Members of the Amalgamated Transit Union local 113 have set a strike date of Friday June 7, if their negotiations do not reach a tentative agreement. This is an important milestone in the lives of  nearly 14,000 TTC workers who until recently, did not have the right to strike.

However, in a huge victory for these workers and all workers, the Ontario Superior Court and the Court of Appeal have ruled that the 2011 legislation (TTC Labour Disputes Resolution Act), was unconstitutional. The Ford government lost their shameful attempt to appeal the decision this month.

These workers were the only transit workers in Canada who were banned from striking. Local 113 went to court seeking to strike down the legislation arguing that it violated its members Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The strength and militance of TTC workers can help build a better wage pattern for all workers.

The strike vote was an overwhelming symbol of support for their negotiations team, with more than 98.2 per cent voting in favour of a strike. The membership turned up in incredible numbers with 9,250 members casting a vote.

The return of the right to strike for ATU is extremely important, both for ATU workers, and all workers in Toronto. Against the backdrop of 38 year high for strike activity in Canada in 2023, workers are reviving the strike as a tactic – pushing both their demands and the broader working-class struggle forward. Alongside these gains however, there has been an increased attack on worker’s rights from big business and their representatives in government.

The provincial government will likely bring in back-to-work legislation to end the strike. Much like the legislation Ford attempted to impose on OSBCU workers in the Fall of 2022, all working people must recognize the danger of this escalating series of legislative attacks on working people.

Additionally, Ford could attempt to use this strike cynically, and bait Chow to call for back-to-work legislation as former Toronto Mayor David Miller did in 2008. Labour and the people’s movements must be clear: back-to-work legislation is not an option on the table, and they will fight against the legislation – and everyone who supports it.

This round of bargaining and possible strike action is significant. Key outstanding issues include wages, benefits, job security, and contracting out provisions which are common struggles in Ontario. In addition, the TTC is attempting to reduce TTC service and employees in “cross boundary” regions such as Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough and replace this with MiWay, York Region transit and Durham Region Transit.

The Communist Party in Toronto calls on massive support for ATU workers in their struggle and for all unions to build solidarity pacts with ATU like the municipal workers in CUPE 79 have done, in order to build better wages, benefits and working conditions.

This special resolution was passed at the Toronto Convention of the Communist Party of Canada on June 2.