Workers vote 99.2% against contract offer
Toronto Transit Commission workers voted overwhelmingly yesterday to reject a contract offer, less than three weeks before reaching a legal strike position.
Votes cast were 99.2 per cent against the offer with just more than 6,000 of its 8,000 members voting, union officials said.
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Bob Kinnear, president of the TTC workers union, and other union leaders had recommended workers reject the offer due to concessions on benefits.
Drivers, maintenance workers and ticket collectors voted at 20 TTC shops and depots around the city, said a spokesperson for the 8,000-member Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113.
The current contract expires at the end of the month.
"It’s still really early," TTC chair Adam Giambrone said yesterday afternoon at the same time as workers were casting their strike votes. "We’re working well to resolve the issues. But there are a lot of different things to be discussed."
Giambrone anticipated union members would vote to strike, but said he wanted to assure TTC riders there was still time for management and the union to settle negotiations.
"There’s no need for riders to take any action or to be concerned, this is normal procedure," he said, adding contract negotiations between the TTC and its workers have traditionally been settled without rider disruption.
Bob Kinnear, president of the TTC workers union, said this week the union didn’t want a strike either.
The union is trying to secure better compensation for sickness and injuries and safety provisions.
According to Kinnear, the union was offered a 2 per cent pay increase in each year of a four-year agreement and significant concessions to some benefits by the TTC bargaining team last Wednesday.
Such concessions have become contentious, especially with union representatives pushing to secure better protection and compensation for drivers vulnerable to assault by passengers.