City Reveals That T.T.C. Strike Was On

It’s rare when something that doesn’t happen makes news.

But in this case, something very nearly did happen.

All those rumors of another T.T.C. wildcat strike scheduled for Monday almost came true. The city has confirmed the walkout was a go, until several late night phone calls between politicians and the union prevented it from taking place.

That’s the reason the buses and streetcars rolled out as scheduled at dawn, and at 6am, the subways followed, allowing many to breathe a huge sigh of relief.

Members of the Amalgamated Transit Union are upset over several issues, including shift changes for some maintenance workers and the safety of operators.

A female driver was scratched and spit on Sunday, when two young females attacked her over a fare dispute at Sentinel and Sheppard.

She wasn’t seriously harmed but it added more fuel to the workers’ growing anger. They believe management isn’t doing enough to protect them.

The union announced two weeks ago it would no longer be engaging in arguments over fare disputes. But the incidents keep occurring anyway.

For now, passengers are just happy they’ll be able to get where they need to be Monday, although most admit they’re growing tired of the uncertainty.

“I think we could have more options, like another company that could do the transportation as well as the T.T.C,” ventures Branca Franco.

“No one really knows what exactly they’re after,” adds Paul Binney. “I think that might be the problem. I support people if they’re underpaid and overworked and taken advantage of, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.”

John Serraville puts up with the disruptions because public transit basically works well for him most of the time.

“It’s a pretty good system,” he assesses. “I’ve been taking it for years since I worked downtown and it’s just the odd time that it does happen. It’s a big inconvenience. But if you look at the bigger picture, it’s a good industry they have and they’re doing a good job.”

T.T.C. managers showed up for work at 4am just in case there was another disruption. The city claims it had contingency plans in place in the event of a second walkout.

Last week, Commission brass were forced to get two rulings from the Labour Board before the disgruntled workers returned.

Failure to obey such an order carries stiff penalties, including big fines for employees and the union.

Last week’s one day shutdown cost the T.T.C. at least $2 million in lost fares.

The city, through the Labour Board, is demanding the union pay $3 million in damages. The A.T.U. has less than a week to appeal.

  • Beginning Monday, riders who had a MetroPass or weekly pass and couldn’t use it for the day are eligible for a $4 refund. Simply present your expired pass at any subway collector’s booth and they’ll give you four loonies. (Bus and streetcar operators don’t carry any cash). The refund offer lasts until June 18th and will pull another $840,000 out of the system’s coffers.

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