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TTC as an Essential Service


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Just heard the TTC will not be a essintial service...which to be honest im upset cuz now if they go on strike and i have to get to work im screwed...i rely on GO Transit and TTC so next time the TTC goes on strike...we are all screwed maybe there should be an appeal and have it declaired an nessessary service

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While i understand your concern about that T, I can understand the drivers side of things not wanting it to be as that means they are not allowed to strike and really it gives the city more opportunity to get what they want because the members don't have any way to protest and use as a fight against the city.

Of course im a municipal worker and thats probably why i see the other side of things. id hate to be stuck not being able to shut down the office if it gave us some strength

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A few thoughts:

The city of Toronto has no real power in this matter. They can only ask the province to make the change. While McGuinty said he would be willing to look at the idea, there was no guarantee he would actually do it...

When you consider that TTC strikes are rare, is it really worth it to pay the employees much higher salaries and benefits to compensate for taking away the right to strike (and as a result, your fares / taxes go up)?

Wildcat strikes, like the one-day strike a few years ago are illegal anyway, so essential service status would not have prevented it...

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A few thoughts:

The city of Toronto has no real power in this matter. They can only ask the province to make the change. While McGuinty said he would be willing to look at the idea, there was no guarantee he would actually do it...

When you consider that TTC strikes are rare, is it really worth it to pay the employees much higher salaries and benefits to compensate for taking away the right to strike (and as a result, your fares / taxes go up)?

Wildcat strikes, like the one-day strike a few years ago are illegal anyway, so essential service status would not have prevented it...

Agreed. :(

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It looks like Wheel-Trans might become essential though:

City Hall Says No To 'Essential Service' Tag For TTC, Will Seek One For Wheel Trans

Thursday October 30, 2008

CityNews.ca Staff

It's a debate that seems almost worthy of Shakespeare's "To Be Or Not To Be?"

And on Thursday, Toronto City Council went with the latter in response to a question that's been on people's minds since a sudden walkout last April that left thousands stranded downtown on a Friday night with absolutely no notice.

Should the TTC be an essential service? Apparently not.

Debate over forbidding transit workers from strike action came after the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 and the city failed to reach an agreement over a new contract, a dispute that eventually wound up with the workers walking off the job and then being forced back and their grievances sent to binding arbitration.

Premier Dalton McGuinty agreed to consider the request to make the TTC an essential service - but only if Toronto requested it.

But Toronto won't. The powers that be struck down the motion in a vote that was closer than expected. It ended 23-22 against.

A motion that followed did agree to ask Queen's Park for an essential service tag to be applied to Wheel Trans, passing 24-21.

Both debates began in earnest at City Hall on Thursday, with several councillors raising the motion in a bid to stop any future disruptions, which are estimated to cost the city at least $50 million a day.

But opponents argued it will only wind up coming out of the pocket of riders in the long run, because of the bigger contracts that will result from the designation.

"As far as we're concerned we believe it was a waste of time," said ATU 113 President Bob Kinnear.

"It's disappointing that the councillors would decide to debate an issue that they have no jurisdiction over for an entire day."

And perhaps the biggest opponent of all insists making the TTC an essential service wouldn't have solved anything anyway.

"Declaring the TTC an essential service does not stop strikes," maintains Chair Adam Giambrone. "We know that. It costs more money, and at the end of the day, if all we're doing is making us feel good about passing something that won't work, then what have we really accomplished?"

And yet it remains something many riders seem to want.

"Absolutely, because when they go on strike they're messing with people's livelihood. They need to get to work," one passenger assures.

Others have expressed a desire for compromise. "For them to go on strike is probably shutting down the city, so I think that's a bad thing," a rider muses. "Maybe arbitration, some sort of forced way to make them deal with the contract."

Mayor David Miller had gone on record against the idea, saying he understands the inconvenience the stoppages cause but that they're very rare and they almost never last long before the strikers are forced back to work.

It seems the city's top politico got his way. Barely.

http://www.citynews.ca/news/news_28646.aspx

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A few thoughts:

The city of Toronto has no real power in this matter. They can only ask the province to make the change. While McGuinty said he would be willing to look at the idea, there was no guarantee he would actually do it...

When you consider that TTC strikes are rare, is it really worth it to pay the employees much higher salaries and benefits to compensate for taking away the right to strike (and as a result, your fares / taxes go up)?

Wildcat strikes, like the one-day strike a few years ago are illegal anyway, so essential service status would not have prevented it...

Your sentiments echo the majority of people. I totally agree, and I am glad that Holyday look beyond politics, and understand the ramifications of this. have a feeling that more than a few councillors have an ideological hatred towards union, and see this as a first step in busting up ATU113.

Exactly! Essential or not, if employees want to strike, they WILL strike. Declaring a service essential will not change that.

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When you consider that TTC strikes are rare, is it really worth it to pay the employees much higher salaries and benefits to compensate for taking away the right to strike (and as a result, your fares / taxes go up)?

Fares and taxes will go up regardless whether TTC is essential or not. Average yearly labor wage increases/benefits all but guarantee that. They won't increase as fast/much as if they were essential but they will still increase.

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It looks like Wheel-Trans might become essential though:

it always has been by mutual agreement between the atu and the city to maintain service for medical procedures (kidney dialysis and the like).

this really changes nothing.

Your sentiments echo the majority of people. I totally agree, and I am glad that Holyday look beyond politics, and understand the ramifications of this. have a feeling that more than a few councillors have an ideological hatred towards union, and see this as a first step in busting up ATU113.

Exactly! Essential or not, if employees want to strike, they WILL strike. Declaring a service essential will not change that.

precisely.

there's always work to rule tactics.

.....perhaps the whole shift at the gararge were to suddenly come down with food poisoning for 24hrs? that would be unfortunate.

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it always has been by mutual agreement between the atu and the city to maintain service for medical procedures (kidney dialysis and the like).

this really changes nothing.

precisely.

there's always work to rule tactics.

.....perhaps the whole shift at the gararge were to suddenly come down with food poisoning for 24hrs? that would be unfortunate.

lol yes it was a ATU party at the garage lol

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  • 1 year later...
NO gonna happen as it will cost he city too much for contract settlements as essential workers are given higher increases, especially since the last few disruptions, the worker are forced back to work within 48 hrs.

If you read the article it says it may NOT cost more. Since in a lot of cases they went to binding arbitration anyways. That last strike went to arbitration and they got .25 cents per hour for it.

The point the MPP and the article is trying to make here is... $.25 might be worth the cost of making it an essential service. (this is an example).

Also...one day without TTC service costs people millions of dollars in lost wages, and the city basically cannot function. If you factor that cost in, and the loss in tax revenue and productivity, not to mention lost fairs for the time they are on strike....it actually might cost more than binding arbitration. That's the point that the MPP is trying to make.

But if they are going to go on strike, and then get legislated back to work, and then go to arbitration anyways...what's the difference?

But then again illegal strikes cannot be prevented. Although the Police are not allowed to go on Strike. But in the case of Montreal Work to rule resulted in officers not wearing their uniform. This caused problems and was later repealed.

Anyways let those people who know what they are doing make the decisions. They know it better than you do.

In the end...a happy worker doesnt go on strike. But it's usually the Unions who make those decisions. So...the problem lies somewhere between the union and the contract negotiators. Either one side is asking for too much, or the other side is not giving enough.

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If you read the article it says it may NOT cost more. Since in a lot of cases they went to binding arbitration anyways. That last strike went to arbitration and they got .25 cents per hour for it.

The point the MPP and the article is trying to make here is... $.25 might be worth the cost of making it an essential service. (this is an example).

Sometimes it's not the dollar figure increase in salary that's worth noting. You also have to look at what cost of living increase they're getting, benefits, etc.

Plus, it'll be far more than $0.25 if they become essential. You deprive them of their right to strike and you'll see those payments jump to offset the loss of that right.

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If you read the article it says it may NOT cost more. Since in a lot of cases they went to binding arbitration anyways. That last strike went to arbitration and they got .25 cents per hour for it.

The point the MPP and the article is trying to make here is... $.25 might be worth the cost of making it an essential service. (this is an example).

Also...one day without TTC service costs people millions of dollars in lost wages, and the city basically cannot function. If you factor that cost in, and the loss in tax revenue and productivity, not to mention lost fairs for the time they are on strike....it actually might cost more than binding arbitration. That's the point that the MPP is trying to make.

But if they are going to go on strike, and then get legislated back to work, and then go to arbitration anyways...what's the difference?

But then again illegal strikes cannot be prevented. Although the Police are not allowed to go on Strike. But in the case of Montreal Work to rule resulted in officers not wearing their uniform. This caused problems and was later repealed.

Anyways let those people who know what they are doing make the decisions. They know it better than you do.

In the end...a happy worker doesnt go on strike. But it's usually the Unions who make those decisions. So...the problem lies somewhere between the union and the contract negotiators. Either one side is asking for too much, or the other side is not giving enough.

You (and David Caplan) should do your homework before you quote figures. The 25 cent per hour figure ONLY refers to the Skilled Trade Allowance for Maintenance Employees who have to have a recognized trade licence. The actual wage increase was 3% per year for the 3 year term of the contract. By declaring the TTC an essential service and removing then right to strike will actually result in the Union using "Work to Rule" as a job action. Work to rule campaigns CANNOT be stopped by legislation as they remain perfectly legal because the workers follow ALL of the employers rules and regulations to the letter. This results in a total, crippling slowdown of the system, such as buses stopping at ALL stops whether or not passengers are waiting or want to get off, as an example because TTC rules state that all buses must service all stops at all times. The actual economic effect on the city would be MUCH greater with a sustained work to rule campaign. As well, the union does not make the decision to go on strike; the workers decide through a strike vote at the time they vote on the employer's initial offer. This gives the bargaining committee a mandate to negotiate a tentative agreement within a set time period. Failure to reach an agreemnt within the strike deadline time period results in a strike. Failure to ratify an agreement (such as happened in 2008) also results in a strike. Do some research on how unions (and their locals) actually function before you make such inaccurate statements. Unions are governed by bylaws which are decided by the membership. In many respects, unions are actually more democratic than our government!

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  • 9 months later...

Ok for the first article I believe TTC should be essential. TTC plays a big part in Toronto's life. TTC is what gets people around. Without it we'd have way more gridlocks on our streets and it could take around double or sometimes triple the time to go from point A to point B. I'm not saying that the TTC shouldn't have a union or anything but what I am saying is if our dollars are going to the TTC to keep drivers and vehicles on the roads and to have a decent system with decent service and upkept vehicles then provide it. What would a Torontonian think or say when the TTC goes on strike? Many would start bitching and bad mouthing the TTC and the trend would continue well through the strike and even well after it. Is it fair if my dollars went to the TTC and when I need it it's not there? I'd be pissed too and this is coming from a person who's hobby involves transit. Sure I would see things from the drivers point of view because I too drive a bus and being a bus driver is no piece of cake but there's a point where a line has to be drawn. It's fair that we get our money worth.

Second article. "Pick a line. Any line. And just build it." Easier said than done. Here's my thoughts. Does a Rapid Transit in Toronto really need to be on rails? Seriously? Here's the thing. While after the GRT Charter yesterday a few of us went to dinner and had a good chat about Rapid Transit. We were talking about GRT, VIVA, TTC Transit City and Subways etc. and it opened my mind even more. Here's where I'm going with it. Rapid Transit really shouldn't be all about rails. Sure some areas in Toronto can support a subway extention, some can support a LRT on a dedicated Right Of Way and others can be done cheaper by having Buses on a Dedicated Right Of Way. Here's what I got brainstorming about the Future of TTC, Subway extentions and Transit City. Sheppard Subway should be extended to Downsview and Scarborough Centre. The Bloor Danforth should also extend to Scarborough Centre from Kennedy and to Sherway from Kipling. Eglinton would be a perfect fit for a midtown subway from the Airport to Kennedy Stn (Maybe even farther East to Kingston Rd). YUS Line we all know the plans for that. Extention to York U and into Vaughan plus extention to Richmond Hill from Finch. Now for LRT I think Don Mills and Jane could provide the LRT service. I do see a very good potential there. Morningside Ave into Malvern I see some form of Bus Rapid Transit in a Dedicated Right Of Way. Maybe do a Kingston Rd BRT from Vic Park Stn along Danforth Ave, Kingston Rd to Morningside Ave and while one branch could go up Morningside to serve Scarborough College and Malvern the other branch can go to the Pickering border or at Rouge Hill GO Stn to meet up with the DRT BRT service. Make some sort of hub at Scarborough Centre where TTC, GO, YRT and DRT can all meet up (A Scarborough version of Finch Terminal). Finch West can too have a form of BRT that could go from Finch Stn and westwards to Humber college and into Mississauga Westwood Mall and possibly the Airport.

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Ok for the first article I believe TTC should be essential. TTC plays a big part in Toronto's life. TTC is what gets people around. Without it we'd have way more gridlocks on our streets and it could take around double or sometimes triple the time to go from point A to point B. I'm not saying that the TTC shouldn't have a union or anything but what I am saying is if our dollars are going to the TTC to keep drivers and vehicles on the roads and to have a decent system with decent service and upkept vehicles then provide it. What would a Torontonian think or say when the TTC goes on strike? Many would start bitching and bad mouthing the TTC and the trend would continue well through the strike and even well after it. Is it fair if my dollars went to the TTC and when I need it it's not there? I'd be pissed too and this is coming from a person who's hobby involves transit. Sure I would see things from the drivers point of view because I too drive a bus and being a bus driver is no piece of cake but there's a point where a line has to be drawn. It's fair that we get our money worth.

Then will you, as a Toronto taxpayer, not complain when fares and costs of running the TTC go up?

Because that is what will happen.

Dan

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Then will you, as a Toronto taxpayer, not complain when fares and costs of running the TTC go up?

Because that is what will happen.

Dan

If I know and can rely that the TTC will be there and the money is being spent well with improvements and such then the answer is no I would not complain. Nothing is cheap or free. But if we're paying more for less then yeah I'd be pissed and would complain.

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If I know and can rely that the TTC will be there and the money is being spent well with improvements and such then the answer is no I would not complain. Nothing is cheap or free. But if we're paying more for less then yeah I'd be pissed and would complain.

You'll be paying more for the same. You take away their right to strike, and you'll see the wage settlements jump up proportionally when the arbitrators decide on the contract.

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You'll be paying more for the same. You take away their right to strike, and you'll see the wage settlements jump up proportionally when the arbitrators decide on the contract.

It seems that serious threat of "strike" has become the norm whenever the contract is up. The reason for that is an argument for another day.

If the workers at the local Metro were to go out on strike union members would continue on to Loblaws. A person on a limited income with somewhere to go doesn't have that same choice. The idea that people miss medical appointments, or even chemotherapy because they can't get across town to their destination is ludicrous. If it costs more to make it an essential service it would be money well spent.

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It seems that serious threat of "strike" has become the norm whenever the contract is up. The reason for that is an argument for another day.

If the workers at the local Metro were to go out on strike union members would continue on to Loblaws. A person on a limited income with somewhere to go doesn't have that same choice. The idea that people miss medical appointments, or even chemotherapy because they can't get across town to their destination is ludicrous. If it costs more to make it an essential service it would be money well spent.

Yes, but you'll get the same bullshit.

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It seems that serious threat of "strike" has become the norm whenever the contract is up. The reason for that is an argument for another day.

Everytime this past decade, a talk of a strike lead to a strike when the contract was up. So you can't really blame anyone for assuming a strike will happen. Even with all the warnings a good amount of people will still be left stranded in some way or form in the city.

If I know and can rely that the TTC will be there and the money is being spent well with improvements and such then the answer is no I would not complain. Nothing is cheap or free. But if we're paying more for less then yeah I'd be pissed and would complain.

I agree. the price will be higher but at least a bus will show up. Unless they do some work-to-rule. If they do, this whole thing on making TTC essential would be a waste. Which leads to the question, what will guarantee a bus to show up at your stop, when a contract is up? I liked when VIVA went on strike there was still guaranteed service being provided. It would be nice if that could happen in Toronto.

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The question is: Essential Service Designation = Right to Strike Eliminated? In Ontario, essential service designation is PROVINCE WIDE. Make the TTC essential = make ALL Transit in Ontario essential. Just like Police, Fire, certain medical professionals. Essential service designation might take away the right to strike, but it does not eliminate other forms of job action (ie. WORK TO RULE). Expect massive slowdowns and disruptions to service when TTC workers go on a work to rule campaign (most of you are not old enough (or were even born) to remember back in 1989 when the TTC workers staged a 41 day work to rule campaign).

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