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Transit union will provide update on talks as TTC strike deadline looms | CBC News

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Union officials who represent thousands of Toronto transit workers are set to provide an update Thursday morning, providing a glimpse into the status of contract negotiations with just a day to go before a possible strike.

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113 have until midnight to broker a new deal and avoid a strike, which would disrupt travel plans for commuters both in and outside of Toronto. The transit system averages 1.3 million riders per day, according to the May data posted in the CEO’s report. 

  • ATU Local 113 president Marvin Alfred is set to speak at 10:00 a.m. ET You’ll be able to watch the news conference live in this story.

A strike would mean subways, buses and streetcars won’t run after 2 a.m. on Friday, which has left city officials urging people to come up with a backup plan for getting around on Friday and beyond.

Wheel-Trans service for people with disabilities will continue to operate, both sides have confirmed. 

ATU Local 113 represents nearly 12,000 workers of about 16,000 staff at the transit agency. Union representatives have said the key issue is wages, particularly for frontline workers. Other worker demands include job security, benefits and better working conditions and workplace safety measures amid “record levels” of violence on buses and subways last year.

On Wednesday, ATU Local 113 president Marvin Alfred said the two sides are “far apart” from a deal and that workers are prepared to strike, citing limited progress on the union’s wage, benefit and job security demands.

Meanwhile, TTC spokesperson Stuart Green said he’s optimistic that the two sides will be able to come to an agreement, and a deal is possible as long as the parties remain at the bargaining table.

In a statement Thursday morning, TTC Chair and Scarborough North Coun. Jamaal Myers said in the event of a strike, both sides have agreed to continue service until 2 a.m. Friday, which is when transit operations end each day.

The union’s collective agreement expired on March 31.

If a new deal isn’t reached, the strike would be the first labour disruption by TTC workers since 2008. For years it had been declared an essential service, but that decision was quashed by Ontario’s top court, which recently upheld workers’ right to strike.

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