York transit workers demand council act to end strike
Published Thursday, December 15, 2011 10:30PM EST
Hundreds of striking York Region Transit workers took to the streets Thursday morning in Newmarket in an effort to pressure politicians to intervene in the labour dispute by forcing binding arbitration.
The Amalgamated Transit Union marched up Yonge Street to York Regional council headquarters during the morning commute, closing the street north of Mulock Drive.
Ray Doyle, Local 1587 union president, spoke to council, demanding action to end the eight-week long strike.
"Nine years ago, York Regional Transit took over and in only nine years, they have had two strikes?" he told reporters outside of council. "I don't think that's a very good track record here and what is the difference here? Private contractors."
While some transit workers said the strike has been financially difficult for them, they say they are in it for the long-haul.
"We are here to stick it out, we are not going to give in," bus driver Teresa Jaison told CTV News. "Whether we go right through to April, we're here."
But for the 44,000 people that would use YRT every day, the strike has gone on too long.
"It's really affecting so many people," transit user Heidi Stoecklim said. "I am hearing too many stories out on the street, people losing their jobs . . . because they weren't reliable."
Talks resumed Monday between the union and one of the three private companies that runs York Region transit but broke down quickly.