ATU Local 113’s executive board is asking for an immediate meeting with the TTC over concerns for its workers’ health.
In a statement released by Local 113, the Union said it is asking for the meeting to address the high concentrations of potentially harmful air pollution in Toronto’s subway system.
This comes a day after Health Canada, the University of Toronto and McGill University published a study that found high concentrations of fine particular matter, including iron, in the subway system are approximately 10 times the level found outside TTC stations.
The study found that pollution levels in Toronto’s subway system are similar to an average day in Beijing, the Chinese capital that struggles with extraordinarily high levels of air pollution.
“Over the years, ATU Local 113 has repeatedly requested air quality testing on the subway system. However, time and time again, TTC management has resisted these requests,” said the Union. “Transit workers deserve better and we want answers from TTC management.”
The ATU is also requesting a full investigation, and will be consulting with their own experts to determine the health and safety implications for the workers.
The study was done over several weeks between 2010 and 2013, and the ATU has posed questions to the TTC in regards to their knowledge of the matter.
“This begs the question – what did the TTC know? When did the TTC know it? What has the TTC done to protect workers over the years? And, why has the TTC failed to conduct its own testing?,” they state.
“At a time when TTC management falsely claims that random drug and alcohol testing will improve safety, these questions make you wonder whether Andy Byford and his executive team are serious about dealing with real health and safety issues.”
The TTC has yet to respond to the ATU.