Reimplementation of first wave safety measures needed as COVID-19 case surge in Toronto
TORONTO, ONTARIO – Following Premier Doug Ford’s declaration of a state of emergency and issue of a Stay-at-Home Order for Ontario amid surging COVID-19 cases, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113, which represents 12,000 TTC workers, is calling on the TTC to do more to protect workers and riders by implementing the same health and safety measures ATU Local 113 secured during the first wave of the pandemic.
For months, ATU Local 113 has demanded that the TTC reimplement rear-door boarding on buses, block the two seats behind bus operators, stop accepting cash payments and cease issuing paper transfers to bus riders. The TTC has yet to implement these sensible measures despite surging coronavirus cases in Toronto, including 362 TTC employees testing positive for COVID-19 since March 2020.
The TTC says it is following Toronto Public Health advice. As reported, public health guidelines have, at times, failed workers in other industries. So, the question is whether the TTC – and Toronto Public Health – are doing enough to protect public transit workers?
“With daily COVID-19 cases in Ontario being over five times what they were in the spring and Ontario re-entering a state of emergency, the TTC needs to stop dragging its feet when it comes to workplace safety,” said Carlos Santos, ATU Local 113 President. “The TTC must act now to better protect public transit workers and riders, especially those in underserved communities who rely on buses that are often crowded.”
Despite its failure to reinstate important safety measures, the TTC is lecturing workers for safely carpooling to work.
“Until the TTC takes our members’ health and safety seriously, they shouldn’t be lecturing responsible mask-wearing adults about safe carpooling, especially when overcrowding on buses persists across the system,” said Carlos Santos.