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Strike deadline set by TTC union representing hundreds of workers

Click to play video: 'Union representing TTC maintenance staff issues strike deadline'
Union representing TTC maintenance staff issues strike deadline
WATCH: CUPE Local 2, which represents hundreds of maintenance and tradespeople, has issued a strike deadline for April 22 at midnight. The union says it has been without a contract since 2022 and its workers deserve fair wages. Matthew Bingley reports – Apr 11, 2024

About 700 Toronto transit workers consisting of electricians, overhead line workers and signal maintainers could walk off the job in about two weeks if they remain without a contract after contract talks two years in the making stalled.

Members of CUPE Local 2 arrived at city hall ahead of a TTC board meeting to raise public awareness about their lack of contract since April 2022. Union president Sumit Guleria said that after a difficult bargaining session last week the union voted in favour of setting a strike deadline of April 22 at midnight if a deal hasn’t been reached.

“We’re seeking just fair wages that invest in TTC, invest in our city, but pay equitable and wages that are on par with industry standard,” he said.

Guleria said their workers had been subjected to legislation that took away the right to strike for several years, but after it was struck down, they’re now in a better bargaining position.

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The union has been engaged with its employer for collective bargaining, and Gularia said he believes there is still a path that would satisfy the workers, TTC and city.

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“We would love to go back to the bargaining table and conclude this round,” he said, adding that both sides remain far apart on a number of issues. He said between now and the deadline, there are dates planned to continue negotiations.

Gularia said if strike action is necessary, the union has made contingency plans to minimize disruptions, including ensuring Wheel-Trans passengers aren’t impacted.

“Nobody wants a strike, none of our members are interested in a strike, they simply want a good deal after not being able to strike for so long,” Gularia said.

“The wages have fallen behind, we’re making about 15 per cent of what we did in 2010 and we have had a high inflationary event and we’re just trying to keep up.”

The TTC board chair, Coun. Jamaal Myers, said he remained hopeful a strike could be avoided, pointing to recent bargaining successes with other unions.

“I’m very confident that just through continued negotiation that we will land on a deal for both parties,” Myers said.

CUPE Local 2 isn’t the only local union representing transit workers with a lapsed contract. ATU Local 113, which represents about 12,000 front-line transit workers, including drivers, has been without a contract since March 31. Its last contract was signed in 2021 and representatives are currently in the middle of collective bargaining with the transit commission.

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