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ATU Local 113 Prepares for Potential Strike Action After TTC Transit Workers Finally Regain the Right to Strike!

In 2011, the government of Ontario passed legislation that declared the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) an essential service. This move immediately stripped our Local 113-Toronto, ON, members of their right to strike and greatly diminished the power of collective bargaining.  Suddenly, our largest Canadian Local with over 12,000 members was powerless to negotiate improvements to the collective agreement or to resolve big issues in the workplace.  Our Local 113 members were at the mercy of binding arbitration for any wage and benefit adjustments. 

Local 113 Wins Back Right To Strike

For over a decade, the  Local 113 Executive Board has been working with legal counsel in an extensive and costly court challenge. Nearly 12 years later, an Ontario Superior Court judge ruled that the legislation declaring the transit agency an essential service is unconstitutional.  As a penalty, the judge also ruled that the Ontario Government must cover a portion of the legal costs incurred by our Local 113, which is substantial. 

The government of Ontario has appealed the decision to a higher court, seeking to overturn the ruling. In the meantime, with its constitutional rights protected, Local 113 can once again flex its muscle in the collective bargaining process with a comprehensive approach that includes the right to strike.


United To Win Campaign

With contract talks ongoing with the TTC  since February as the Local’s contract expired on March 31, 2024, the Local’s Executive Board quickly began planning and sprang into action not only at the negotiating table but also in a massive effort to engage members through internal organizing of a “United to Win” campaign under the direction of ATU International staff. The results of these efforts have been overwhelming as hundreds of members participated in strike readiness and picket captain training. Over 8,000 members signed a petition demanding a fair collective bargaining process, which was then delivered to the CEO of the Toronto Transit Commission. In addition, 13,000 digital letters were signed by the public to show their support for transit workers.

While contract talks continue in an effort to avert a strike, the Local took a strike ratification vote. “In a historic vote our members have United to Win with over 98% in favour of a strike, if it becomes necessary,” said Local 113 President/Business Agent Marvin Alfred.

“When we come together and organize our members, we are Stronger Together,” says ATU International President John Costa. “This is a 12,000-member unit, from operators to maintenance and skilled trades, and I am extremely proud of the Local’s expertise and efforts to come together in this tough fight.”

At bargaining the Local has focused on getting our members what they rightfully deserve. As of press time for In Transit, the parties remain at an impasse on key issues, have asked for the assistance of a provincial conciliator and requested a no-board report to move closer to a possible strike.

“We hope that the conciliator will enlighten and help the employer recognize the importance of bringing more resources to the bargaining table to negotiate a fair contract for these frontline transit workers,” concluded Alfred.