Doug Ford says he’s “for the people,” but a union of TTC workers strongly disagrees.
CUPE Local 2, a union of roughly 650 electricians and technicians who install and maintain TTC services, believe the Premier of Ontario is “sabotaging” the city. Specifically, they believe Ford’s plans to “upload” Toronto’s subway system is a move towards privatization and will “undermine the public for the profits of a few.”
As a result, CUPE Local 2 shared an open letter on Twitter this week advocating for free public transit and pushing for mass strikes.
— CUPE Local 2 (@CUPE_Local2) July 29, 2019
“We know that transit fares gouge oppressed people the hardest,” they wrote. “They’re a tax on the working class and the poor. None of us should have to sacrifice hard earned money for food, rent or whatever else just to get to and from where we work and shop.”
The union noted that free public transit would boost the economy and “society as a whole.” To back up their argument, they referenced Estonia’s capital Tallinn, which successfully implemented free transit in 2013. Since then, the city’s economy has improved and congestion has been reduced.
Toronto certainly has its own gridlock problem, which has resulted in increased commute times over the years. Torontonians now spend an average of 84 minutes trying to get to and from work, according to a Forum Research poll last month.
CUPE Local 2 believes free transit can help ease Toronto’s traffic jams, and they are willing to put in the work to make this happen.
“As a union, we are about something bigger than just our own members,” they said. “We are part of the labour movement. We stand for good jobs for all. With this call for free public transit, we reach out our hand to the poor and working people of this province.”
And as for mass strikes across Ontario? CUPE Local 2 believes this is “what it will take to bring down Doug Ford.”
On Twitter, some users were quick to applaud the union…
Thanks #CUPE Local 2! By tolerating #DougFord‘s gerrymandering, cuts to the environment and education, insults to reconciliation, sickening favoritism shown to his rich cronies, we are in fact condoning it. #FakeFordRealCatastrophe
— clarke j (@ClarkeHamel) July 29, 2019
— Vote D!ONNE Renée On Election Day!📣 (@OnElectionDay) July 29, 2019
— Cheryl🍁 🐔🍷Team Trudeau ✨🍁✨🇨🇦 #Canada (@mini_bubbly) July 29, 2019
But one user made a good point about improving the TTC:
Striking is fine but I free TTC isn’t going to make the a majority of commutes better. There are A LOT of people who commute and absolutely no public transit is available to where they need to go. Going straight downtown, great, going anywhere else, not good at all.
— Alison (🇨🇦) (@ggreeneyes1975) July 29, 2019