In a vote yesterday, electrical workers at the Toronto Transit Commission delivered an unequivocal message when they voted 99.3 percent in favour of strike action if the employer does not return to the bargaining table with a reasonable proposal.
“We love working at the TTC. We’re huge supporters of public transit. But at the same time the cost of living in Toronto has skyrocketed,” said Sumit Guleria, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 2. “The reality is that we’re bleeding workers because other employers offer significantly better wages.”
More than 99 percent of members voted in favour of strike action if it is necessary to get the TTC back to the negotiating table with an offer that addresses the rising cost of living, the reality that the workers have not had a freely negotiated contract in more than a decade, and that removes a list of concession demands the employer is making.
The vote was conducted by in-person balloting at a single location in Toronto. More than 88 percent of the local’s 661 members came and voted.
“This is an unprecedented result, especially for an in-person vote. The workers are tired of being taken for granted and being treated disrespectfully by management,” said Guleria. “As for what happens next, the ball is now very much in TTC management’s court.”
CUPE 2 represents more than 650 communications, electrical and signal workers who keep the TTC running safely. Their collective agreement expired in March 2022.
For more than a decade, TTC workers had been deemed an essential service akin to firefighters or police and denied the right to strike. Last summer, courts overturned that decision and restored to TTC workers the same rights enjoyed by all other public transit workers in the country.