Union slams termination of TTC workers as 'wrong, unfair'

Amalgamated Transit Union says the move will exacerbate labour shortage

Union slams termination of TTC workers as 'wrong, unfair'

The president of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113 has called the termination of over 300 unvaccinated Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) workers "wrong and unfair". Marvin Alfred said in a statement that while they support COVID-19 vaccinations, they believe the TTC could provide unvaccinated employees some alternatives to vaccinations.

"We believe these terminations are wrong and unjust, and that the TTC can provide a safe workplace through reliable alternatives to mandatory vaccination, such as regular COVID testing, as is being done in Mississauga and Brampton Transit," Alfred said.

Alfred added the termination of the said workers is due to the "confrontational attitude from the TTC management," as well as the lack of consultation with the union about the policy. He made the remarks after the TTC disclosed that it fired 354 workers who failed to comply with the commission's mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy. The said workers have not been working since November 21, representing two per cent of the commission's workforce, said TTC, adding that the employees were notified in advance before the December 31 deadline.

According to the TTC, they are now recruiting new staff and necessary services were made to avoid impact on their service.

Read more: Toronto reports staff absences among emergency services

Alfred, however, pointed out the existing labour shortage in the TTC, which he said will "likely worsen" over the next weeks.

"Deciding to terminate transit workers has resulted in TTC service cuts, which hurts our riders, many of whom are frontline or low wage workers who rely on the TTC to get to work. Reduced service leads to overcrowding on TTC vehicles, which presents a greater risk to public health than a masked, regularly tested, unvaccinated operator," he said.

The ATU Local 113 president said the TTC's policy and terminations are already before a labour Arbitrator.

"ATU Local 113 believes that we will ultimately be successful and out members will be returned to work," said Alfred.

In Toronto, the city government has announced that it terminated 461 employees who failed to comply to the vaccine mandate that took effect on January 2.

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