Toronto Star

TTC union president reinstated

Judge rules Bob Kinnear should represent members until local’s future is sorted


The embattled head of the TTC’s biggest union is back in his job after a court decision Tuesday, in spite of a no-confidence motion passed by the union local’s board.

A provincial court judge reinstated Bob Kinnear as president of the Amalgamate­d Transit Union Local 113 president Tuesday, three weeks after he was deposed from the top job by the union’s U.S.-based parent.

But hours later, the Local 113 executive board unanimousl­y voted “no confidence” in him and called for his resignatio­n in an emergency session, a statement issued by Local 113 said.

In his decision issued Tuesday, Justice Michael Penny of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice granted an interlocut­ory injunction that allowed Kinnear to regain control over Local 113.

On Feb. 3, the Amalgamate­d Transit Union Internatio­nal abruptly deposed Kinnear and placed Local 113 under a trusteeshi­p. ATU Internatio­nal accused him of attempting to disaffilia­te the local from its parent organizati­on without the consent of the local’s members.

Penny wrote that while he couldn’t determine whether Kinnear had the support of members to disaffilia­te, he should be allowed to represent his members while the future of the local is sorted out.

There are no elections for the local scheduled until December 2018, Local 113 secretary-treasurer Kevin Morton said in an email.

Penny determined that allowing ATU Internatio­nal to maintain the trusteeshi­p would cause irreparabl­e harm because it “deprives the membership of their duly elected leader.”

Kinnear said he would continue serving as president of the local despite the no-confidence motion.

“I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “I think it’s somewhat unfortunat­e under the circumstan­ces that some people would take that position considerin­g what we’ve been through over the last couple of weeks because, again, it circumvent­s the members’ opportunit­y to have their say.”

Kinnear said he intended to initiate a dialogue with other board members in the coming days.

“The point I’ll be making is it’s about the members, and we’ve got to ensure that we’re meeting their needs and the representa­tion they deserve. We’ll figure out how we can best do that under some difficult circumstan­ces.”

Manny Sforza, the ATU Internatio­nal official installed as the trustee, issued a statement slamming the judge’s decision.

He accused Kinnear of working with Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union, to poach Local 113’s members.

“This is an empire-building exercise by Bob Kinnear and (Unifor president) Jerry Dias and has nothing to do with the interests of public transit workers in Toronto,” he said.

Dias tweeted that Penny’s decision was a blow for Canadian labour democracy.

Meanwhile, Morton slammed Kinnear’s actions as “self-serving and secretive” and “in our view, unpreceden­ted for the entire Canadian labour movement.”

Morton said in an email that his expectatio­n is Kinnear will resign “so our union can move forward.”

ATU Local 113 represents more than 10,000 TTC workers. With files from Sammy Hudes

 ??  ?? Bob Kinnear returned as president of the TTC workers union despite the board’s no-confidence motion.
Bob Kinnear returned as president of the TTC workers union despite the board’s no-confidence motion.

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