TTC workers’ union calls for alternatives to vaccination

The TTC says employees who remain unvaccinated or who have not shared proof of complete vaccination by Dec. 31 will terminated

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Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113, which represents close to 12,000 TTC workers, is pushing back against the TTC’s mandatory vaccination policy.

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The TTC announced Friday a revised deadline of Nov. 20 for employees to receive their second dose — “a move that will ensure safe operations as the policy comes into effect,” read a press release .

“Recognizing that more than 600 employees have received their first vaccine dose in the last few weeks, the deadline to receive two doses (or one dose of a single dose series) has been moved to Nov. 20,” the TTC said.

“Safety is always our top concern. Our priority during the pandemic continues to be making sure everyone working at the TTC is kept as safe as possible,” TTC CEO Rick Leary said in the release. “I want to thank everyone who has gotten vaccinated and disclosed their status to us. This is an important step in putting the pandemic behind us and ensuring that we are doing everything we can to keep our family, friends and communities healthy.”

Employees who do not comply could face termination.

“Employees who are unvaccinated or have not shared their status by the end of the day on Nov. 20 will be placed on unpaid absence until they complete their vaccination course,” the TTC said. “Effective Dec. 31, employees who remain unvaccinated or who have not shared their proof of complete vaccination dosage will have their employment terminated.”

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ATU Local 113 responded quickly with a statement of its own.

“ATU Local 113 renews its call for the TTC to allow regular testing as an alternative to COVID-19 vaccination, similar to what Brampton, Mississauga and Hamilton’s transit systems are offering,” ATU Local 113 President Carlos Santos said.

“We have opposed the TTC’s heavy-handed approach to vaccinations since the announcement of its mandatory vaccine policy,” he said. “ATU Local 113 remains firm in its belief that getting vaccinated should be the choice of each worker.”

“We will continue to work with the TTC to get as many members vaccinated as possible through education, rather than coercion … Terminating unvaccinated workers who have been working throughout the pandemic is the wrong approach,” Carlos Santos said. “More importantly, it is an insult to our 12,000 members who have been working the frontlines over the past 18 months.”

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  1. A TTC streetcar makes its way past traffic along Spadina Ave. during the afternoon rush hour on August 28, 2019.

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  3. TTC Special Constable on a subway train

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The TTC’s Leary said: “It is unfortunate we have to take these steps. The TTC is an essential service and we need it to be a safe place for everyone. We will be doing everything we can to uphold our core value of safety.”

The TTC said approximately 85% of its active employees have shared their COVID-19 vaccination status, with 89% of those who have done so being fully vaccinated, and 11% with one dose.

The TTC said 83% of its unionized employees and 93% of its non-unionized workers have shared their status.

Recent retirees could be asked to return to work, or there could be hiring should numbers get too low if service returns to more regular numbers as the city gets back to normal.

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