The head of the TTC workers’ union is calling a plan to contract out bus and washroom cleaning “craziness,” and says union members will soon be called on to stand up for their rights.

In a letter to members of Amalgamated Transit Union 113, President Bob Kinnear slammed TTC CEO Andy Byford for turning on staff members and recommending that 170 jobs be contracted out to private companies.

“Andy Byford will be praised for discharging ‘my responsibility’ for enforcing the ‘cost-saving principle’ of Mayor (Rob) Ford and other ‘public-transit-gets-in-the-way-of-my-car’ political idiots,” Kinnear wrote in the letter to the union’s 9,000 members.

Kinnear was responding to an August letter from Byford, in which he said a plan to hire a private company to clean buses and washrooms could impact 170 jobs.

Byford advised staff that the cleaning positions at two garages will be contracted out starting in January. But he said that no union members would lose their jobs.

“We are recommending this course of action in order to deliver improved cleanliness of our bus fleet at a lower cost to the fare/taxpayer,” Byford said in a statement. “At the same time, we are mindful of our existing employees, none of whom will be laid off as a result of this proposal”

In his response, Kinnear said unionized workers should not be replaced by expendable workers who receive a low wage and no benefits or pension. He said the union is preparing to defend itself from the perceived attack.

“In the weeks to come, the union will be calling on the members to do something that will affect the politicians, not our passengers,” Kinner wrote.

He added that Byford tried, but failed, to convince a contract arbitrator to remove a “no-layoff” clause during the last round of negotiations. He said he could try to remove it again when the contract comes back up for consideration in three years.