TORONTO, ONTARIO – ATU Local 113 President Marvin Alfred released the following statement in response to the TTC terminating several hundred TTC workers over its mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.
“ATU Local 113 has a responsibility to protect the rights of all members. We believe these terminations are wrong and unjust, and that the TTC can provide a safe workplace through reliable alternatives to mandatory vaccination, such as regular COVID testing, as is being done in Mississauga and Brampton Transit. Of course, ATU Local 113 fully supports COVID-19 vaccination.
The TTC is already facing a labour shortage, which will likely worsen over the next several weeks. Deciding to terminate transit workers has resulted in TTC service cuts, which hurts our riders, many of whom are frontline or low wage workers who rely on the TTC to get to work. Reduced service leads to overcrowding on TTC vehicles, which presents a greater risk to public health than a masked, regularly tested, unvaccinated operator. With community spread of the Omicron variant, we believe the TTC needs as many vehicles on the road as possible to allow for safe physical distancing.
Our members have been terminated due to a confrontational attitude from TTC management, lack of consultation with our union over the policy and management overreach that is hurting families during a difficult time. Moving forward, I hope to have a more collaborative working relationship with TTC management so we can co-develop policies that work for all.
This policy and the subsequent terminations are currently before a labour Arbitrator. ATU Local 113 believes that we will ultimately be successful and our members will be returned to work.”