TTC gears up for the first strike after a decade of labour peace

May 23, 2024 | GTA/Local News, Headlines, News

The Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed on Thursday an appeal by the provincial government to ban TTC employees from striking, a press release by Amalgamated Transit Union [ATU] Local 113 said.

The union representing around 12,000 TTC employees, could potentially go on a strike from June 7, 2024.

The release said the legislation was found to be an unconstitutional violation of the workers’ rights.

Marvin Alfred, President of ATU Local 113 said this was an important day for all workers.

“Despite the Ford government’s attacks, the Court of Appeal has clearly said that the right to strike is protected by the Charter and it is a right that cannot be stripped away at the whim of the government,” Alfred said in the release. “The right to strike is at the heart of collective bargaining and the ability of workers to have control over their working lives and the conditions under which they work.”

He said the union is committed to working towards a fair agreement the workers deserve.

“Since our right to strike was restored last year, we have seen a change in bargaining for the better,” Alfred said. “Bargaining a collective agreement is never easy and involves a great deal of hard work.”

It is the fourth judgement from a court to support TTC workers’ right to strike, ATU Local 113 said.

Around 10 years ago, the provincial government passed a law that banned unionized TTC workers from striking, which the appellate court deemed a violation of their rights to collective bargaining.

On Tuesday, the Ontario Ministry of Labour issued a formal notice of a no-board report, a press release by ATU Local 113 said.

The release said TTC workers had been without a contract since April 1, 2024.

“The union’s bargaining team is still at the negotiating table hoping to align on key issues related to job security and wages with TTC management,” ATU Local 113 said.

The release said the union had begun preparing the transit employees to withdraw services, but the exact date is not set.

Rick Leary, the CEO of TTC, issued a public statement regarding the strike vote taken over the weekend.

“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,” the statement said.

It said they were aware that this action would lead to service disruptions, hence both sides are focused on reaching a new collective agreement.

This potential strike could easily render Toronto helpless. Approximately, a million people use public transport on a weekday, according to TTC’s operating statistics.

The city will be gearing up with alternative solutions to reduce the discomfort caused by the lack of public transport.

Humber’s Parking Department is aware of the situation and the impact it will have on the students commuting to the school.

“[Humber’s Parking Department] encourages students to carpool. Although, please note that Humber College has enough parking facilities to accommodate all the students who decide to drive during [the] potential TTC strike,” the department said in an email to Humber News.