Mayor Ford's Transit Plan Raises Concerns for Workers in East and West Toronto, CAW Says

April 1, 2011, 4:10 PM EST

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It is always positive when the City of Toronto and the province can work together to improve transit infrastructure creating manufacturing and construction jobs for workers, CAW President Ken Lewenza says.

For example, the agreement reached between the city, the province and Bombardier to manufacture transit cars in 2007 resulted in the recall of hundreds of workers who had been laid off at the company's Thunder Bay, Ontario facility.

However, Lewenza said the plan recently outlined by Toronto Mayor Ford is bad news for retail and service workers, students, and taxpayers in city suburbs who have been waiting for long overdue improved TTC services.

This move will particularly hit low wage service workers, part-time and shift workers in the eastern Scarborough and Finch West areas who would have received improved service under the previous Transit City plan.

"This administration has already cut 41 weekend and late evening bus services, which negatively impacts many retail and service workers who use transit to get to work," said CAW Local 1000 President Dwayne Gunness, whose local represents approximately 1000 service and retail workers in Toronto.

Lewenza said the previous transit plan was more beneficial for residents across the entire city.

"Mayor Ford's current announcement provides no transit improvements in large parts of the city where many workers, students and taxpayers need improved service," Lewenza said. "This new plan will take years longer to implement and will not service nearly as many people."

 "Instead of 52 kilometres of light rail transit this new plan means 25 kilometres for roughly the same amount of money," he said.

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