Should a Bus Operator be fired for running a red light? That question has gripped Toronto since the first airing of the amateur video showing a TTC going through a red light at Eglinton near Kennedy last week. Before her disciplinary meeting, the Operator, a single mother of two, who wishes to remain anonymous wrote a letter to TTC management fully explaining what happened and apologized very contritely. It had no effect. She was fired. President Bob Kinnear then issued a public statement asking the TTC to reconsider the firing and assign the Operator to another job, perhaps after a suspension. Kinnear stressed to the public that the union does not minimize the error and that the union’s strict policy is “Safety First.” Even so, the punishment should fit the offence. No one was injured and the circumstances were such that anyone could have made the same error. All major TV networks, several radio stations and newspapers carried the story, which was discussed all over the city.
An interesting twist happened on Wednesday when the man who shot the video called Bob Kinnear and said he was “devastated” that the video had caused the woman to lose her job. He gave the union permission to release his statement and agreed to talk to the media.
The TTC is unmoved by all of this. Brad Ross told the media that the TTC considers the matter “closed.” The union, however, does not. We believe that the penalty was too harsh. The TTC hired her for good reasons and invested a lot in her training. A penalty and a demotion should be enough for this error, which was an admitted mistake, but without anyone being hurt.