November meeting of the Toronto Transit Commission. The Commissioners will consider the proposal at its January 2010 meeting.

The poll asked 497 Toronto residents if they supported free TTC service for the vets. 80.7 per cent indicated their agreement with this idea. 11.7 per cent disagreed and 7.7 per cent were not sure or had no opinion. The poll, conducted by Toronto-based Public Polling, an automated phone survey company, is accurate to within 4.4 per cent 19 times out of 20.

“We hope this poll assists the Commissioners in making a favourable decision for vets on this matter,” said Kinnear. “It is obviously not a permanent liability because all these vets are over 70 years old. It’s about time we gave this small gesture of thanks for their service to those who are still able to take the TTC.

“We were also pleased to learn from the poll that young people were as likely as older respondents to favour the free TTC service for vets. It speaks well of them that they recognize the value of the sacrifices made by their grandparents’ generation.”

In Ontario, the cities of Windsor, Guelph and Peterborough currently provide free transit for Canadian World War II and Korean War veterans. It is not known how many such veterans live in Toronto.

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Union donates $5000 for Scarborough hospital beds

Fri, 2012-05-25

[image align=”alignleft” image_size_alias=”400*327″ image_alt=”” margin_top=”” margin_right=”” margin_bottom=”” margin_left=”” action=”none” image_action_link=”#” target=”_self” link_title=”” sc_id=”sc1336104121976″][/image] The members of ATU Local 113 donated $5,000 towards the Rouge Valley Health System Foundation in conjunction with a “bed race” at Scarborough Town Centre at which the union fielded a team. The money was enough to fund one state-of-the-art hospital bed for the Rouge Valley Centenary Hospital, the main facility of the eastern Toronto health system. The goal of the event was to raise enough for 100 new beds.

“This donation is consistent with Local 113’s longstanding commitment to give back to the community we serve, especially in the areas of health care and programs for the disadvantaged,” said Bob Kinnear, who presented the cheque to Fundraising Co-Chair Ward 43 Councillor Paul Ainslie.

Union reacts to TTC arbitration decision

Tue, 2012-06-05

Following is a statement by Bob Kinnear, President of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 on the arbitration award relating to Toronto Transit Commission workers.

“The Burkett award represents a compromise between the interests of both the union and the TTC. The wage increase of two per cent per year for three years is roughly comparable to other recent transit settlements in Ontario although it is somewhat less than the rate of inflation in Ontario in 2011 (3.1%) and it is impossible to predict how much inflation will further erode purchasing power over the next two years.

“As for the change that now requires a medical note for even one day of absence due to illness or disability, it will perhaps save the TTC a few dollars by discouraging workers from taking the occasional sick day off because it is so difficult to see one’s family doctor on such short notice. But it is no benefit to an overstressed medical system to have workers going to doctors because of a short-term case of flu, for example, and it is no benefit to TTC passengers to have vehicle Operators report for duty if they are feeling ill. We can only hope TTC management is reasonable in its application of this new rule. Full statement>

“Our main concern with the award, however, is not what it contains but rather what it does not deal with. As we predicted at the time of the essential service legislation, the arbitration process simply cannot replace the negotiating process in a system as large and complex as the TTC. Efficient operation of a major urban transit system requires regular discussion and fine-tuning of many issues that may seem small to outside observers but are nevertheless important to improvement in day-to-day operations. Staff scheduling issues, for example, have always been part of negotiations and there has always been a degree of give-and-take on such matters with the result always being incremental efficiencies that serve both passengers and taxpayers while meeting the legitimate concerns of the workers in the areas of job stability and skills recognition.

“But no arbitrator can replace the highly specific knowledge that both TTC management and the union bring to such detailed negotiations. And since the parties can reasonably assume that future contracts will be decided by a third-party arbitrator who will not feel qualified to rule on technical issues beyond his or her knowledge, there is now little or no incentive for the give-and-take that leads to greater operational efficiency.

“This is the main reason why TTC management itself, not just the union, was publicly opposed to the essential service legislation. They knew it would reduce their operational flexibility and that this was not in the best interests of the City. The decision to designate the TTC as an essential service was motivated by cynical political considerations at both the city and provincial levels. It was an historic mistake but one for which the cost can never be known because it is impossible to calculate what operational efficiencies could have resulted from unfettered negotiations. We can only hope that cooler heads will prevail when the legislation comes up for review in 2016.”

Tragedy on TTC

Fri, 2012-09-14

A TTC Maintenance worker was killed and another seriously injured when they were struck by a service train just before 5:00 a.m. this morning near Yorkdale Station on the Yonge-University-Spadina line.

“This is a great tragedy for the families of the victims and for the entire TTC family,” said ATU President Local 113 President Bob Kinnear, who arrived at the scene shortly after the accident was reported to Toronto EMS.

“We do not yet know how this happened but the investigation is intense and all agencies involved, including the union, will not rest until we know everything that is possible to know about how this happened.”

The names of the victims are not being released pending notification of their families.

“We ask the media to give the families some time to deal personally with this tragedy and direct all enquiries for the time being through the union,” said Kinnear.

113th Gala a huge success

Sun, 2012-10-14

Hundreds of Local 113 members, retirees and guests from ATU locals around North America packed the ballroom at Toronto’s Sheraton Centre on October 13th to help celebrate the 113th anniversary of the 1899 founding of the local. It was a spectacular event, with fireworks, ice sculptures, music and movies. “Unbelievably great!” was the summation of Larry Hanley, ATU International President, who addressed the crowd. “When Local 113 does something, they do it better than anyone else,” Hanley said to great applause.

The evening began with an inspiring historical video of Local 113 made especially for the occasion. As the video ended, celebratory sparklers erupted from the centrepieces at every table as fireworks went off on the stage.

ATU Local 589, the Boston Carmen’s Union, made a presentation to the Local of a large picture containing artistic portraits of streetcars from the two cities. President John Lee praised 113 and its leadership for their long history of solidarity and the special relationship of the two locals that has stretched back for decades.

Several City of Toronto Councillors attended the event: Maria Augimeri, Joe Mihevic, Kristen Wong-Tam and Paula Fletcher, along with MPP Peter Tabuns and Member of Parliament Olivia Chow, a federal champion for Toronto transit and its workers. Toronto and York Region Labour Council President John Cartwright also attended.

After the dinner, Toronto-born rock icon Kim Mitchell and his band played to an enthusiastic crowd that jammed the dance floor and sang along to his hits. Dancing lasted into the early morning as a disk jockey picked up from Kim Mitchell.

“I have never been at a greater union event,” said a streetcar Operator out of Roncesvalles. “In fact, I can’t remember being at a greater party of any kind,” she added. “I am proud to be part of the history of this great union.”

Executive Board Election Results

Monday, Oct 29

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113

Executive Board Election Results.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Bob Kinnear* (Acclaimed)

Manny Sforza*

Kevin Morton

Scott Gordon*

Frank Grimaldi*

Paul Callaghan

Rocco Signorile (Acclaimed)

Phil Horgan

John Di Nino*

Tony Vaccaro

Sandro Bonadies

Carmen Lint*

Cliff Piggott* (Acclaimed)


Mark Bertoia*

Anthony Watson

Frank Malta

John Wales*

Bob Kinnear statement on the TTC “Whistleblower” program

Mon, 2013-07-22

During my ten years as President of Local 113, I long ago lost track of the number of times I have said that the union does not in any way condone any illegal or unsafe acts by TTC workers. Our members understand that they work in a position of public trust and any alleged violation of that trust is subject to a disciplinary process in accordance with our collective agreement.

My only concern with this new initiative is that it publicly promotes the idea that there is widespread fraud and theft on the part of TTC employees that has yet to be discovered. There is simply no evidence for this and how this is supposed to improve morale is beyond me.

What we do know is that an already bloated TTC management is bloating up even more, at the expense of better front line service. And apparently all these managers are so incompetent that they have to contract out to the private sector their main responsibility, which is the care and custody of public assets.

If TTC senior management feels that this special little program will make them look like they doing more to bring the bad guys to justice, good luck to them. But I think it has about as much chance of success as “The Lone Ranger” had at the box office.

I only wish that the same attention was paid to those many, many TTC workers who go above and beyond the call of duty to serve the public with a shamefully-underfunded public transit system. The daily injustice against our front line members is that many TTC users blame them for the inadequate system that is the dubious legacy of bickering, small-minded politicians.

Contact: Bill Reno, 416-223-7366

Bob Crow: UK’s fearless union leader dies

Wed, 2014-03-12

A lion of the labour movement has left us. Bob Crow was leader of Britain’s Rail, Maritime and Transport Union most notably the London Underground workers. He died at age 52 on March 10, 2014.

Crow was demonized by commuters for calling frequent strikes but idolized by the members for the high wages and benefits and respect he won for them. His members who operate the Underground make about $85,000, straight time.

“Tube workers are the only working-class people who still have well-paid jobs in London,” said former mayor Ken Livingstone.

There were growing ties between RMT and ATU Local 113 forged by Crow and Bob Kinnear, who got to know one another in recent years. Crow invited Kinnear to attend and address the RMT’s annual conference in Scotland in 2012 and Crow visited Toronto early last year to discuss with 113 international strategies against privatization. Crow as a fierce opponent of transit privatization and many of the 35 strikes he called were spurred by that issue.

“He was the most dynamic labour leader I have ever had the privilege to meet,” said Kinnear, who sent a tribute to Crow’s private funeral on behalf of Local 113 members.

“He was absolutely fearless in standing up for his members. The U.K. labour movement has lost a giant of a leader.”

Bob Crow, leader of Britain’s Rail, Maritime and Transport Union, denied being “the most hated man in London” after a transit strike.

By: Jennifer Quinn News reporter, Published on Tue Mar 11 2014

The Star Policards: 0 Councillors mentioned in this article

Bob Crow is someone you may never have heard of. But he could, and sometimes did, bring one of the world’s great cities to its knees. How? Simple: shut down London’s Tube.

Crow, the leader of Britain’s Rail, Maritime and Transport Union, died suddenly Tuesday. He was 52. Crow was the U.K.’s most recognizable labour figure, an idol to his union’s members — which included London Underground workers — and, at times, a demon to commuters.

For seven years, I was one of them.


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I always had mixed feelings about Crow: I very much admired his commitment to his union’s members, and was pleased they were paid a good wage in a very expensive city. (In 2011, a deal was struck that gave Tube train drivers, for example, a salary of about 50,000 pounds a year — roughly $81,000 Canadian at the time.)

former mayor Ken Livingstone told Sky News on Tuesday, “are his members.”

But when strikes were called — which happened enough when I was living in London — I loathed Crow, whom I (perhaps unreasonably) saw as the reason I was having trouble getting to work.

And I was not alone. Crow was once asked what it was like to be “the most hated man in London,” after a strike.

“If anybody says it is nice to be known as hated, they’re lying,” he told the Guardian in 2009. “But I’m not hated. They’re lying. I’m not the most hated. I tell you what, I’ve been travelling around on the trains, and I don’t get no aggro at all.”

It’s difficult to explain what a nightmare London can be without the Tube. About 3.5 million people use the underground every day and when it is shut, tempers fray. Traffic snarls. People even give up on queuing in their haste to get on a bus, and queuing, as everyone knows, is a mainstay of British civilization.

Londoners sometimes just choose to stay home during a strike, rather than face the hassle of trying to get around a huge city with chaos on public transportation, which nearly 50 per cent of commuters use to get to work, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Crow always seemed unapologetic about the inconvenience the strikes were causing Londoners, but then, it wasn’t his job to look after us: He was looking after his members.

“Some people obviously dislike me and what we’re standing for, I accept that,” Crow said in a 2011 interview with the Financial Times (which, he told the journalist, his father told him to read, and then believe the exact opposite). “But 10 times that amount of people come up and shake my hand.”

Even those who butted heads with Crow, such as current London Mayor Boris Johnson — the Toriest of Tories — admired his commitment to those he represented.

“Bob Crow was a fighter and a man of character,” Johnson, who recently had words with Crow on a phone-in radio program, said Tuesday in an emailed statement to Bloomberg News. “Whatever our political differences, and there were many, this is tragic news. Bob fought tirelessly for his beliefs and for his members.”

Crow was born in 1961 in east London. He started working on the London Underground when he was 16, and became involved with unions when he was 19, the BBC reported. Crow took over as leader of the RMT in 2002, and under his leadership, increased membership by 20,000, to about 80,000.

He always seemed like a complex man: He reportedly earned 145,000 pounds ($267,000 Canadian) as the head of the union, yet lived in social housing. The Guardian journalist Decca Aitkenhead, who interviewed Crow in February, wrote Tuesday that she was “pretty sure he considered his unpopularity among the media and political classes a signifier of success, because he wore it like a badge of honour.”

Though Crow fell out with the Labour Party — he once heckled a speech by then-Prime Minister Tony Blair at a union conference — its leader still paid tribute to Crow, saying he was “loved and deeply respected by his members.”

“I didn’t always agree with him politically,” Ed Miliband tweeted, “but I always respected his tireless commitment to fighting for the men and women in his union.”

Crow was a fan of south London’s Millwall Football Club, whose supporters have a rather rough-and-tumble reputation. Many of the obituaries penned about the union leader on Tuesday included references to the team’s famous chant.

“No one likes us,” it goes. “We don’t care.”

TTC riders brings message of transit funding needs to governments

Mon, 2014-04-07

TTC riders emerged as a response to the tens of thousands of transit users who said that they want better transit in Toronto.

Their campaigns are clever and fun, such as the TTC Sardines Award presented to Ontario Minister of Transportation Glen Murray.

Their goal is to build a TTC that works with and for transit riders. Our Vision for a public transit system is based on the following guiding principles:

– Fair and affordable fares
– Building modern, fast transit into all corners of the city as fast as possible
– Making public transit fully accessible transit
– Frequent service that connects all our neighbourhoods
– Environmental sustainability
– Respect for front line TTC workers
– Respect for fellow TTCriders

Their power depends upon the support of riders and their allies. If you share their vision then become a member of TTCriders.

ATU Local 113 supports TTCriders and congratulates them for their activism in support of a critical need for Toronto’s economic, social and environmental future.