Thursday 15 June 2006

Political Aftermath Of Public Transit Strike

Last month the unionized workers from the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) staged an illegal strike, essentially shutting down the entire public transportation system in the city of Toronto, Canada. The strike shook up city traffic as many commuters were not forewarned about the TTC shutdown. The union defended its action by calling it an unethical lockout, while the management called it a wildcat strike. The Ontario Labor Relations Board immediately ruled against the union and served a cease and desist order to the workers to stop the illegal work stoppage. Toronto mayor David Miller also spoke against the union and stated that the workers’ action was in violation of our labor law. While the union clearly had many legitimate worker concerns such as occupational safety, the decision to stage an illegal strike without due process was a poor choice taken by the union—politically or otherwise. As public servants, TTC workers had a legal responsibility to the city to perform their job and to follow due process to resolve any outstanding dispute. Even though the strike ended soon within the same day when the union finally conceded, this ill-conceived action by the union had come at a great political cost—the cost of the much needed support from the public, who undoubtedly now holds a dimmer view of the union and its agenda.

By Philip Jong • At 12:01 AM • Under Column • Under World
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