On Feb. 26, 2021, the TTC and ATU Local 113, the TTC’s largest union partner, started negotiations toward a new collective agreement.
This past Monday, both sides entered talks with a provincial conciliator in an effort to find common ground and reach a tentative agreement.
Unfortunately, ATU Local 113 quickly moved to request a “no board” decision from the Labour Board. This means the matter will be referred to binding interest arbitration with an arbitrator.
“It’s unfortunate that things have reached this point,” said TTC Board Chair Jaye Robinson. “Our negotiators have made a fair and reasonable offer that would allow us to improve service for TTC customers while modernizing our organization and making it future-ready.”
In acknowledgment of the commitment that TTC employees have demonstrated to the entire city of Toronto, especially at this time, the offer provided a reasonable wage increase, maintained benefits and improved some benefit provisions.
“We believe that what we put forward was the best collective agreement for everyone and something we hoped could have led to meaningful dialogue aided by the conciliator,” said TTC CEO Rick Leary. “Unfortunately we now face the prospect of a contract forced upon both sides, which is not the best way to resolve negotiations.”
Here is the full text of a letter sent today from Leary to ATU Local 113 President Carlos Santos:
June 30, 2021
To Carlos Santos, President, ATU Local 113
RE: TTC and ATU Local 113 Bargaining
It was with great disappointment that I learned that the ATU Local 113 sought a “No-Board” report within the first ten minutes of Monday’s conciliation. The TTC has put significant effort into compiling a balanced package that would offer fair wage increases and benefit enhancements for employees while modernizing the organization to enable enhanced efficiency in service to the public. The offer proposed by the TTC would help maintain and even help increase transit service for the customers we serve.
The past 16 months have presented unprecedented challenges for our organization and the entire world. This reinforced what we already knew about just how resilient and dedicated the hard working employees of this organization are. It was in this vein that we put a fair and comprehensive package to the union offering enhancements where employees would feel them, and constraint where they would not.
The TTC proposal included a premium for the hard work done by employees, including the work done during the COVID-19 pandemic, while seeking to give the organization the flexibility it needs to respond to a dynamic and ever changing environment. In particular, the TTC’s package included:
- Creating a part-time category of operators to enable more flexibility and to attract different demographics to the workplace, sought to do so with no negative impact to existing employees.
- Changing the structure of the Sunday premium so that it would enable cost containment while not removing this benefit, and offering a generous increase to shift premium and skilled trades premium.
- Granting real and material benefit enhancements sought by the union, to provide greater support to employees when most in need, in exchange for administrative changes which would not impact the level of benefits received by employees.
As already laid out, the fiscal challenges are real and it is my job to ensure the effectiveness and modernization of this organization while serving customers and protecting employees. We need to be able to demonstrate that we are careful with taxpayer dollars while showing TTC employees our appreciation and respect for their hard work. It is unfortunate that we, unlike so many other organizations who have also sought to reach a deal during these difficult and austere times, couldn’t find a way to work together towards a controlled outcome.
Now, more than ever, is the time we need to work together to ensure a solid future for our organization and which reflects our current realities.
Rick Leary, CEO
Toronto Transit Commission