International Women’s Day Toronto: Rally and March

On Saturday, March 9th, members of ATU Local 113 took part in the
International Women’s Day Toronto Rally and March.

Thousands of women and allies marched from the University of Toronto to Ryerson University for the annual event.

On behalf of our Women’s Committee, Sister Tracey Brown shared the message below:

“I would like to acknowledge and thank all of the Sisters and Brothers who took time over the weekend to come out and support the event. Having both current and retired members (John Brown and Eleanor McKnight) coming together with other unions to march in union solidarity was wonderful to see. A special thanks to Vice President Rick Fox, Assistant Business Agent Frank Malta, Executive Board Members Marvin Alfred, Claudio Cappadocia, Aleem Tharani, Pino D’Armiento, Jason DaSilva, and Tony Meglio for getting involved!

Pictured together during the March are Mike D’Agostino, Angela Olmstead, and Tracey Brown

I would also like to thank Shop Steward Rico Signore, my fellow By-Law Committee Member Mike D’Agostino, Health and Safety Liaison Andrew Falotico and ATU Canada President John DiNino. Your support does not go unnoticed.

ATU Local 113 Sisters and allies pictured together in front of Ryerson University

The turnout grows every year and I’m hoping that next year’s IWD event will have an even greater attendance and impact.

In Solidarity,

Tracey Brown, Women’s Committee”

ATU Local 113 Encourages the Public to Join the Fight and Tell Doug Ford that it’s #OURSubway

We made history on Day of Action (February 22, 2019) with our decision to stand united by wearing our “Don’t Steal Our Subway!” t-shirts while on the job.

As the people who have owned, maintained and operated the TTC for over 100 years, we believe that Toronto riders deserve a public transit system that is safe, efficient and reliable.

With this in mind, we must ensure every Torontonian knows about the Ford government’s plan to steal our subway will reduce service within a broken system while the province sets the stage for privatization, much like we have seen with Metrolinx’s GO transit system and the Eglinton Crosstown.

Watch, share and comment on the video launched today that shows what we accomplished together on Day of Action. Then, if you have not already, sign the pledge yourself and urge those around you to do the same.

Day of Action 2019

We made history on Day of Action (February 22, 2019) with our decision to stand united by wearing our “Don’t Steal Our Subway!” t-shirts while on the job.As the people who have owned, maintained and operated the TTC for over 100 years, we believe that Toronto riders deserve a public transit system that is safe, efficient and reliable. With this in mind, we must ensure every Torontonian knows about the Ford government’s plan to steal our subway will reduce service within a broken system while the province sets the stage for privatization.

Posted by ATU Local 113 on Thursday, March 7, 2019

Together, we must slam the brakes on Ford’s disastrous scheme to steal our subway. 

Fare evasion: we can no longer afford to starve our public transit system of cash

Sisters and Brothers,

When NEWSTALK 1010 approached me to participate on its Toronto Talks Transit program, I decided to join the panel because I knew it was important for our members to have a voice at the table.

For far too long, our members have been blamed for the TTC’s problems, when in reality these growing issues are a result of underfunding, overcrowding and bad management policies.

On the NEWSTALK 1010 program, I was happy to raise the point that TTC workers should be responsible for fixing broken Presto machines – not Metrolinx’s contract workers. Even Deputy Mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong said the TTC Board should look into this. I was also happy to defend our membership against the TTC’s discriminatory random drug and alcohol testing, which fails to protect the public and does not actually indicate impairment on the job.

What I was unhappy about were questions that seemed to blame our members, including fare collectors, for the TTC’s major fare evasion problem. The truth is I have not received any complaints about our members being responsible, as I stated on the program. That is because our members are not responsible – TTC policy states that fare collectors are to report, not enforce fares.

Our members are also not responsible for the growing problems that lead to fare evasion:

  • Malfunctioning Presto machines
  • Misuse of children’s Presto cards
  • Not having enough frontline workers at stations
  • Overcrowding that makes it easier to evade fares

My views on fare evasion are clear. Here is my deputation to the TTC Board on February 27, 2019. Watch it here:

Deputation to the TTC Board on February 27, 2019

President Carlos Santos delivers a deputation to the TTC Board on February 27, 2019.

Posted by ATU Local 113 on Wednesday, March 6, 2019

As I have said before – and I’ll say again: The TTC needs to act now to fix fare evasion. We can no longer afford to starve our public transit system of much-needed cash.

In solidarity,

Carlos Santos

President, ATU Local 113

CUPE Local 416 Sings: “It isn’t Us!”

The practical impacts of privatization may not always be obvious.

After Toronto started contracting out snow removal and salting services to private companies in the late 1990s, snow clearing contracts with the City of Toronto were taken away from members of CUPE Local 416. As complaints from citizens about snow removal top new highs, CUPE Local 416 makes it clear through a parody of Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me” that clearing snow is a private matter.  

This demonstrates how privatization is bad for Torontonians and why we must Keep Transit Public!

Education through Celebration: ATU Local 113 Celebrates Black History Month

The beat of the African drums and smell of traditional Afro cuisine at Mount Dennis brought together ATU Local 113 members and management on February 26, for the first of two ATU Local 113 celebrations to mark Black History Month in February.

ATU Local 113 members enjoy African cuisine—rice, jerk chicken, curry chicken and fresh greens.
The main entertainment included traditional African drumming, vocal and dance.

In celebration of Black History Month, ATU Local 113 invited everyone at the division to join in on music, dance and food that recognizes and celebrates Black history—breaking down walls between cultures and ethnic backgrounds by making it clear that the invitation was open to all.

“I’ve never seen so many people engaged here at the division,” said David Spence, bus operator and owner of Fly Crown Official, an exclusive clothing line that had a pop-up shop at the celebration. “There’s typically negative chatter about what we go through day-to-day on the job, but today it’s all about positivity… it feels like home.”

The Mount Dennis Division is where the first Black History Month celebration started a year ago with a single individual: Brother Paul Wong.

Since high school, Wong’s deep interest in the history of Black people and their fight for rights and freedom became close to his heart.

Leading the celebration for yet another year, Paul shared that with growing diversity in the workplace, Black history is an integral part of Canada that everyone should celebrate. “Growing up, I did not see many black drivers,” said Paul. “But now, things have changed. There is more diversity, and we should be recognizing and celebrate it.”

The growing diversity also extends to riders. “Celebrating Black History Month is also a recognition of the people and the city we work with and provide our service to,” said Marvin Alfred, Executive Board Member of Transportation. “I’m proud of all members who move Toronto, and our small celebration here is a showcase of our collective achievements.”

Pictured is Carlos Santos, President; Paul Wong, Bus Operator and Event Organizer; Steve Hajoglou, Shop Steward; Marvin Alfred, Executive Board Member – Transportation; Anthony Wallace, Board Member At Large – Transportation; Frank Malta, Assistant Business Agent – Transportation.

Another key element of the event was all about educating participants. After all, Black History Month began as a way for remembering and learning about people and events in the history of the African Diaspora.

Part of the celebrations included a display of important Black figures, and a layout of books all about Black history.


A spread of books written by African-American or African-Canadian authors or about key figures who identify as Black.

Next year in February, make sure to look out for Black History Month events at your division!

In an Unprecedented Show of Solidarity, Transit Advocates Unite with Riders Against Ford: “Don’t Steal #OURSubway!”

Transit advocates united on Friday, February 22 with riders in an unprecedented show of solidarity against Doug Ford and his subway upload scheme, canvassing over 35 TTC subway stations during rush hour in the largest Day of Action to date. This came as ATU Local 113 Sisters and Brothers wore “Don’t Steal Our Subway” and “Keep Transit Public” t-shirts on the job, alerting riders of the threat to Toronto’s public transit system.

“We’re taking action in solidarity with the citizens of Toronto,” said ATU Local 113 President Carlos Santos on CP24 early this morning. “Ripping the TTC Subway from the rest of our public transit system will create havoc for riders, adding unnecessary bureaucracy to our system and take local control away from city transit planning,” he added in an interview with CBC.ca.

ATU Local 113 President Carlos Santos explaining the risks for Toronto’s public transit system beside Jessica Bell, MPP for University – Rosedale and NDP Transit Critic.

ATU Local 113 Sisters and Brother wearing “Don’t Steal Our Subway” and “Keep Transit Public” t-shirts on the job at Eglinton Station in an unprecedented show of solidarity.

President Carlos Santos’ bold t-shirt initiative comes as Toronto City Hall and the Government of Ontario announced the terms of references for negotiations for the so-called subway upload – a deal inked in backroom secrecy. “We need to act before it’s too late,” he shared with riders at Queen’s Park station. “Torontonians have owned, operated and maintained the TTC for over 100 years – and on my watch, it’ll be another century. We paid for it!”

ATU Canada President John Di Nino, Toronto City Councillors Gord Perks and Joe Cressy, and NDP MPP Jessica Bell joined the Transit Day of Action alongside hundreds from community groups, unions and local and provincial governments.

Torontonians concerned about their public transit system are urged to join the fight and tell Doug Ford “Don’t steal #OURsubway!”

TTC Bus Operator’s Bedazzled Nails Go Viral, Brightening Commutes and Challenging Stereotypes

Toronto’s frigid winter temperatures often result in frustrating transit delays. But when Brigit O’Neil boarded ATU Local 113 brother Michael Maguire’s vehicle a couple of weeks ago after a long wait, her mood was instantly improved as soon as she spotted his nails. O’Neil shared her experience in a viral Twitter thread leading to thousands of new Instagram followers for Maguire as he continues to brighten commutes and challenge stereotypes.

Maguire joined Citytv’s Breakfast Television this week to speak about his fabulous nails. In response to stereotypes that men do not get their nails done he responded, “I let the nails talk.” He then added with a radiant smile and confident demeanor, “I do it because it’s all about me!”

Maguire’s nail obsession started with an ice storm five years ago. He slipped and shattered his left leg, forcing him to be in a cast for months. When his cast was removed, the uncleanly state of his feet prompted the nurse to suggest nail care. Maguire took the suggestion seriously, and now looks to Pinterest and Instagram for nail art inspirations.

The rest is history. Now with an earned nickname “Nails,” Maguire‘s choice of self-expression has become a point of personal joy – both for himself, and as a TTC operator serving his community better.

Keep it up, Michael!

ATU Local 113 and TTCriders agree: the Terms of Reference agreement for the TTC break up is a step backwards for our public transit system

The agreement between the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario is a step in the wrong direction. In fact, the agreement is a step backwards for Torontonians who deserve an integrated service they can rely on.

Torontonians have been crystal clear: we do not consent to Premier Ford stealing our subway. Toronto City Council has already voted twice to continue to own, operate and maintain transit service. Having efficient and reliable public transit can only come by properly funding the system, not breaking it apart and privatizing it.

A publicly owned TTC and its 11,500 public transit workers are best positioned to deliver transit in an efficient and effective manner. We serve the communities we live in, and we’ve been doing it “the better way” since the early days of the TTC.

Sadly, it’s the riders who will pay the consequences of the so-called TTC subway upload. It will lead to the privatization of our cherished public transit, similar to what is happening with Metrolinx’s GO system.

Privatization will mean higher fares and reduced service, while private companies stand to line their pockets from contracts, such as scandal-plagued SNC-Lavalin and Bombardier (currently unable to deliver streetcars on time). It’s time to deliver for Toronto’s public transit riders – and it’s not through Premier Ford’s disastrous plan.

Transit Advocacy Group TTCriders on what’s at Risk for Our Public Transit System

Following the agreement becoming publicly available, Toronto’s transit advocacy group TTCriders shared that the Terms of Reference released by the City and Province on subway upload negotiations is missing two crucial aspects: the City’s capacity to oppose it and the principle of affordability.

“Premier Ford hasn’t convinced anyone that stealing the subway will deliver better transit,” said Shelagh Pizey-Allen, their Executive Director. “This city’s transit riders deserve much better.”

“The best way to make transit affordable and fix overcrowding and delays is to fund operations,” said Pizey-Allen. “If the province steals the subway, riders will lose out with higher fares, a crumbling subway system, and less say. The only people who stand to benefit from the plan are developers, who will get handed public land on top of stations.”

The provincial transit agency, Metrolinx, is exploring charging higher fares for riding the subway. “People who can’t keep up with the increasing fares will get stuck on the bus, while others get premium service on the subway,” said Pizey-Allen. “They’ve also considered a fare-by-distance model, which would leave residents in Scarborough and Etobicoke paying more.”

“There’s nothing in the Terms of Reference about making sure transit is accessible for everyone in this city.”

TTCriders is also raising the alarm that the Terms of Reference scraps the City’s ability to refuse the upload plan. “We, residents of and riders in Toronto, have the right to say ‘No’,” said Pizey-Allen.

Torontonians concerned about their public transit system are encouraged to sign the petition to Keep Transit Public. ATU Local 113 members are urged to email fight2win@atu113.net to get involved.

READ: TTC spoof ad skewering Doug Ford appears on Toronto subway

A spoof advertisement appeared on a subway car calling out Premier Ford on his disastrous subway upload plan. To improve the system the Premier should properly fund it, not break it apart. There’s too much at stake. Read more about in blogTO .

TTC spoof ad skewering Doug Ford appears on Toronto subway

An unusual ad has been catching the attention of TTC passengers this Friday morning with its off-brand font, low-res stylings and unconventional installation.

Someone appears to have taped two long, white pieces of paper atop an illuminated ad panel inside a Toronto subway car sometime early Friday.

On the paper is printed a rather lengthy message, for an ad, and one of the transit commission’s own campaign titles “The TTC Way.” But this is no ad for the TTC itself (if the presence of Ontario Premier Doug Ford didn’t tip you off).

“We need better TTC service now! But Premier Doug Ford’s plan to steal our subway and hand it over to big business and developers won’t deliver better transit,” it reads.

“Even the provincial transit agency admits their plan will delay new stations and lines. We’ll end up paying more to ride the subway. That’s not the TTC way.”

The poster encourages readers to text “ourTTC” to a phone number that does not belong to Ford in order to connect with the premier. “Don’t steal our subway!” reads a single line under a photo of his face.

While no website or organization is attached to the ad itself, it bears the hallmark colours, sentiment and style of local public transit advocacy group TTC Riders.

Sure enough, the grassroots organization seems to be responsible for the play, tweeting out a link to its website with the exact same images sent to us this morning.

Concerned Toronto residents can learn more about the group’s campaign against Ontario’s proposed TTC subway system upload here.