December 19, 2011

York Region seeks court injunction against Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 and Local 1587

Legal motion to address unlawful picketing, unreasonable delays at Regional facilities

NEWMARKET – The Regional Municipality of York has filed an application for an injunction in the Superior Court of Justice against Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113 and ATU Local 1587. An injunction would ease delays on YRT/Viva buses and at Regional facilities as a result of unlawful picketing by ATU members.

The YRT/Viva strike, now in its ninth week, is affecting 60 per cent of transit service in York Region. Picketing was non-existent for the first three weeks of the strike, followed by three weeks of intermittent picketing.

However, picketing has intensified over the past two weeks, resulting in significant delays at transportation facilities and administrative facilities as a result of service disruptions and blockades by members of the ATU. The ATU locals are currently on strike against bus operator employers, Miller Transit, First Canada and York BRT Services (Veolia Transportation).

York Region recognizes the ATU’s legal right to picket during the strike that began on October 24, and has made every effort to accommodate the unions while ensuring the safety of bus passengers, employees and members of the public. Regrettably, unreasonable delays and illegal blockages by picketers have created unsafe conditions for transit users, motorists and pedestrians, resulting in the need for the injunction. ATU tactics over the past two weeks that have triggered the injunction include:

  • Complete blockades of Regional transit vehicles
  • Unlawful and unsafe blockages of roads
  • YRT passengers and drivers harassed and intimidated
  • YRT passengers forcibly held on buses by picketers at transit terminals
  • Unsafe picketing resulting in several picketers being struck by vehicles
  • Regional employees and the public being obstructed and denied access to Regional buildings for up to 90 minutes.

York Region is hopeful the requested Superior Court injunction will prevent further illegal blockades and unreasonable delays while preserving the ATU’s right to freedom of expression through lawful picketing.

Contracted operators Miller Transit, First Canada and York BRT Services each met briefly with ATU Local 1587 and ATU Local 113 over the past two weeks, marking the first and only meaningful negotiations between the parties since the strike began.

On December 2, York Regional Council stated emphatically it will not intervene in the current dispute between the contractors and unions, will not request back-to-work provincial legislation or binding arbitration. Committing to any of these could lead to extraordinary tax rate increases for all regional residents, higher transit fares for commuters, or both. The parties have an obligation to bargain in good faith. Details of current offers can be viewed on the YRT/Viva website


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Media Contact: Kim MacGillivray, Corporate Communications, York Region
  1-877-464-9675, ext. 1209 . Cell: 905-251-6412. 
Founded in 1971, The Regional Municipality of York is made up of nine municipalities
and provides services to more than one million residents, 29,000 businesses and 495,000 employees.

 For more information visit us at Follow us on : York Region   @YorkRegionGovt  
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