TTC union does abrupt about-face on vaccination position
TTC-reported percentages of ATU members who'd disclosed their vaccination status as of Monday were "abysmally low"
Sept. 30, 2021
Opposition to the TTC’s vaccination policy by its largest union amounts to illegal job action, the Toronto Transit Commission alleges.
And on Wednesday, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113 made an abrupt about-face to their previous decree that members not disclose their vaccination status to management -- with local president Carlos Santos issuing a statement urging members to now comply with the TTC’s Sept. 30 disclosure deadline.
A filing made Tuesday with the Ontario Labour Relations Board by the TTC alleged the union’s previous stance amounted to encouraging an unlawful strike, in violation of the Labour Relations Act.
“ATU Local 113 executives have engaged in a campaign that is creating obstacles to our objectives and is hindering the best public health advice regarding vaccinations,” TTC CEO Rick Leary said in a statement.
“This is unfortunate for the people they represent as some of these individuals are now in a position where they may be unable to work.”
Mayor John Tory said he was encouraged by the union’s reversal.
“I’m very heartened by the fact what you have now is a willingness on the part of the union and the TTC to work together, to push those numbers up to get people to disclose their vaccination status and hopefully to work on people who are hesitant for any reason to get vaccinated,” Tory said.
In August, both the City of Toronto and the TTC announced plans to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for employees, with a deadline of Sept. 30 to disclose their vaccination status to management as a condition of employment.
TTC employees who don’t disclose their status by Oct. 1 will be treated as “unvaccinated” and subject to dismissal.
“Employees who are unvaccinated by the latest deadline of Oct. 30, 2021 will put themselves in a position where they are unable to work,” the application reads.
“If employees are unable to work as a result thereof, the TTC’s operations and ability to meet service will most certainly be disrupted and may even be completely curtailed.”
In their application, TTC-reported percentages of ATU members who’d disclosed their vaccination status as of Monday were “abysmally low” -- just 45% for members (39% for transit operators) compared to 88% for non-union employees.As the TTC’s vaccine policy stands now, that would put more than 60% of bus, streetcar and subway operators out of service.