TTC chair ‘confident’ deal can be reached to avert transit strike, says job action would be ‘devastating’ for riders

TTC chair ‘confident’ deal can be reached to avert transit strike, says job action would be ‘devastating’ for riders

TTC Chair Jamaal Myers said Thursday that job action by TTC workers would be “devastating” for riders if no deal is reached to avert a possible strike.

“Job action will likely lead to service disruptions and/or cancellations for TTC customers,” Myers said in a written statement Thursday, a day after ATU Local 113 requested a no-board report from the Ministry of Labour.

The union represents 12,000 front-line TTC workers and has been in negotiations with the TTC for months to try and reach a new deal. The no-board report starts the clock ticking on a 14-day period, after which the union could launch a strike if no deal is reached.

“As a TTC rider myself, I understand personally how devastating these job actions will be for our customers and I apologize and empathize with the inconvenience and hardship this will inevitably cause,” Myers said in his statement.

But in speaking with reporters Thursday ahead of a TTC Board meeting, he said he nonetheless remains optimistic that a deal can still be reached.

“What I can say is that both parties are at the bargaining table where they belong. We are encouraged to see that the bargaining is going on and I just want to reiterate that we were able to strike deals with all of the (other) unions so far,” Myers said.

“So we expect – through bargaining, through collaboration – that we will be able to reach a fair deal for both sides.”

However he did acknowledge that contingency plans are in place in case of a strike, which could come as soon as June 2.

ATU Local 113 members voted overwhelmingly in support of a strike mandate at the end of April. Their last contract expired on March 31.

This is the first time in years that they have been able to negotiate a deal with the possibility of a strike after a court last year struck down the province’s designation of the TTC as an essential service.

The last transit strike at the TTC occurred in 2008.

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