Toronto transit union threatens strike for Monday

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April 6, 2005

TTC streetcar

Bob Kinnear, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, said today that Toronto, Ontario, Canada transit workers may begin striking as early as this Monday. A strike of the 8 400 employees would leave approximately 1.3 million daily riders looking for other means of transportation and clogging city roads.

The union voted down the Toronto Transit Commission's (TTC) offer March 9 with a 99% vote in favour of a strike. The five-year offer was said to include a two per cent wage increase in each of the next three years. The union said it wanted increased pension contributions and more leniency in scheduling. The union has now been in a legal strike position since April 1 but has said it would withhold strike action as long as serious negotiations were taking place. Today Canadian Press reported that TTC vice-chairman Joe Mihevic said the two sides were in "heavy, heavy" negotiations but going well and hoped they would continue.

Mr. Kinnear, however, announced a noon Friday deadline for a contract and told reporters that he feels the commission has been "dragging their heels on issues that they absolutely know are key to a settlement". He characterized the commission's negotiations as a "strategy of delay, defer and ignore".

The most recent TTC strike was in 1999 and jammed city roads for two days before the provincial government ordered the union back to work.