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ATU fighting for the future of public transit

For all of us this has been an endless, exhausting, and stressful time. Tragically, since I last wrote, over 30 more members have died from Covid-19, bringing the total to over 85 sisters and brothers lost. Countless more have been sickened – some seriously – some for life.

Fighting for you every day

Your Union continues to fight for you every day; pressuring transit properties (often run by foreign multinational transit corporations) to adopt our Safe Service demands (see

Unsurprisingly, they are using the crisis as an excuse to lay off workers, and demand wage and benefit cuts. Ultimately, they seek to crush ATU and other unions through their puppets in the Canadian Conservative and U.S. Republican parties.

No coincidence

We are fighting the same people in both countries.

It is no coincidence that Conservatives passed “right-to-work” legislation in Alberta at the same time that Republicans have been dismantling legal protections for workers in the United States.

If the Alberta law is not reversed in the courts, they will attempt to make “RTW” the law of the land. And if the GOP wins in the U.S. in November the future prospects of American Labor will be very bleak, indeed.

Fight for transit funding not new

Since the pandemic began, we have been fighting for emergency transit funding from our federal governments as our transit agencies were hit hard by plummeting ridership. This is not a new fight, as we have been fighting for dedicated transit funding for a long time.

Thanks to pressure from ATU Locals and members, both countries delivered critical emergency transit funding. The Trudeau government allocated $1.8 billion in emergency federal transit funding in their larger Covid-19 aid package, but needed a match by provincial governments. Some provinces have embraced the fund matching, but others have not. In the U.S., ATU pushed for the CARES Act, resulting in $25 billion for transit agencies, but that funding is dwindling quickly.

The Canadian emergency federal transit funding meets the acute, short-term needs to help transit systems survive the pandemic. But we must continue to fight for permanent dedicated transit funding at the federal and provincial level. 

Elected officials and transit agencies are also using the pandemic as cover to attempt to privatize public transit. These private multinational companies – Transdev, First Transit and others – make false promises of reducing costs and improving service. Ontario Premier Doug Ford is trying to do it at the TTC in Toronto. 

The truth is these privateers come in and slash worker wages and benefits, reduce service, and even layoff our members. They also cut corners on safety, which is the last thing we need as this pandemic isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, it may get worse.

International solidarity

International solidarity is the only effective weapon transit workers have to push for transit funding and fight against privatization. And, ATU is the only organization that can mobilize the international forces necessary to fight back.

You know what you have to do

The task before us is obvious. 

I urge Canadian members to contact your Local union or ATU Canada, today, to find out what you can do to join this fight for our future.

Because remember “Together We Fight, Together We Win!"