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March 25, 2008
Toronto Transit Financial Penalties on Injured Workers
Toronto Transit Union Suspends TTC Negotiations Until
Financial Penalties on Assaulted and Injured Workers Are Withdrawn
"ATU Local 113 President Bob Kinnear said . . . we have to
finally resolve the injustice of our members being financially penalized when
they lose time because they have been criminally attacked or otherwise injured
in the course of their duties. "
Mar 25, 2008 11:30 ET
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 25, 2008) - ATU Local
113 President Bob Kinnear said today that his union was suspending contract
negotiations with the TTC until the Commission stops financially penalizing
workers who are "criminally assaulted or otherwise injured on the job."
Following is the text of a statement by Kinnear to a Toronto media
conference at 11:30 today:
"Anyone who follows the local news knows
that working for the TTC can be hazardous to your health and safety. The recent
investigation by the Toronto Star showed that TTC Operators suffer from higher
rates of post-traumatic stress than any other group of workers in the city,
including the police. So obviously, we're not making this up. The problem is
real and it is serious and it is getting worse. How many people go to work
every day and have to fear being spit on, slapped, punched, kicked, choked,
slashed or even shot?
"But it's not just about the assaults on our
Operators. Our members in Maintenance are also victimized by hazardous working
conditions, very often because of the neglect of management. It wasn't that
long ago that eight ATU members working in a subway tunnel came within seconds
of dying because management failed to purchase a carbon monoxide detector that
might have cost a hundred dollars, and that's the expensive model.
came into these negotiations looking for a fair and reasonable agreement for
the next three years. And we still want one. But before we go any further in
these talks, we have to finally resolve the injustice of our members being
financially penalized when they lose time because they have been criminally
attacked or otherwise injured in the course of their duties.
asking for is the same treatment given to City of Toronto workers when they are
injured on the job, for any reason. They are not financially penalized because
of their misfortune. And there is no evidence that the City of Toronto cannot
afford this basic act of human justice.
"If it's good enough for City
workers, it's good enough for TTC workers. And as a matter of fact, some TTC
workers are treated fairly. If you're in TTC management, you get your full
regular pay if you're off work because of illness or injury. So why does Chief
General Manager Gary Webster think that his front-line workers are not entitled
to the same consideration as he and all other TTC managers? I suggest the media
ask him that question.
"While you're at it, ask him how much it would
cost to correct this fundamental injustice. Because if he knows - and we think
he does know - he's not saying. And we think he's not saying because it would
reveal just how serious the safety problem is at the TTC.
for Mr. Webster to come clean. After all, he has already admitted that safety
at the TTC is a big problem. He's paying millions of dollars to some American
consultant to try to reduce injuries to our members. And these consultants will
get even more millions of dollars in bonuses if they meet certain targets.
"So here we have the TTC throwing millions of dollars at American
consultants to reduce lost time while penalizing those TTC workers who lose
that time because of criminal assault or management incompetence. There's
something wrong with this picture.
"Last Wednesday, we met with
management and said this issue had to be resolved now. Yesterday, they
responded. They told us that any cost increases in the contract would have to
be paid for by concessions in other parts of the contract. In other words, if
we want this injustice corrected, we have to pay for it out of our own
"It's almost unbelievable that we are being asked to negotiate
a basic human right, one that is already in place for TTC management and all
City of Toronto workers.
"We're not going to do that. We are calling a
halt to negotiations until management does the decent human thing and removes
the financial penalties for losing time due to being attacked or otherwise
injured on the job. Once this injustice is corrected, we will return to the
bargaining table and make our best efforts to reach a collective agreement that
is acceptable to both sides."
Drivers Suffer Severe Stress, No Compensation
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