Posted by: Ian Ross | April 27, 2008

Midnight Strike A PR Blunder For Toronto Transit Union

In the battle for public opinion, the Toronto transit union made a critical error in striking Friday night without giving the public enough notice or considering their safety.

The union voted Friday afternoon on a new collective agreement. Two-thirds of workers turned it down and by the stroke of midnight the buses, subways and streetcars were gone. Tens of thousands of Torontonians were left scattered around the city without a way to get home. Reporters interviewed dozens of furious people who were taken by surprise. Many were concerned about their safety walking home, drunk drivers and taking rides with strangers.

The safety issue was also raised by the union – but for their workers not the public. A union media release distributed at 11pm quoted president Bob Kinnear, “We have assessed the situation and decided that we will not expose our members to the dangers of assaults from angry and irrational members of the public.”

If the union was worried about safety, why did it need to take action immediately? How can they expect to retain public support in their labour negotiation when they put the safety of their members above the safety of their riders? Why couldn’t they get everyone home safe on Friday night and then shut down service on Saturday morning if they were concerned about the safety of their employees?

People who respected their labour battle, now realize the union doesn’t respect them back. Left-leaning politicans including Toronto’s mayor David Miller and TTC chair Adam Giambrone are fuming.

By not thinking about the safety of everyone, the union has left itself with damaged public relations and a worse bargaining position.



  1. back to work legislation is slated to be introduced today at 1:30p.m. It’s going to be a historic moment!

  2. I voted for David Miller twice.

    His first mandate was underwhelming but I cut him some slack. Since the last election, he has been a disaster.

    I will vote for, even campaign for, his opponent the next time.

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