|Automated Transit Union head Bob Kinnear addresses the media after launching the union's new multimedia ad campaign extolling the value and skills of the unionized cleaners and other maintenance workers currently working for the TTC. (QMI Agency/TERRY DAVIDSON)
TORONTO - The Toronto Transit Commission is leaving itself open to a terrorist attack if it uses contracted-out bus cleaners instead of its current unionized workers, claims union boss Bob Kinnear.
The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 boss, answering reporters' questions following the union's launch Tuesday of an ad campaign extolling the value of TTC maintenance workers, said the transit commission's late-September decision to contract out 159 bus cleaning positions will leave the city's transit system open to security threats, including acts of terrorism by contract workers themselves. Kinnear's reasoning was that contract workers will not go through the same security screening as current unionized workers.
"Any time you lose control of people entering your property, there's always a possibility of a threat," said Kinnear. "I'm not implying that the contractors are terrorists. I am simply pointing out a fact, and the fact is that when we allow people onto the property that haven't been appropriately screened, or that the TTC has assurances that have been appropriately screened, it compromises the safety of the system."
Moments before that, Kinnear said "the TTC has, over the last four or five years, improved security on the system for obvious reasons and, with the stroke of a pen, they've completely compromised the integrity and safety of the system by allowing people to come onto the system (who) are not their employees."
None of this is true, TTC spokesman Brad Ross countered.
The contract cleaners, he said, will go through the same process the current employees went through when they were hired: a police background check.
"The contractors, their employees will be required to have a criminal background check," said Ross, adding "the same process for hiring a TTC employee today will apply to the contractor."
Ross said all contract workers will have to wear proper identification.