Media Center

Dec 14

ATU International supports ATU Canada call to prioritize transit workers for vaccine access

“The Amalgamated Transit Union International fully supports ATU Canada’s call to prioritize frontline transit workers in Canada for vaccine access as the first rounds of COVID-19 vaccine are administered today. Our members have been frontline heroes risking their lives to keep our communities moving. Transit workers are exposed to large crowds of transit-dependent riders at close range, often without protective equipment, they are at greater risk of contracting the virus. Providing them with early access to the coronavirus vaccine is the right thing to do to recognize the sacrifices that these workers and their families have made since this pandemic began.”

— ATU International President John Costa.

TORONTO – President of the Amalgamated Transit Union in Canada, John Di Nino, is calling upon the federal and provincial governments to give priority vaccine access to transit workers as the first batches of the COVID-19 vaccines start to be doled out today in Canada. Transit professionals are some of the most vulnerable when it comes to the COVID-19 virus as a result of their interaction with millions of riders per day. The high volume of interaction has led to more than 3500 ATU transit workers being infected in both Canada and the US. 

“Transit workers are responsible for moving our country’s front line health care workers, grocery store clerks and many other essential workers,” said President Di Nino. “This is why it is crucial to prioritize transit professionals to ensure safe, reliable service.”

Public transit is essential to all Canadians. An outbreak among transit agencies could have devastating consequences for our most vulnerable communities. Although many cities have implemented mandatory use of face coverings from Nova Scotia to British Columbia, there has been little to no concrete enforcement of rules put in place to protect those in the transit industry. Since the start of the pandemic, ATU Canada has been advocating for safety barriers, social distancing, rear-door loading, and other measures meant to hinder the spread of the virus for our 34,000 transit professionals as well as transit workers everywhere.

“Giving transit workers safe working conditions during a global pandemic includes priority vaccines access,” said Di Nino. “This measure is a necessary and essential step that cannot be overlooked, and we are prepared to assist all levels of government to ensure the delivery of the vaccine to all transit professionals.”