The union representing TTC workers calls on the public transit agency to provide front-line workers with personal protective equipment, including face masks, to help protect staff from contracts with COVID-19.
In a statement from ATU Local 113, which represents approximately 12,000 transit workers in the Toronto and York region, the union said operators and other workers are “exposed to thousands passengers every day ”and that their employer must provide staff with face masks and other protections. equipment.
“As Premier Doug Ford Warns of an Ontario Coronavirus Outbreak, TTC Management Must Act Quickly to Protect Transit Workers,” Union President Carlos Santos said in a statement Monday.
“As Ontario seeks to meet the demand for PPE, we must remember our transit workers who are among the heroes of this pandemic. We must find a way to protect health care professionals and all those working on the front lines during this health crisis, including public transport workers. “
The TTC previously confirmed that six employees were positive for COVID-19.
Employees include a mechanic, a Wheel-Trans operator, a metro operator, a bus driver, a fare collector and a non-unionized TTC supervisor.
At the start of the pandemic, the TTC refused to allow staff to wear masks, citing advice from public health officials.
However, the transport agency, faced with increasing pressure from the union, subsequently reversed its position, allowing employees to wear their own mask if they wish.
In recent weeks, experts from other jurisdictions have encouraged the public to use masks to slow the spread of the virus.
“As public health officials review new directives on face masks, it makes sense that the TTC would do the same and help find masks to protect workers. Transit workers are always right in saying that we must do everything to protect people, including the choice to wear masks, “said Santos.
Overcrowding on several roads prompted the union to make additional recommendations to its members last week.
ATU Local 113 has asked operators to limit the number of passengers on vehicles to a maximum of 15 people.
In a note to members, the union said passengers should be limited to 10 on regular buses and 15 on articulated buses to allow for an appropriate physical distance.