Why are GO Transit workers on strike?
The 2200 GO transit workers of ATU (Amalgamated Transit Union) Canada Local 1587 went on strike on November 7 for better wages and working conditions. This struggle is also about prioritizing green jobs and public services in the face of an accelerating climate crisis.
The Ontario crown corporation Metrolinx, which manages the regional commuter rail network GO Transit for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area, refused to address safety and job security for transit workers, giving the union no choice but to go on strike for a fair deal.
ATU Canada points out that the members of local 1587 are fighting for “protections against contracting out, improved work-life balance after two years of pandemic, and a wage reopener that would allow the union to negotiate higher compensation should it win its constitutional challenge to Bill 124 or the legislation be repealed… As it currently stands, Bill 124 would force GO Transit workers to take an 18% cut in real wages over the 3-year moderation period.”
Bill 124 is wage-suppression legislation brought in by the Ford government in Ontario that is a direct attack on public services and the workers that provide those services, including public health care, education, and transit.
Why the GO Transit strike is important?
ATU Canada has been at the forefront of organizing for public transit to be prioritized as a climate solution. This includes bringing climate, transit, and labour organizations together in the Keep Transit Moving coalition and pushing for a just transition and a Green New Deal for urban and rural public transit.
The Council of Canadians is proud to work alongside ATU Canada on these important initiatives to advance workers’ rights, green jobs, and climate justice.
The refusal of Metrolinx to negotiate a fair deal with ATU members is part of Premier Ford’s broader agenda to privatize public services and undermine climate action.
As ATU International President John Costa puts it, “This union-busting crown corporation has been given its privatization mandate by the same government that is revoking Charter Rights for CUPE workers.” This strike is an important part of the fight to defend and expand public services as part of a just transition to address the climate crisis.
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