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article imageToronto transit head says there will be no strike during talks

By Andrew Moran     Feb 3, 2011 in Politics
Toronto - President of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 Bob Kinnear announced at a news conference Thursday that its employees will not strike during contract negotiations. Kinnear also urged the province to properly debate making the TTC an essential service.
The Toronto Transit Commission is in the news yet again. Last week, Torontonians were upset over the photographs taken that showed bus drivers on their cell phones allegedly texting. The TTC also was in hot water over planned route cuts, which has been reduced to 41 from 48.
On Thursday, head of the Amalgamated Transit Union, Bob Kinnear, held a media conference at the Sheraton Centre where he promised no strikes during contracts. He further pledged that even after contracts expire at the end of March, the TTC will “not strike or disrupt service in any way during this year's contract negotiations.”
Kinnear said that he wants a proposed law that would declare the TTC as an essential service to be properly debated on in the Queen’s Park Ontario Legislature and asked public officials to speak with transit workers from across the province.
“There should be full debate in the Legislative Assembly and full public consultation,” said Kinnear in a statement. “If the scope of the bill can affect other transit systems in Ontario, those cities and their transit workers should be consulted as well. The Liberal government can use its majority at any time so there is no need to short-circuit the tried and true process of carefully-considered legislation in a parliamentary democracy.”
TTC Chairwoman Karen Stintz
TTC Chairwoman Karen Stintz
The ATU Local 113 President also took a jab at “our friends here in the media” by stating that they “prefer conflict to harmony.”
According to City News, TTC Chairman Karen Stintz stated that the city is committed to deeming the TTC as an essential service, but would be open to discuss with various transit heads the specifics.
“If we can achieve this objective by sitting down with the union and working something out voluntarily then it's in our respective interest to do so. But we do need to be clear, we will be pushing forward, we are committed to the legislation,” said Stintz. “We believe the riders of Toronto need to be able to rely on the TTC, they believe it is an essential service.”
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