Transit union gives Mayor Rob Ford a welcome home gift

- September 22nd, 2012

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Transit union president Bob Kinnear threatened Friday to launch a work-to-rule campaign over the TTC’s yet-to-be approved plans to contract out bus cleaning (story here).

If you listened hard enough Friday night I’m sure you could hear cheers of joy coming out of a weary mayor’s office.

Why?

Kinnear has just offered up an issue embattled Mayor Rob Ford, back from his Team Toronto trip to Chicago, can beat like a drum – just in time for his Sunday afternoon radio show.

Now this does assume Ford and his staff will have the good sense to take a whack at it.

Ford has a proven track record of talking tough when it comes to union leadership and – since the city is now locked into contracts with its outside workers, inside workers, cops and the transit union – it’s a file he hasn’t had a chance to weigh into in a while.

His promise of taking a hardline with the unions was a key plank of his 2010 campaign.

Kinnear’s threat of slowing TTC service to the bare minimum required by the contract is a softball pitch, sailing slowly this weekend right over home plate at a major league slugger. If Ford swings at this, he could knock it out of the park and once again be in the driver’s seat of his mayoralty rather than slinking from scandal to scandal and playing hide-and-go-seek with the media.

Whether or not he’ll swing remains to be seen.

He could spend his radio show continuing to take whacks at the media (I’m sure his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, would love to do that and likely will no matter what).

But if the mayor does step up to the plate (and the mic) he could stand up for TTC riders and urge the union to have its workers continue to offer the service they provide every day – and which they collect a taxpayer-funded cheque to do. Ford could also highlight the millions the city expects to save from contracting out cleaners – savings that will help keep fares low for riders, preserve service and reduce the transit subsidy burden on taxpayers. And Ford could challenge Kinnear. He could invite the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 president to sit down with the TTC leadership and find a way to offer the service cheaper in-house rather than find ways to make life harder for the transit riders the union (in their new ad campaign) claims to serve.

We’ll find out if Ford will step up to the plate Sunday at 1 p.m.

Hopefully, for the sake of his political career, he doesn’t strike out on this one.

Categories: Politics

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3 comments

  1. Pinky says:

    Wouldn’t it be hilarious if Mayor Ford had to work-to-rule. That is, actually show up and do a minimum day’s work as Mayor. In fact, I think we should declare the Mayor of Toronto to be ‘an essential service.’ That way we might get value for the $167K he’s paid to be Mayor instead of nipping off to coach high school football.

  2. Brian says:

    How can you say contracting out the cleaning of the buses will be saving $4.29 million when all the union employees are still being paid wages/benefits PLUS contractor fees. It’ll be costing the taxpayer MORE to contract out because the union wages weren’t lost(taken away) thus you now have an ADDED expense of the contractor fees! The TTC argument that savings will be realized through attrition is MISLEADING as it could take between10-20 years for all of those cleaners whom will STILL being paid wages/benefits to either quit or retire thus COSTING the TTC extra money until then. Then you have spent all those millions of dollars EXTRA over the 20 years in contractor fees that have to be made up through the savings after 20 years before you realize a savings thus it could be another 25-30 years before a savings is ACTUALLY seen.

    The ONLY way contracting out the bus cleaning service will SAVE the taxpayer any money is if the union employees are LAID OFF but under their collective agreement that can’t happen because of the contracting out THUS COSTING THE TAXPAYER MORE this year and many years to come if the union employees are still employed.

    The TTC collective agreement expires in a year and a half and could this be the reason the contract awarded for the contracting out of bus cleaning is for 2 years ONLY because if an arbitrator keeps the contracting out language in the collective agreement then this contracting out will COST the taxpayers MANY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS MORE PER YEAR.

    Remember the city signed a 7 year contract with a contractor for the contracting out of the garbage east of Yonge St. so why only award a 2 year contract for the bus cleaning if the city says it’s going to save money??????

  3. Wilma says:

    To:Pinky, So the Mayor’s position should be classified as an “essential service”…….perhaps the “left over’s” of the “Miller’s regime” should all be “fired” so the City of Toronto may have a “productive
    council” and constructive meetings at City Hall. I think the “left over” Councillor’s from the Miller era
    are really missing all the “extra perks”, coffee, free lunchs, committee meetings going “nowhere”, baffalgab, and gobbledegook criticisms.
    When the Councillor’s are always pointing a finger at “Mayor Ford”, remember, there is “THREE” pointing back at you.
    Perhaps a bylaw should be passed………more “constructive” meetings, since…..after all, it is on the
    Taxpayer’s loonie….and the pay….to say the least is not shabby by a long shot.

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