Toronto transit workers vote in favour of strike mandate, union says

As negotiations continue between the TTC and the union representing thousands of transit operators and maintenance workers, a strike mandate has been approved. Mark McAllister speaks to the union president about what's at stake.

The union representing 12,000 transit workers who operate and maintain the TTC has voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of a strike mandate.

Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113 says its members remain at the bargaining table with the TTC in hopes of agreeing to a fair deal and, for the first time since 2011, have an opportunity “to exercise our right to strike.”

“We’ve seen an incredible turnout with 9,253 members engaging in the voting process, of which 9,094 (98.2 per cent) voted to strike,” said Marvin Alfred, President of ATU Local 113.

“The overwhelming support for strike action is a clear message to the TTC, the city, and the province that our membership is ready to act. We are following the direction of our membership.”

If no progress is made at the bargaining table, the union says it has no choice but to proceed with strike action.

“Our members are clearly angry and upset about how they have been treated at work. We are proud of our work and know the value of our work. We have the right to protect our future and are ready to fight for job security,” a spokesperson for ATU Local 113 wrote in a statement.

“The people who ride TTC are working people too. Like us, healthcare, logistics, and delivery workers all went to work every day during the pandemic while everyone else was told to stay home.”

TTC CEO Rick Leary said seeking support for a strike is a standard part of the bargaining process, noting that the vote does not mean a strike is imminent.

“The TTC values the important and challenging work that all our employees do every day to deliver safe and reliable service — the employees in ATU Local 113 are an integral part of our operations,” Leary said.

“We know from past experience that job action by ATU Local 113 would almost certainly lead to service disruptions for our customers, which is why both sides are focused on reaching a new collective agreement as soon as possible.”

ATU Local 113 said its collective agreement expired on March 31, 2024.

Last week, CUPE Local 2, which represents more than 650 electrical and trades workers, reached a tentative agreement with the TTC to avoid a labour dispute.

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