Creation of a Unifor National Transit Strategy

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

This afternoon I participated in a conference call with our National Union; our union is working on developing a National Transit Strategy.  Included in the conference call were representatives from nearly all transit properties across Canada represented by Unifor.  Resolutions were passed at the Canadian Council in Halifax last year to develop a new National Transit Strategy to help Unifor address workplace issues relating specifically to our transit members across the country.  These resolutions are 15-17 in the document linked here…

The major issues faced by transit workers across the country are pretty similar. On the list were issues such as:

– Proper access to washroom/break facilities for transit operators.
– Protecting transit operators from violence in the workplace from customers, etc. (ie. through the installation of barriers, etc.)
– Keeping public transit in public hands. And, where transit is already private to address the lack of successor rights when one company loses a contract to ensure members retain their seniority, etc.
– Addressing the lack of pensions for transit employees at privatized transit operations.
– Ensuring proper use of cameras/video surveillance for incidents of illegal activity and not for performance monitoring of employees.
– Lobbying for stable funding for public transit expansion and transit maintenance/operations.
– Improving/standardizing ergonomics for transit vehicles to reduce injuries to transit operators
– Working to ensure the procurement of transit vehicles from Canadian companies whenever possible by lobbying governments to not provide funding for vehicles from foreign countries (ie. China).
– Preparing for the impact automation/autonomous vehicles could have on transit operations and our members.
– Lobbying to ensure workplace compensation boards properly recognize mental health and physical assault issues relating to transit operators as legitimate compensation claims and not just ‘part of the job’.

National is going to compile the list into a draft policy which will be brought back to all the transit locals in the very near future.  I’ll continue to provide updates as I receive them.

Yours in solidarity,

Warren Schnurr
Recording Secretary
Unifor Local 4304

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