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'Service impacts' after overtime agreement with TTC cancelled: Union

May 2, 2018
Jenny Yuen

The union representing TTC workers is warning the public about potential service delays after it cancelled an agreement that permits employees to work overtime.

The agreement, which ceased April 30, allowed members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 to work 64 hours a week – an extra 16 hours beyond the 48 hours allowed in the Employment Standards Act. An extension requires agreement from the union and the TTC.

“With fewer workers on the job, we are warning riders of potential service impacts,” said union president Frank Grimaldi.

“The city is in this position today because for far too long, the TTC neglected to hire enough workers to properly run our public transit system. ATU, Local 113 is committed to the continuity of service while the TTC hires more public transit workers to ensure safe and reliable operations.”

Grimaldi said that in the last four-year contract, the union had an agreement that stipulated no contracting out. As the contract wound down, he said he noticed there were a large number of vacancies -- “in maintenance, it was as high as 12%,” he said.

Riders board a TTC streetcar along King St. W., at University Ave. in downtown Toronto on January 26, 2017. (Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun) Ernest Doroszuk / Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

“They were covering that work with overtime, in the hopes of when this contract is over, they would contract out and the standard clause in the agreement says you can’t contract out if that leads to a layoff,” he added.

“If they had all these openings, let’s say 50 of them, and they reduce it to 30 by using overtime, they have to accommodate. They’re reducing the manpower in order to contract out.”

The TTC’s bargaining agreement with ATU, Local 113 expired on March 31. The union accused management of walking away from negotiation talks. However, the next scheduled meeting is on May 9 and the TTC has asked the Ministry of Labour to appoint a conciliator to mediate both sides.

Grimaldi asserted the overtime issue isn’t a bargaining chip in contract talks, but said a freeze on overtime could potentially impact transit service.

Brad Ross, spokesman for the TTC, confirmed the transit authority received notice on April 20 that the union was no longer agreeing to allow overtime beyond 48 hours.

“The exemption, requested by the TTC until July 31, 2018 and approved by the Ministry of Labour until the same date, is contingent on agreement from the union,” said Ross, who added “the TTC is reviewing this matter to ensure service is not affected.”

ATU Local 113 represents approximately 10,700 TTC workers.