Locals from across Canada came to the defense of the members of Local 113-Toronto, ON, at a news conference in the wake of rogue Local President Bob Kinnear’s unilateral attempt to take members out of the Union in February.
Here are some of the comments made at the event:
Paul Thorp, president of ATU Canada: “I put out a call to my brothers and sisters,” he said, “and the response was overwhelming. They didn’t hesitate to get on planes, trains, and cars to come to represent the ATU Local that they love.
“We have people here from Saskatoon; we have people here from Regina; we have people here from Ontario; we have people here from Edmonton.”
“They want people to understand that this is never about an ‘American takeover.’ This has been about one person’s bid to tear an organization down for their own self-gain. And it bothers me. It hurts me that this person who professed his love for this organization has the audacity to say the things that have been said.”
Local President Margaret Gilbert, 1582-Niagara Falls, ON: “I love this union. I love the members that I work with, and I love my job as a bus driver for over 20 years. ATU has been there for me for every thing we have asked them for… They’ve been there financially and every way we’ve needed. These people mean a lot to me, and I’m proud to be here.”
Jack Jackson, 1572-Mississauga, ON: “It was my pleasure to stand here today and express the concern that I have and the fact that Brother Kinnear, and I say “brother” in a very loose term, is trying to paint a picture of Canada against the United States, and it’s just not a true picture….
“It’s a sad day, but the good thing is that we are standing here proud, and I want to send a message to our brothers and sisters who we share a border with Local 113. And I want you to know that 1582 has your side along with every Local in Canada, and every Local in the United States, and at the end of this we will be standing tall.”
Manny Sforza, international vice president: “We’re here to protect the interest of our members. We have support, not just here, but as you can see, across this great country.
“One person does not make a union. Bob Kinnear walked away from us. He can do whatever he wants, but he does not represent us.
“Bob Kinnear made a decision in his own interest to leave the union, but we’re here standing for your best interest – which is to stay with ATU. Our brothers and sisters are invested in the issues that matter most to transit workers. That’s our only focus.
“Transit workers: ATU is all of us. We are transit workers. We’ve stood together in solidarity for 120 years."