New safety measures needed to protect workers and riders
TORONTO, ONTARIO – With more contagious and deadly COVID-19 variants spreading rapidly across Ontario, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113, which represents approximately 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 at the beginning of the pandemic, which the TTC has since discontinued.
For months, and again today, ATU Local 113 demands the TTC reimplement the following safety measures:
- 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 skyrocketing coronavirus variant cases in Toronto and neighbouring regions. Over 750 TTC employees have tested positive for COVID-19 since March 2020.
During the second wave, TTC Spokesperson Stuart Green said the TTC had no plans to reinstate the safety measures ATU Local 113 was advocating for because they were put in place “out of an abundance of caution when less was known about the virus.”
Toronto’s public transit workers disagree with the TTC and demand action today.
“As dangerous coronavirus variants spread within the community and transit workers put themselves at risk every day, the TTC should continue to operate with the utmost caution. The TTC must do everything it can to protect workers and can start by implementing these straightforward health and safety measures,” said Carlos Santos, ATU Local 113 President.
With the pandemic at its worst yet in Ontario, the TTC must do more to protect workers and riders. In addition to these measures, the TTC must enforce its mandatory mask policy for riders. As many TTC workers report maskless riders on the system, ATU Local 113 is calling for the TTC to enforce a strict “no mask no ride” policy.
Last week, ATU Local 113 called on the Ontario government prioritize TTC workers who wish to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.