toronto ttc union

Union representing transit workers fires back at TTC for comments about service cuts

The union representing nearly 12,000 transit workers in Toronto and York Region has issued a formal response to some recent comments made by TTC CEO Rick Leary, who appeared to blame his own operators for planned service cuts across the city's subway network.

In a tweet on Monday, TTC Media Relations wrote "reduced absenteeism will allow us to continue running trains on Lines 1 and 2 every six mins. at night, every night," as announced by Leary at the commission's board meeting that same day.

Unfortunately for the agency, some on social media took issue with the wording of the tweet, and felt that Leary was unrightfully blaming his staff for the service reductions that were proposed alongside other amendments in the TTC budget back in January.

ATU Local 113 was among those who publicly countered the comments yesterday, stating in a release that "TTC management needs to take responsibility for service cuts."

"The TTC has chosen to cut service even though there are operators ready, willing and able to perform the work in question. Rather than provide a schedule with regular and reliable service, TTC CEO Rick Leary has chosen to slash service," the union wrote, adding that some operators have actually been moved to what they call a spare pool where they "wait to be assigned work day-to-day."

The group purports that this pool has been artifically inflated for months with workers who "could and should have been used to provide regular scheduled services."

"Absenteeism has nothing to do with it," it continues, going on to claim that the TTC and Leary are not being transparent with the public on these topics.

"Rick Leary has sought to shift the blame for his service cuts to alleged absenteeism by TTC employees including operators. This is false... The TTC has imposed service cuts. These were choices Rick Leary himself made," ATU Local 113's president is quoted as saying.

"First, the TTC was refusing to disclose the routes affected by cuts before the budget vote, and now [it's] implying there are too few available operators... The TTC has the vehicles and the operators available to return to a full-service schedule. The time for that to happen is now."

The good news from all of this is that riders will not have to wait longer for a subway during late night hours, but can continue to count on trains at least every six minutes.

That is, unless the union at any point in the near future decides to strike or whatever reason, which they are now allowed to do for the first time in over a decade. It is noteworthy that the union's current collective agreement expires in March of next year.

Lead photo by

Greg David

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