TTC tells union it’s preparing for worker shortage after vaccination deadline

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The TTC has told transit union leaders it is prepared for labor shortages next month when the vaccination deadline for workers expires, which the union has warned will lead to service cuts and overcrowded vehicles. .

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In a letter sent to leaders of amalgamated transit union Local 113 on Thursday, a copy of which was reviewed by the Star, the TTC said it was delaying the date until the bus, streetcar and subway operators can conduct their next round of operations. You can sign up for Shift.

The letter from TTC Chief Operating Officer Jim Ross said the delay is needed “to accommodate our service and crew requirements based on anticipated reductions in the workforce available after the vaccination deadline.”

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Under the TTC’s vaccine mandate, all employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 30. Operators should be able to begin signing up for the November round-the-clock shift later this month, known as the “board period,” but Ross’ letter to the states was pushed back to November 3, following the vaccination deadline. has gone.

The TTC introduced its vaccine mandate last month, saying compliance is a “prerequisite of employment.”

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But while the city of Toronto has said it will suspend workers who don’t get their shots, the transit agency hasn’t yet clarified what discipline its employees will face if they don’t follow the mandate. have to do it.

In a statement to the Star on Thursday, agency spokesman Stuart Green did not explain why the TTC expects fewer staff to be available after the vaccination deadline. He said the agency had made no decision on the discipline and had underestimated the importance of the letter, describing it as “one of the many issues that arise at all times between TTC and ATU 113 on a whole range of issues.” go back and forth.

“In this instance, we’re just stating that we don’t know what the final number of employees vaccinated on October 30 will be,” he said.

“Obviously our hope and priority is that there are no problems on October 30th, but, at this point, we simply don’t know. Safety is paramount to our operations and we will not compromise on that.

Frank Malta, assistant business agent for Local 113, which represents about 12,000 TTC workers, said in an interview that fewer workers would need to cut service.

Malta warned that reduced service would lead to overcrowding of the system and increased chances of spreading COVID-19.

“If COVID is such an issue for the mayor or (TTC CEO) Rick Leary, why are you going to downgrade the service?” he said.

“You’re leaving the city at risk.”

Rather than suspend or terminate transit authority employees, Local 113 wants TTC to offer workers who choose not to take vaccination options that would allow them to continue working safely, such as bar- bar test.

(The issue seems to be emerging elsewhere. On Wednesday, the City of Toronto said that any city employee who doesn’t get vaccinated by October 30 will face a six-week unpaid suspension and employees who didn’t get vaccinated by December 13 will face six weeks of unpaid suspension.) He was fired. One of the two largest municipal workers’ unions has already filed a complaint on the policy.)

Local 113 has filed a complaint against the mandate of the TTC. But last week it removed its earlier directive and asked its members not to comply with management’s demand to disclose their vaccination status.

Wednesday was the revised deadline for TTC employees to confirm their status.

According to the agency, more than 80 percent of employees provided their vaccination information, including 76 percent of union members.

Of those confirmed, more than 90 percent are fully vaccinated.

TTC ridership is at around 44 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels, and the agency is deploying around 98 per cent of normal service to keep congestion at a minimum.

Ben Spur is a Toronto-based reporter who covers transportation. Reach him by email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter: @BenSpurr

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