TORONTO, ONTARIO – Toronto’s 12,000 public transit workers are calling on the federal and Ontario governments to provide emergency financial support to prevent layoffs and keep the TTC’s buses, streetcars, Wheel-trans vehicles and subways running. The call for emergency public transit funding was laid out in letters sent today from Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113 to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Toronto Mayor John Tory.
The COVID-19 pandemic is pushing the TTC past its financial breaking point, causing a steep $90 million drop in monthly revenue. The TTC is now planning service cuts and temporary layoffs for 1,200 of its essential workers, including 1,000 ATU Local 113 members.
“Cuts will have dire consequences for TTC workers and riders,” says Carlos Santos, President of ATU Local 113. “We are now on the brink of service cuts that will hurt all Torontonians, especially the essential, low-income workers who depend on the TTC every day to get to work at hospitals, nursing homes, grocery stores and pharmacies. Having less TTC service goes against physical distancing and will lead to crowding on many routes, increasing risk for coronavirus spread to those who are most vulnerable in Toronto.”
Layoffs mean the livelihood of Toronto’s dedicated public transit workers is hanging in the balance.
“Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, public transit workers have been putting themselves in harm’s way to keep Toronto moving, “said Carlos Santos. “Unless the federal and provincial governments step in to provide emergency financial support, the only thanks these essential public transit workers can look forward to is a pink slip.”
The Ontario government announced a temporary pandemic pay of $4/hour on top of regular wages for frontline workers. Public transit workers, who are providing a frontline service during the coronavirus crisis, are excluded from the program. Healthcare and other essential workers deserve pandemic pay; however, we cannot forget about public transit workers. Instead of receiving pandemic pay for their dedicated service during the crisis, the TTC will soon layoff over 1,000 workers unless the federal and provincial governments work together and provide emergency public transit funding.
Please click here to read ATU Local 113’s letters calling for the federal and Ontario governments to provide emergency funding to the TTC.