TTC workers vote in favour of strike action if no ‘reasonable proposal’ on table

Negotiations between the TTC and the union representing hundreds of employees continue, days after electrical workers voted in favour of strike action. Faiza Amin reports on the message the union says It’s sending the Transit Commission.

Electrical workers at the Toronto Transit Commission have voted 99.3 per cent in favour of strike action on Thursday, saying they will walk off the job if the TTC does not return to the bargaining table with a “reasonable proposal,” according to the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

Members voted in favour of strike action, saying the TTC needs to return to the negotiating table with an offer that addresses the rising cost of living, workers not having a freely negotiated contract in more than a decade, and removing a list of concession demands the employer is making.

“We love working at the TTC. We’re huge supporters of public transit. But at the same time the cost of living in Toronto has skyrocketed,” said Sumit Guleria, president of the CUPE 2. “The reality is that we’re bleeding workers because other employers offer significantly better wages.”

The previous collective agreement expired in March 2022.

The vote was conducted by in-person balloting at a single location in Toronto. More than 88 percent of the local’s 661 members came and voted.

“This is an unprecedented result, especially for an in-person vote. The workers are tired of being taken for granted and being treated disrespectfully by management,” said Guleria. “As for what happens next, the ball is now very much in TTC management’s court.”

Last November, the TTC Board approved a bargaining mandate. We’re committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to Local 2 employees while being affordable for the taxpayers of Toronto.

TTC CEO Rick Leary said in a statement that in the wake of a 2023 court ruling that restored TTC worker’s rights back to those of other public transit workers in the country, the first time in nearly 13 years, and that any unionized TTC employees would be able to take job action, up to and including a work stoppage.

“My top commitment remains the safety of our employees and customers, and delivering reliable service without compromise. However, I also believe that any job action could have an impact on the TTC’s ability to deliver full service without disruption,” said Leary in the statement.

Leary also said there are contingency plans in place “are “designed to allow us to preserve as much service as possible while also respecting the rights of this group of employees” if a strike happens.

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