The electrical workers of the TTC, CUPE Local 2, are calling for a free public transit and a campaign of mass strikes and protests meant to “bring down Doug Ford.”
“No one should have to pay for transit,” reads a public letter the union shared on their social media.
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 2 is a union of approximately 650 workers at the TTC.
Their letter states that Doug Ford’s government is “sabotaging” Toronto and the rest of the province. From jobs to education to healthcare, the Union states that the Ford government is “attacking” workers and poor people.
“They’re no government of the people,” their letter reads.
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The document goes on to say that transit fares impact oppressed people the hardest, and to offer free transit would boost the economy, and society as a whole.
Considering the system in Tallinn, Estonia, where transit is free, the Union reports that in Europe, they’ve got it right. According to the document, the free transit project is a success there and now, tax revenues are up because people are spending more money.
Here, according to CUPE, Toronto loses $6 billion in lost productivity annually due to gridlock. That number is expected to grow to $15 billion by 2031, it reads, citing the Toronto Regional Board of Trade.
And responsible for that gridlock, the letter says, is the disaster of Toronto traffic. The solution offered is free transit.
“CUPE Local 2 will do its part to make that a reality,” reads the document. The letter goes on to say that as working class and people, employees must rely on themselves, their own strength and their own initiative.
— CUPE Local 2 (@CUPE_Local2) July 29, 2019
“After all, we’re the ones who do the work. We don’t need the rich. They need us,” it says.
“The time has come to bring his rule to an end. Mass strikes and protests across Ontario are what it will take to bring down Doug Ford.”
ATU Local 113, the union representing nearly 12,000 public transit workers in Toronto and the York Region, haven’t commented on CUPE Local 2’s letter.
But in response to Ford’s Ontario Line Initial Business Case, ATU Local 113 said it “will never stop advocating for an affordable and equitable public transit system, and to get there, Premier Doug Ford should stop meddling in our city’s transit planning.”
“If the Premier really wants to improve Toronto’s public transit system: get the Relief Line, Waterfront and Eglinton East LRT built; reinstate fare subsidies between the TTC, GO Transit and the UP Express that integrate our system; fix the failed PRESTO system that is costing Torontonians millions in lost fares; and increase operating funding to meet current demand.”